Friday, March 25, 2011


Sorry for yesterdays free flowing thoughts. I guess it was just an introspective day. Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher most famous for the Pythagorean Theorem. In addition to his contributions to mathematics he contributed to other fields (particularly music) though it is uncertain since his followers would attribute much of what we associate with him after his death. Pythagoras was famous for believing in the immortality of the soul and it going through a series of reincarnations (animals), supposedly having a golden thigh, being able to be in two places at once, and founding a brotherhood dedicated to moderation and strict discipline. Most of the references we have from Plato and Aristotle are in regards to the Pythagoreans not Pythagoras himself but it is standard belief that he travelled extensively and possibly visited Egypt, Arabia, Phoenicia, Judea, Babylon and even India.

What is seen as his most important contribution by many is the brotherhood he founded. By all accounts they were Spartan-like. Many sources say they did not eat meat and stories range the whole spectrum with regards to the extent they would punish their bodies in search of enlightenment and wisdom.

Runners are members of the “suffer for a purpose brotherhood.” They say Pythagoreans used obscure symbols that even if they had never met they would recognize each other. Similarly runners know each other... the hat or tech tee of the local 10k race or the Boston marathon hat, etc. If you have ever gotten two runners in a room you know how long and varied those conversations get. We all know what we are talking about but the words simply do not come out the right way. I say minimalist you say barefoot, I say cushion you say support. But in the end we are all talking about the same thing, running, and why we do it.

Running is like the math theorem in the sense that we all know what it is, that it works, its important; however, we can’t do it right all the time. It’s a math formula that intuitively we can prove but it takes work. The work is what we don’t want to do so it just lingers in there somewhere. We all remember running like kids. We had perfect form, what happened? We remember being free and just giggling at the thought of running fast. Running fast where? Answer: In no particular direction and often times in circles.

I know sometimes I forget that even though I am devoted to a goal it is not the end…just like learning a theorem does not mean math is over. It is just a goal, and once I can knock that one out I will go onto the next one. Like running in circles as a child; got to make sure the circles are fun for you. Whether it’s a Spartan-like lifestyle to achieve wisdom or running when no one else wants too, you have to live the life, not just preach it…remember Pythagoras, get the knowledge then do something with it.

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