This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org SPORT AND CULTURE
In the philosophy of play it is generally agreed that play is one of the most important pillars of culture. The analysis of concrete views on play indicates that no difference is made between culture and civilization. More precisely, the discussion on play comes down to a delusory rhetoric which, through humanistic phrases, is to give ³cultural´ legitimacy to the phenomena which are essentially anticultural. Hence it is no surprise that the philosophy of play attaches great importance to sport as a specific play in which the ³cultural heritage of mankind has been preserved´. Accordingly, stadiums and sports halls become the temples of ³culture´, and sportsmen the ³bearers of the highest cultural values´. As sport, through its politization and commercialization, becomes more and more anticultural, so do the masters of sport more and more aggressively seek to disguise sports spectacles in the veil of ³culture´ and thus prove that sport, as a symbolic expression of the basic principles of capitalism, belongs to the ³highest cultural achievements´. The ³cultural programme´, which regularly follows the opening of the Olympic Games ± in which enormous sums of money are invested and the most modern technique is used ± is nothing else but a ³grandiose´ expression of a megalomaniac primitivism of their organizers designed to blind man and destroy his visionary mind. Today's sport has fully realized the endeavours of the ruling order, ever more dominant in other social areas, to create a surrogate of ³culture´ by which the emancipatory heritage of civil society and man's libertarian dignity will be destroyed. Man's becoming a ³cultural being´ comes down to his cooperation in crushing man's authentic human needs and capacities. As a result of the ever more ruthless economic war, the capital not only strives to reduce culture to its advertising programme, but to submit man's conscious, his behaviour, interpersonal relations, practically the entire social life, to his own interests. It is about the creation of a surrogate life corresponded by a ³consumer culture of living´, a ³new´ form of paganism reduced to the glorification of the existing world. Sport becomes a spectacular form of worshipping a surrogate life. Unlike other areas which ³cover´ the so called ³free time´, such as music, theatre and other segments of what is referred to as the ³cultural sphere´, offering possibilities of a critical confrontation with the existing world and the creation of the idea of a better (humane) world, sport as an institution is the ideological expression of the existing world and thus crushes the idea of future. The philosophical basis of sport is positivism, which, as shown in Marcuse, beginning with Auguste Comte, has led to fascism. On these authoritarian spiritual and political grounds a sports movement developed. Sport is not an expression of the cultural (emancipatory) heritage of modern society; it is
an authentic expression of a life based on Social Darwinism and progressism, and thus is the most important tool for the creation of a ³new man´, whose advent symbolically suggests the end of the ³old´ and the beginning of a ³positive world´ in which the cultural heritage of mankind is abolished. At the same time, sport destroys the traditional forms of physical culture. It can be illustrated on the example of karate and other martial arts of feudal Japan, which are, reduced to ³sports competition´, deprived of the cultural (religious) essence and have become a capitalistically degenerated (decultivated/denaturalized) contest. Interestingly, the views of leading theoreticians of ³real socialism´ on sport are almost identical to the views of bourgeois theoreticians. Matveev's conclusion is typical in that respect: ³Sport historically appears, most probably, as one of the oldest components of the general human culture.´ (1) Sport has become one of the most important means for destroying culture. It is given an ever larger space in media at the expense of culture: sports spectacles have become the most important ³spiritual food´ for the ³masses´. The proportion of payments received by teachers and sportsmen respectively most obviously shows the tendency of development of the contemporary world. In the beginning of 1970s in Yugoslavia, teachers in secondary schools received approximately equal payments as the leading basketball players. By the end of the XX century, the most popular basketball players received 1 million Deutsch marks per season, while teachers received 250 Deutsch marks per month. A similar proportion can be found as regards teachers and sportsmen in sports which make the core of sports show-business, established both in Europe and the USA. It is no accident that in the USA almost one hundred million citizens are illiterate, while in England, the cradle of capitalism, over 25% of citizens cannot use the English script. A direct link between the development of sports show-business and decline in the cultural level of citizens in developed capitalist countries can be proved statistically. It is of utmost importance for the political structuring of society as well as for the overall social development, since decultivation of citizens, especially the working population which is ever more deprived of their rights, has become the most important way of their depolitization. The creation of massive idiocy is a strategic landmark of the bourgeoisie in its hopeless strivings to prevent the disintegration of capitalism. This is why sport has a paramount political importance.
