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Mobility and Mobilization (the “missing” Wednesday post) July 3, 2022

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Yoga, Changing Perspectives, Fitness, Music, Books, One Hoop.
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This is the “missing” post for Wednesday, June 29th. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or (for a slightly faster reply) you can email me at myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

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“The Nation’s highway system is a gigantic enterprise, one of our largest items of capital investment. Generations have gone into its building. Three million, three hundred and sixty-six thousand miles of road, travelled by 58 million motor vehicles, comprise it. The replacement cost of its drainage and bridge and tunnel works is incalculable. One in every seven Americans gains his livelihood and supports his family out of it. But, in large part, the network is inadequate for the nation’s growing needs.

 *

– quoted from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the Congress of the United States, dated February February 22, 1955 (with a header from James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President, indicating that the message “MUST BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE and no portion, synopsis or intimation may given out or published UNTIL RELEASE TIME” of Noon EST) 

Take a moment to consider the difference between mobility and mobilization. It’s possible that you think of these things as being the same, but in totally different contexts. Maybe you only think of mobility in terms of physical ability and you only think about mobilization in terms of the military. To clarify, mobility is, in fact, related to range of movement. We can think of it in term’s of a body’s range of movement (i.e., how much a person can physically move) and we can also think of it in terms of social movement (e.g., someone’s upward mobility at work and/or their socioeconomic mobility). On the flip side, mobilization is what it takes in order to move.

As to the latter, the armed services (at least here in the United States) have specific meanings associated with the term “mobilization” – as in the mobilization of troops, which is what it takes in order for an individual or a unit to be sent to a specific location for a specific purpose. (Note: According to the U. S. Department of Veteran Affairs, mobilizations count as deployments, but some deployments do not count as mobilizations.) Understanding the military definition can give us some insight into how mobilization works in our own mind-body. For instance, there are a lot of different resources, organization, and infrastructure needed in order for members of the military to assist citizens in the event of a natural disaster – or in the event of a man-made disaster. Yes, having the people, with the necessary skills and the right appropriate equipment is part of mobilization. However, all of those resources are useless if the people and things can’t get where there needed and/or can’t get there in a timely fashion.

This same idea applies to the human mind-body, which is made to move. Similar to the military, we have all these different parts (with different functions) that make up the whole. Our parts can work together in an efficient way – to achieve a desired goal or to be more functional – and/or we can recruit parts of ourselves in ways that might be detrimental and led to discomfort, disease, and/or injury. Knowing how we move, how we can move, brings awareness to what we need in order to move. This is how mobility and mobilization go hand-in-hand: movement (i.e., mobility) is essential to life; therefore, mobilization is as paramount to us individually as it is to us collectively.

Recognizing the importance of national mobilization, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed and enacted the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act on June 29, 1956. Also known as the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, this 10-year plan to improve and expanded the United States highway system included the addition of 41,000 miles of interstate highway that was consistent in terms of construction, nomenclature, and signage. It was the largest public works project during it’s enactment and it all stemmed from President Eisenhower’s experiences in the military and how those experiences informed his decisions as commander-in-chief.

“Third: In the case of an atomic attack on our key cities, the road net must permit quick evacuation of target areas, mobilization of defense forces and maintenance of every essential economic function. But the present system in critical areas would be the breeder of a deadly congestion within hours of an attack.”

 *

– quoted from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the Congress of the United States, dated February February 22, 1955 (with a header from James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President, indicating that the message “MUST BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE and no portion, synopsis or intimation may given out or published UNTIL RELEASE TIME” of Noon EST)

After graduating from West Point (in 1915) and marrying Mary Geneva “Mamie” Doud (on July 1, 1916), Dwight D. Eisenhower spent World War I stateside at a tank training center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. After the war, and several promotions, he participated in the 1919 Motor Transport convoy – which was the US Army Motor Transport Corps “Truck Train” that drove from Washington, D. C. to Oakland, California and then ferried to San Francisco. Several dozen expeditionary officers and observers from the War Department (and various military divisions) as well as 258 enlisted men and (at least) 81 vehicles were expected to travel 3,000 miles in two months. In the end, they traveled over 3,200 miles and finished the trip a week behind schedule. Their delays were partially due to inexperienced personnel and partially due to the dilapidated roads (and roads that were not appropriate for military vehicles) – a combination which led to over 200 “road incidents” that resulted in 9 vehicles being retired; over 80 bridges being broken and repaired; and nearly two dozen men being injured to the point that they could not complete the trip.

The convoy was a public relations event as well as an opportunity for the US Army to road test vehicles and infrastructure. In other words, it was a way to assess mobilization. The future president called the convoy “a lark” and a learning experience. In At Ease: Stories I Tell My Friends, he also described it as “difficult, tiring and fun.” Overall, though, it was a sharp contrast to his experience during World War II, when he discovered the usefulness of Germany’s autobahn.

“Once the Allies controlled the superhighway, they were able to force an unconditional surrender in just six weeks.”

– quoted from “Ike’s Grand Plan” in The Roads that Built America: The Incredible Story of the U. S. Interstate System by Dan McNichol

*“By the time the Allied forces reached Germany, they could take full advantage of the autobahn. E. F. Koch, a U.S. Public Roads Administration (PRA) employee who observed the autobahn in 1944-45 as a highway and bridge engineer with the Ninth Army. He and his engineering unit spent the unusually cold winter maintaining roads in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands that, after the pounding of military vehicles and the thaw in early 1945, were in terrible shape. Conditions changed when they reached Germany in early 1945. ‘After crossing the Rhine and getting into the areas of Germany served by the Autobahn . . . our maintenance difficulties were over. Nearly all through traffic used the Autobahn and no maintenance on that system was required.’

