Mike Mentzer Day
Kirkrade, The Netherlands
Certified Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer
On June 10, 2001, when Mike Mentzer died, it left us with a feeling of disbelief. As if that were not enough, his brother Ray Mentzer died two days later. I remember very well the moment that I saw the exclusive article written for Mikementzer.com by John Little, In Memory of Mike Mentzer, and I could not believe what I was reading at first. Once I realized the fact of Mike Mentzer’s death, I felt very sad. Since I had many things to do that day, I could not give in to that emotion, but that sad feeling stayed until evening. At that time, I had the opportunity to identify my emotions, and I concluded that although I never met him face-to-face (though I had several phone consultations with him), Mike Mentzer was a person whom I admired very much and, in such context, feeling sad was an appropriate reaction.
As I continued to think about Mike Mentzer, especially his view of life and how he accepted the absolutism of reality (including the fact of eventual death), the sadness disappeared and was replaced with a feeling of pleasure, the pleasure of being very lucky that I once was confronted with one of his articles and that from then on, my body, my mind, and my experiences evolved to higher levels. Because of his writings and his inspiration to study the philosophy of Objectivism, I was able to understand what it means and what is required to become an independent thinker. I also concluded that Mike Mentzer lived his life in accordance with his ideals, and that in that sense, his life was not too short, and he simply did not live long enough for the people who were closest to him. I am sure that they, unlike most of us, will need a long time to deal with his loss (no matter how convinced they are that Mike Mentzer would tell them not to mourn), but they will also experience very deep feelings of pleasure in remembering him.
Mike Mentzer taught that making your body stronger and muscular is of great value, but, considering the total context of human life, it should not consume much time; in fact, he made it very clear that we should not waste our time. He demonstrated by the method of logic that it is possible to build a fit and muscular body in very little time, and this was his inkling to introduce the philosophy of Objectivism to many bodybuilders who have been, or are, for illegitimate reasons, labeled as stupid by many in the world. Mike Mentzer was a person who took on the responsibility to make people understand that philosophical principles ultimately determine what choices you make, and as a result, which direction your life takes. Just think about how your own life changed after being introduced to Objectivism by Mike Mentzer and how very important that actually is to you. How many people do you know who would take the time and effort to constantly relate instances of real life to abstract philosophical principles in the hope that you would clearly understand the importance of these principles and the value of learning them. This type of person is hard to find, and if you think about it, you will see how valuable Mike Mentzer was and still is today. Since he introduced so many people to philosophy, he could be more readily considered a salesman of philosophy than a personal trainer (without neglecting the fact that he was a great personal trainer and exercise theorist). He introduced a large number of people to Objectivism worldwide and is a phenomenal example of "what one man can do". Indeed, I think that it is time that Mike Mentzer receives the attention he deserves of respected Objectivism writers for introducing so many people to Ayn Rand’s philosophy and for being a prime example of a man who lived in accordance with rational principles and who became an ‘Integrated Man’.
Mike Mentzer made it very clear that he wanted us (remember, the “stupid muscle heads”) to become the new intellectuals - people who can think and judge for themselves independently by using the method of logic, not only in the field of bodybuilding but in every aspect of human life. Only then can we live our life by the standard of a human life.
Now, consider the fact that there are many celebrated holidays in a year and that most of these days celebrate in some way the power of the human mind and the results of its proper function. These holidays also are opportunities to check the philosophical premises on which we act moment-by-moment, day-by-day. In addition, just like we need art for emotional fuel, so we need such days as a means to motivate us to keep using our rational faculty. Such days can be seen as the concretization of abstract ideas -- of bringing these ideas to the perceptual level by linking events, persons, and their ideas to certain days of the year and the symbols that are related to such days. Well, since I see Mike Mentzer as a concretization of the Objectivist ethics by being a person who lived according to the Objectivist principles -- and certainly for being such a great guide in the life of many -- it is my opinion that he should be celebrated for that accomplishment by anyone who regards these principles as important and admirable (and to do so would absolutely be an act of selfishness and not of worshipping). And if these principles by which Mike Mentzer lived and to which he introduced so many are indeed regarded as important and admirable, then we should also see where we stand in the process of living in accordance with these rational principles on the very day we celebrate him.
Therefore, to complete the concretization of Mike Mentzer as the symbol of "the Integrated Man", we should link the celebration of Mike Mentzer to a special day. To stress the fact that even death cannot stop the power of true ideas, I suggest selecting June 10th, the day he died, as that “special day”, and that we name it "MIKE MENTZER DAY".
Recall that most of the celebration days are ultimately about honoring reason, and they are one of the means to motivate us to keep using reason. Thus, in the end it does not matter how many other people proclaim a specific day - that isn’t what makes these days so important. So do not feel reluctant to celebrate "Mike Mentzer Day" because there may not be so many others who do, but celebrate out of unrestricted selfishness, and if you do so, remember that there is at least one other person who is doing the same.
Certified Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer
Kerkrade, the Netherlands
P.S. Although I do not know much about Ray Mentzer, from the reading I’ve done about him, I believe he was very similar to his brother, Mike. Therefore, it seems to be just that we read his name too where Mike’s name is printed. Maybe Joanne Sharkey will tell us if that is appropriate and that it would be proper to call this day of honor - "Mentzer Day".
[Editorial Note: Today, everything seems to be about what is “politically or socially correct”. Well, in view of the fact that both Mike and Ray lived their lives with little or no concern as to what was politically correct, I find absolutely no reason why Ad Ligtvoet’s suggestion cannot be possible in honoring the lifetime accomplishments and cherished memories of Mike and Ray Mentzer into one commemorative day –MENTZER DAY. To me, every day is MENTZER DAY, therefore, for those of you who find value in joining together to form a worldwide link, you may do so in their own manner on this special day of recognition to honor two great men. Thank you, Ad, for this suggestion, your consistent loyalty, and devotion to Mike and his HEAVY DUTY™ high-intensity training and philosophy. --- Joanne Sharkey]
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