Max Horkheimer: Sport as the ³Continuity of Cultural Tradition´
In his study on the importance of sport in modern society, written in the 1960s, Max Horkheimer comes to the conclusion that ³sports rules and sports mentality´ - ³are a modern expression of great cultural traditions of the past, Christianity, as well as the Age of Enlightenment in France and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. Without this sports spirit the survival of a fair and peaceful competition between nations could not be imagined´. Claiming that sport is an ³expression of freedom´, Horkheimer concludes that ³in our modern civilization, which is threatened from all sides and which experiences the disintegration of the family and other sources of culture´, sport has become ³a kind of a separate world, society within society, where we can place our hopes´. (2) While in Bloch we can find a positivist determination of sport which becomes an evaluative neutral phenomenon, whose concrete nature is determined by the nature of the political movement which uses it for realizing its own ends, (3) in Horkheimer sport becomes a symbolic incarnation of liberty, imagination, the creative, and thus obtains a place alongside art, philosophy, literature, as well as other ³sources of productive imagination´. (4) How could Horkheimer, after all he had written, come to such conclusions? It is precisely Horkheimer, together with Adorno, whose views offered the possibilities of a radical criticism of sport. In the ³Dialectic of Enlightenment´ we can find the following thought: ³Even the fact that hygienic factory premises, Volkswagen and the sports palaces stupidly liquidate metaphysics would be irrelevant; it is not, however, irrelevant that these things themselves in the social whole turn into metaphysics, into an ideological curtain behind which real evil is concentrated.´ (5) Speaking of the nature of ³Western democracy´, Horkheimer and Adorno say: ³No one can officially be responsible for one's thoughts. But, that is why everybody is from an early age included in the system of churches, clubs, professional associations and other relations which are the most sensitive instruments of social control.´ (6) Horkheimer does not strive to establish the nature of sport as a concrete historical phenomenon, but departs from an ideological picture of sport, created by the bourgeois theory, according to which sport is a phenomenon sui generis and as such an unquestionable pillar of the ³humanistic´ vault of capitalism. Why did Horkheimer give sport such a dimension? Is it because sport has become a global phenomenon and acquired such popularity? His insisting on sport as a ³peaceful competition´ between nations would suggest something like that. Horkheimer regards the contests between nations on the sports field as the ideal of a ³fair and peaceful cooperation´, without asking why nations should compete on the sports field in ever bloodier fights of modern gladiators which generates a nationalistic fury (pseudo-collectivistic conscious), instead of cooperating by way of spiritual means based on the wealth of national cultures? Here it should be noted that, for Coubertin and Nazi ideologues of sport, the most important feature of sport is that it deals with the pacifist conscious of young people and represents a preparation for colonial exploits and war. Horkheimer can be asked other questions as well.
How come that capitalism has such a destructive influence on all social institutions while sport remains outside its scope of influence? By reducing sport to a phenomenon sui generis, Horkheimer rejected the possibility of analyzing the development of sport as the most representative ideology of capitalism which shares its destiny. Bearing in mind the nature of sport as a concrete social phenomenon, we can conclude that in his relation to sport Horkheimer was not guided by a (critical) mind, but by the strivings to confront the devastation of cultural heritage. Obviously, Horkheimer strives to elevate sport to the level of a symbolic phenomenon by which the emancipatory achievements of modern society that are less and less present in other spheres can be preserved. If Horkheimer's theory were true, sports stadiums and halls would be cultural temples and sportsmen would be the cultural elite of mankind. In fact, stadiums and sports palaces have become bonfires burning the cultural heritage of mankind, and sportsmen have become gladiators, circus players and stuntmen. To make things even more ironic, the main participants, and thus the bearers of the ³cultural heritage of mankind´, are the least educated layers of the poor, primarily the children from black ghettoes in the USA and Africa, who in the ³civilized (Western) world´ have the status of a ³lower race´. Horkheimer does not realize that sport destroys national cultures and creates uniformity in terms of physical ³qualities´, while Social Darwinism and the absolutized principle of a quantitatively measurable result (expressed in the maxim citius, altius, fortius) become the basis for man's ³selfassertion´ and the establishment of ³interpersonal´ relations. Likewise, it is hard to understand that Horkheimer does not mind the killing and the infliction