[Society] is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.
— Edmund Burke
So let me say something a little meatier: you owe it to yourself and the millions of lives that generated yours to live as though you appreciated it.
— Mark Rippetoe, Strong Enough?: Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training
There may seem to be a bit of superficial irony in juxtaposing these two, but no. Gratitude is an essential part of both conservative philosophy and physical fitness, as I understand them. I’m not only grateful for my own ability to move freely, increase my strength, and optimize my diet, but also for the combined knowledge of countless others which has made it possible for an ordinary individual like myself, living in an ordinary small town, to benefit from it at an affordable price. I’m grateful to be training on a Friday evening and to look around at the others and think, These are my people. They could be out doing anything else to enjoy their weekend, but they’re here, putting in the hard work after hours. There’s a partnership there that transcends the petty egoism which supposedly motivates gym-goers. We owe it to each other.