Monday, July 14, 2008

sports as the model world

German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk comments on the Tour de France in an interview with Spiegel.

The best-looking breasts, in general, are artificial. The strongest sexual performance is fueled by Viagra. Why are we getting so worked up about athletes doing the same thing?

Sloterdijk: There is an obvious reason: The relationship between sports and everyday life is like that between the holy and the mundane. It forms a model world, in which everything we know from the average world is intensified. The same values apply there as anywhere else, but in a more concentrated form. This is why the idea of pure performance is more important there than anywhere else. Fraud is normal in the gray zone of the normal, but in the model world it must be proscribed. This special world, framed by clear rules, is inherently designed as an artificial sphere of pure performance, which gives it a special mission. Our meritocratic society celebrates its contradictions within sports. For this reason it is, if you will, an innately transient zone. Athletes cannot be saints or priest, but they must at least live up to their reputation as heroes, and when they no longer can or want to, they become like everyone else -- and we can put them on welfare.

via Phronesisaical


CAP said...

I remember years ago, a German friend earnestly recommending the philosopher to me and I could never quite catch the name - she always seemed to be saying "Slow-to-die" like a native American name, and ever since I've thought it uncannily apt of his ideas.


highlowbetween said...

that sounds apt, although I must confess to never reading him either...