of serious injuries in sport being legalized; he does not mind the institutional segregation according to the gender and degradation of women to ³lower beings´; the fact that ³work with children´ is not restricted and that children are exposed to excessive physical strain and humiliations; that specialization starts at an increasingly early age and comes down to physical, mental and social mutilation of children; that in sport, the selling of people is ³normal´, etc. Morgan's interpretation of Horkheimer (7) suggests that for Horkheimer sport represents a compensation for what man has been deprived of in technicized labour. Hence he rejects Plessner's and Habermas's theory, according to which sport is the ³duplication of the world of labour´, and regards sport as a separate world with the rules of its own. Horkheimer does not struggle for a new world and, in that context, against the causes leading to the destruction of the cultural heritage of mankind, but tries to use sport, as a condensed expression of the basic principle of capitalism, for saving the cultural heritage of mankind ± from capitalism itself. Interestingly, Horkheimer wrote this text at the time when sport was becoming the chief weapon in the ³cold war´ confrontation; when AfroAmericans, as the racial group in the USA most deprived of its rights and poorest, were becoming the ³drawing power´ in the American sport; when the legendary
champion for human rights of Afro-Americans, Martin Luther King, called ³black´ sportsmen ³black gladiators of the XX century´, who are the ³shame for the black race´ as they allowed white racists to use them in order to cover up the humiliating position of Afro-American population in the USA. About ten years after the publication of the cited text, in an interview with Helmut Guminior, published under the title ³Longing for something completely different´ (³Die Sehnsucht nach dem ganz Anderen´), Horkheimer says that ³the end of serious philosophy is nearing´ and that there is a danger of human society being reduced to ³a colony of ants´.(8) Bearing in mind the key theses from his ³Dialectic of Enlightenment´ and ³Critical Theory´, it is difficult to understand that Horkheimer does not see the link between the development of mass sport and mass sports spectacles and the destruction of mind, and that he does not realize that from its very beginning sport has been a means for destroying reason, Eros, imagination, which means a creative personality, and for creating a loyal and usable subject.
Sport and Christianity
What does Horkheimer's claim that sport is based on Christianity mean? According to the Christian doctrine, ³God´ created man from dust and inspired him with life in the form of soul. The purpose of the earthly life is to liberate the soul from the ³bodily prison´ in order for it to ³soar to eternity´. This corresponds to the conception that the true movement is not that of the body through physical time and space but the movement of the spirit through a timeless and limitless space. For Plato, the body is the ³prison (grave) of the soul´. According to St. Augustine, ³God orders the spirit, and spirit orders the body´: physical movement is the expression of spiritual movement. Thomas Aquinas thinks that man should try to ³conserve his health´ and ³preserve body in a good condition´. This is close to the principle ³take care about the body, but do not create the cult of the body´ (cura del corpo si, culto del corpo no) which, in the eve of modern times, was established by the Catholic Church as the expression of its inability to oppose new tendencies in the development of the world. Philanthropists turned upside down the original Christian dogma. Guided by the maxim ³Fresh, Pious, Free!´ (³Frisch, Fromm, Frei!´), they do not see the body as the ³prison of the soul´, but as the ³temple of the holy spirit´ (Pestalozzi). As far as ³Christian reformers´ are concerned ± such as Kingsley and Maurice, Pope Leo XIII, protestant pastor James Naismith (³creator´ of basketball), Pennsylvanian bishop (who said the words: ³It is important to take part in the Olympic Games, not to win!´ - which will be ascribed to Coubertin), abbot Didon (from whom Coubertin took over the maxim citius, altius, fortius) ± they regard sport as a means for depolitization of ³masses´ and sports organizations as a collaborator in the struggle against the
libertarian working movement. In sport, the soul is abolished, and thus the bond between man and God, while the body becomes an organic and symbolic, unbreakable bond between man and the existing world. Unlike Nietzsche, who, in opposition to Christian ³despisers of the body´, sees in it the origin and the basic condition of man's ³self propriety´, in sport, the body is a means for abolishing man's self propriety and his complete incorporation into the existing world. Thomas Arnold turned sport into an instrument for creating the cult of a ³muscular´ body and a character suited to the nature of capitalist society, but planted on it Christian moralism (³muscular Christians´). Modern Olympism, which is most completely shaped in Coubertin's writings, discarded the normative sphere and became a cult of the existing world in the pure sense of that