Portrait of a Man With a Gun in His Hand 1.1.4

There is a series of advertisements that can be viewed on the internet in which an artificially muscular middle aged man with an artificial suntan is trying to sell a diet and exercise program.

He aims to take the money of gullible and vain middle aged men on the back of the idea that such men want to develop a muscular body so as to create an impression. One advertisement in the series shows the man, wearing only his bathing costume, being admired by a pair of bikini-clad women, another shows him speaking lovingly of and firing a 44 Magnum revolver. The messages are that, if you have this body, you will impress women, and if you have this body you will cut the impressive figure of a man with a loaded gun in his hand (or – ironically-  the less impressive figure of a man with his penis in his hand).

This masturbatory, narcissistic, obsession with body-boosting is a sign of our materialistic age for which the body, and material objects, are of the highest order of reality.  The thing of which this man -and the entire fitness industry, and perhaps the entire modern world- seems unaware is that these endeavours -and all material endeavours- are like pumping air into a punctured tire, a puncture that grows bigger with repeated pumping. The tire needs, not more air, but the mending of the puncture… Far from being the highest order of reality, the material world is a profoundly corrupted low order of reality.