**

– quoted from “Highway System – Infrastructure System: The Reichsautobahnen” an expanded version of material in “The Man Who Changed America” as posted on the U. S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website [Contact: Richard Weingroff] 

Now officially known as Bundesautobahn (“federal auto track” or federal motorway), the autobahn was originally known as the Reichsautobahn (initially in reference to the Welmar / German Republic), but was not firmly established or constructed until after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor and the Enabling Act of 1933 started the county’s descension into Nazi Germany. Some people called them Straßen Adolf Hitlers (“Adolf Hitler’s roads) and they were intended to serve multiple purposes – including improved military mobility and mobilization. Ultimately, the Nazi regime used their rail system more than their highway system as they dominated the country and destroyed communities. However, the carefully planned and connected road system did provided an advantageous opportunity for the Allied forces: an efficient infrastructure for convoys like the Red Ball Express – a primarily African-American operated truck convoy – to quickly resupply forces moving from the beaches of Normandy into Germany.

As President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted the USA to have a similar in-country advantage if it ever needed it. In 1954, in the middle of his first term in office, he solicited studies from three (3) different sources – this was in addition to the survey he had done at the end of World War II. In February of 1955, he submitted their conclusions and his own recommendations to the United States Congress. In his letter to Congress, the President illustrated why “All three [studies] were confronted with inescapable evidence that action, comprehensive and quick and forward-looking, is needed.” He emphasized the pros (of implementing his recommendations) and the cons (of not moving forward with his plan). He also highlighted these pros and cons as they related to the economy, the overall state of the union, and the defensibility of the nation. In very clear language and undeniable numbers, he quantified how and why a federal highway system was a matter so paramount that it warranted a diversion of funds from the military.

“Ike accepted the German’s surrender on May 7, 1945. One of the first things he did as the head of occupied Germany was order an investigation of the Autobahn. Years after the U. S. Interstate System’s construction began, he called, ‘After seeing the autobahns of modern Germany and knowing the asset those highways were to the Germans. I decided, as President, to put an emphasis on this kind of road building. This was one of the things I felt deeply about, and I made a personal and absolute decision to see that the nation would benefit by it. The old convoy had started me thinking about good, two-lane highways, but Germany had made me see the wisdom of broader ribbons across the land.'”

*

– quoted from “Ike’s Grand Plan” in The Roads that Built America: The Incredible Story of the U. S. Interstate System by Dan McNichol

Once it was completed, President Eisenhower’s interstate plan connected military basis and major cities from coast to coast. It decreased the travel time along the route of the 1919 truck convoy from two months to 5 days (and without as many “incidents”). All of this was achieved by combining direct experience – of what worked and what didn’t work – with coordinated studies. Similarly, we can gain awareness of our own mobility and mobilization through direct experience and coordinated study. We can even uses different methodology and mechanisms.

As I have mentioned in the past, different cultures and sciences have different ways to map the energy of the mind-body. In Yoga and Āyurveda, we talk about nādis, chakras, and marmāni. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses its meridian system. I could go on; noting that these ancient systems also bring awareness to how our biography overlaps of biology. If, however, you only want to look at things from a modern science perspective, you would use kinesiology: the (modern) scientific study of movement.

Kinesiology has multiple applications and is a multidisciplinary endeavor related to physiological, anatomical, biomechanical, and neuropsychological principles and mechanisms of movement. In other words, it’s not just about the body. Even if we say that we only want to look at the mind-body from a purely physical standpoint, we’re still going to be dealing with muscles, joints, tendons, and innervation. We’re still going to deal with energy – again, we’re just using a different road map.

“Our unity as a nation is sustained by free communication of thought and by easy transportation of people and goods.”

*

“Together, the uniting forces of our communication and transportation systems are dynamic elements in the very name we bear–United States. Without them, we would be a mere alliance of many separate parts.”

 *

– quoted from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the Congress of the United States, dated February February 22, 1955 (with a header from James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President, indicating that the message “MUST BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE and no portion, synopsis or intimation may given out or published UNTIL RELEASE TIME” of Noon EST)

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “08072021 The Turtle’s Secret to Moving Meditation”]

This is not on the playlist… but it could be.

There is another “Traffic Jam” song, but it’s a little too explicit for me. Sorry.

“First: Each year, more than 36 thousand people are killed and more than a million injured on the highways. To the home where the tragic aftermath of an accident on an unsafe road is a gap in the family circle, the monetary worth of preventing that death cannot be reckoned. But reliable estimates place the measurable economic cost of the highway accident toll to the Nation at more than $4.3 billion a year.

*

Second: The physical condition of the present road net increases the cost of vehicle operation, according to many estimates, by as much as one cent per mile of vehicle travel. At the present rate of travel, this totals more than $5 billion a year. The cost is not borne by the individual vehicle operator alone. It pyramids into higher expense of doing the nation’s business. Increased highway transportation costs, passed on through each step in the distribution of goods, are paid ultimately by the individual consumer.

*

Third: . . . .

*

Fourth: Our Gross National Product, about $357 billion in 1954, is estimated to reach over $500 billion in 1965 when our population will exceed 180 million and, according to other estimates, will travel in 81 million vehicles 814 billion vehicle miles that year. Unless the present rate of highway improvement and development is increased, existing traffic jams only faintly foreshadow those of ten years hence.

*

To correct these deficiencies is an obligation of Government at every level.”

 *

– quoted from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s message to the Congress of the United States, dated February February 22, 1955 (with a header from James C. Hagerty, Press Secretary to the President, indicating that the message “MUST BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE and no portion, synopsis or intimation may given out or published UNTIL RELEASE TIME” of Noon EST)

*

### Keeping it between the lines is easier when the lanes are wide.  ###

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