word: sport is the crown of the positivist thought, which strives to pin man down to the existing world. According to the Christian doctrine, men are not ³rivals´, but ³brothers´. Hence it is dominated by the principle of ³love thy brother´, which implies a movement of one man towards another ± which is the movement of man towards ³God´ as true humanity ± instead of the movement of man against man, as it is the case in sport, which involves the infliction of serious physical injuries and killing. According to the Olympic doctrine, man is not ³a being created by God in his own image´, but is a ³lazy animal´ (Coubertin) in which, through an unrestrained fight for domination and the principle of ³greater effort´, a fighting spirit is to be developed and thus a super-beast. In Christianity, the prevailing idea is that of transcendence, expressed in ³God´, while in sport it is the positivist cult by means of which the existing world is to be divinized: sport represents the culmination of ³modern´ paganism. Christianity strives for the higher; sport strives for the bigger: it divinizes ³progress´ dominated by the absolutized principle of performance. Unlike sport, Christianity established the fight between good, manifested in ³God´, and evil, manifested in the ³devil´. The cross symbolizes a crossroad: it is up to man whether he will choose the ³road of good´, or the ³road of evil´. Unlike the Christian ³paradise´, where the prevalent values are contrary to the existing world and offer an opportunity for establishing a critical (not change-oriented) relation to it, sport is a projection of the dominant relations and values and as such is the abolishment of a critical distance to the world and man's immersion into that world. Instead of an illusory ³world of happiness´ which, if one lives the life of a humble Christian, awaits man after death, a play is offered as the ³oasis of happiness´ and thus an ³earthly paradise´. In sport, the Christian ³meekness´ is discarded: the cult of a muscular body and a belligerent character serves to create the cult of thisworldy life: eternity is transferred from ³Heaven´ to earth. Nothing remains of ³muscular Christians´ but their muscles and an insatiable greediness which becomes the driving force of ³progress´. Instead of the Christian modesty and humbleness, sport is dominated by the spirit of aggressive elitism and haughtiness; instead of the spirit of the submissive ± the spirit of the masters; instead of asceticism ± greediness; instead
of the cult of the spirit ± the cult of the muscular body; instead of strivings for the ³other world´ - divinization of the existing world; instead of sin and redemption ± the abolishment of moral reasoning and responsibility; instead of the Christian ³Goodman´ - a sportsman, a robotized gladiator, becomes the incarnation of a positive man; instead of the Christian depersonalized soul ± a depersonalized (robotized) body... The dominant principles in sport are the following: homo homini lupus est and bellum omnium contra omnes, mens sana in corpore sano, mens fervida in corpore lacertoso, citius-altius-fortius - which are opposed to Christianity and founded in an order based on private property and atomized (petit) bourgeois. In spite of insisting on private property as a ³holy´ institution, the church is based on collective property and collectivistic spirit, which resembles (only formally) the communist principle ³everyone according to abilities, to everyone according to his needs´ (Marx). It is not the ³faith in God´ but the collective property which is the integrative power preventing the disintegration of the church, which would undoubtedly occur if, within the church, the ³holy´ private property were to become the dominant form of ownership. The establishment of a rigid dualism of the body and spirit, the body being subordinated to the spirit, is one of the most important common points of sport and Christianity. In this context, both ideologies instrumentalize the body and regard is as a means for realizing ³higher´ ends. While in Christianity the body is a tool for the realization of ³God's will´, in sport, it is reduced to the means for realizing ³progress´ which comes down to the realization of strategic interests of the ruling order. In sport, the relation to the human body is close to that which Descartes shaped in his mechanicistic philosophy of the bodily, although here it is mediated by the absolutized principle of performance which conditions the development of a (sado) masochistic character. Unlike the Christian meditative activism which insists on asceticism and leads to the restraint and dying out of physical functions (kneeling is the most authentic Christian bodily posture), sports activism (based on the absolutized principle of ³greater effort´ corresponded by the maxime citius, altius, fortius) leads to a limitless intensifying of physical exertion, and thus to suppression, degeneration and destruction of spirituality ± the basis of religion, which means of the very possibility of ³reaching God´ - and turns man into a pure matter having a mechanicistic form. A spiritless and instrumentalized man, reduced to a ³sportsman´, becomes a manifest form of capitalist nothingness.
Sport and Enlightenment
As far as the Enlightenment is concerned, sport discards the faith in reason and the pedagogy which departs from man as a reasonable being. It insists on a
muscular body and a belligerent character, which is expressed in Coubertin's maxim mens fervida in corpore lacertoso. It is a Social Darwinist basis for the ³will to power´, its ³anthropological´ foundation being in greediness. Sport, just as the bourgeois physical culture which abandoned the emancipatory traces of the Enlightenment (on which the philanthropic and dancing movements were based), is dominated by a technical-productivistic rationality: the body is reduced to a machine, and movement to the mechanics of movement. The perfect functionality of a machine, which means that the body becomes an instrument for producing performance in a pure sense, becomes the highest esthetic challenge. Sport does not represent the realization of the emancipatory legacy of the Enlightenment, but one of the most fatal tendencies in the development of the Enlightenment thought, which was pointed out by Horkheimer and Adorno: ³the transformation of the Enlightenment into positivism´. (9) It is precisely Horkheimer (Adorno) who insists on the criticism of the absolutized principle of quantitatively measurable performance prevalent in sport: ³What is not given to the measurement of calculability and usability is suspicious to the Enlightenment´ ± ³the number has become the canon of the Enlightenment´. (10) And he continues: ³Bourgeois society is ruled by equivalence. It makes the dissimilar comparable by reducing it to abstract quantities. To the Enlightenment, that which does not reduce to numbers, and ultimately to the one, becomes illusion; modern positivism writes it off as literature. Unity is the slogan from Parmenides to Russell. The destruction of gods and qualities alike is insisted upon.´ (11) In sport, there is no dialectical confrontation between good and evil, freedom and slavery, old and new... Quantitative shifts without qualitative leaps become an expression and a measure of ³progress´, which creates and illusion that capitalism is capable of ³moving forward´ forever ± at the expense of the destruction of man and nature. In sport, there is no ³cultural time´ (Bloch), which means there is no historical movement; it is dominated by a mechanicistic time with a mythological aura (³immortal spirit of antiquity´). The ³history of sport´ is reduced to a linear sequence of figures to which the names of impersonalized champions are attached. Sport represents the means for creating the cult of capitalist ³progress´: quantitative comparison becomes a superhuman force to which man is fatally submitted. Sport most convincingly confirms Horkheimer and Adorno's conclusion from the ³Dialectic of Enlightenment´ that ³the curse of a constant progress is a constant regression´. (12) At the same time, there is a ³reflexion on the destructiveness of progress´ (13) and on the ³renouncement of all hope´. (14) Sport is based on technological rationalism which is a manifest form of the destructive capitalist irrationalism. The absolutized principle of performance, expressed in the record as the market value of result and thus the end in itself, represents a manifest form of capitalist reproduction, based on the absolutized principle of increasing the profit: the speed of the reproduction of capital is the power dictating the rhythm of social events and conditioning the dramatics of human life. At the same time, in sport there is no will for creating a world based on reason and freedom ± the most important
emancipatory intention of the German classical philosophy; it is dominated by physical strength, speed, stamina, as well as a ruthless (destructive) belligerent character. Capitalist degeneration of the emancipatory physical culture corresponds to the degeneration of the emancipatory spirit of the Enlightenment. From a world founded on reason, we have come to a world founded on the number.
Fair-play and Kant's ³Categorical Imperative´
As far as Horkheimer's appeal to Immanuel Kant is concerned, in Kant's conception of play sport is denied a playing character. In his comments on Kant's views on play in his ³Critique of Judgement´ (³Kritik der Urteilskraft´), Danko Grli concludes that, according to Kant, play, ³in contrast to work, is a free human activity of the human body or spirit which occurs without a direct practical purpose or usage that would exist outside the activity itself. Play is played out of sheer joy of playing and everything else that from the outside wants to determine or restrict it, to direct or instruct it, spoils the very free character of play, restrained by no one and nothing. Hence, even when play is placed in the service of a particular purpose: exercising, strengthening of spirit, competition or fight for victory, it loses its authentic original sense, since it is contained in the very uncertainty, uninhibitedness, in a free motion not determined by the conditions of the actual, real life, but solely by the rules of the world of play. Therefore, play can follow only its own immanent purposefulness and not a purpose beyond itself, however ³noble´ or ³great´ it might be. Play becomes a ³purposefulness without a purpose´. (15) In Kant, the dominant world is the a priori ³world of play´, which has nothing to do with reality and is bounded by its own rules. It is an apparent (idealized) opposition to the existing world and thus is a datum independent of man and society, where what is not possible in society becomes possible. Kant does not speak of the essence of play as a concrete social phenomenon, but seeks to establish a normative project of play which becomes a prism through which social relations proclaimed to be ³play´ should be observed. ³Free play´ is based on the mind which is ³free´ from reality and exists only in conceptual terms, that is, as the ideal of play not matched by any of the existing plays ± which appeared in a given historical moment and are a playing form of the manifestation of the ruling relations and values. Play, in its essence, corresponds to Kant's world of noumenon and accordingly is of an a priori character. In his ³Anthropology´ Kant says: ³Labour and play can be compared like war and peace. The former exerts a kind of force on our capacities, directing them to a given end; the latter /play/ places them in a free motion, by which the powers of the soul proportionally engaged and enlivened are precisely that which gives us
pleasure; in contrast to that, the forms of labour are ends.³ (16) In Kant's philosophy , the world is not a whole; it is divided in the world of concern and the world of happiness, the world of labour and the world of play ± which are spheres independent of man, and in which man exists. Consequently, man is not a whole being which as such relates to the world; he is artificially divided in the worker and player. Labour becomes a negative foundation in relation to which the concept of play is determined: labour is compulsory ± play is free; labour is a target activity which engages man one-sidedly ± play offers the possibility of realizing spiritual forces and as such is a pastime. The real world of non-freedom is confronted with the abstract world of play which is proclaimed to be ³freedom´ and which is only an ideological cover for the existing plays the nature of which is conditioned by the ruling relations and values. The ³idea of play´ becomes the ideological picture of a social phenomenon whose essence is determined by the concrete totality of the ruling relations. In Kant, strivings for play are not an expression of man's strivings to become free as a social being, but to experience freedom ± in a world of nonfreedom. Instead of freedom in society, Kant offers man a ³pastime´ in play; instead of a vision of a free world, Kant offers the idea of a ³free play´. ³Spontaneity´, ³purposelessness´, and the like are determinations of play which suggest that free play in a world of non-freedom is possible. One must but immerse oneself into the ³world of play´ to experience freedom. Play becomes a mystical force giving man happiness in an extreme misery. Pursuing happiness involves an escape from the existing world of misery and renouncement of the right to a happy life: misery in everyday life is a conditio sine qua non of happiness in play. Play is possible only in the existing world of non-freedom and it cannot involve strivings for a world of freedom (libertarian play), nor the culmination of the world of freedom (genuine play). It is a (apparent) freedom from the existing world, but not freedom for a future world: it does not have a visionary dimension. Pursuing freedom in the illusory world of play becomes the substitute for a struggle to create a world in which man will be free. Instead of aspiring to a happy life, man should unquestioningly accept the world of sufferings and direct his aspirations to happiness towards the sphere of play which in Kant is an unrealizable ideal, while in reality it is only a playing form of the manifestation of the ruling relations and values. Kant's conception of play is a way to obtain for the existing relations which were proclaimed ³play´ such a philosophical foundation which makes them apparently independent. In fact, it is not the concept of play which is determined, but the relation of man to the existing world conceived as a given fact. Play is not an illusory world of freedom, but a concrete world of non-freedom to which man should relate as if it were a world of freedom. Play becomes a ³free´ form of letting off the steam of non-freedom. Unlike Schiller, Kant does not depart from man's playing being, but from the play as a repressive normative vault by which man's ³aggressive´ nature is held under control. He is not guided by a (romantic) faith in man, but strives to
oppose the ³evil´ human nature in order to prevent the disintegration of society. His ideal of man represents the ideal of a model citizen. Kant's pedagogy does not insist on man's humanization but on his ³disciplining´, which means on stopping the animalistic from jeopardizing humanity; on ³cultivation´, which means instruction; on ³civilizing´, which means to be accepted in society and to exert influence; and on man's ³moralization´, which means to make him opt for good ends which can be universally accepted. (17) Play is a repressive estheticized model of behaviour which produces a moral conscious. Man can be free only within the boundaries established ³solely by the rules of the world of play itself´ which is a phenomenon sui generis, the meaning of which and the rules of which do not depend on man, nor on social relations. Instead of man being free as a playing being, which involves the creation of new playing forms within the creation of a new world, he is submitted to the given normative mould of play. It is not about the nature of play and the nature of its rules, the emphasis is rather on a subjective moment: ³play is played out of the very joy of playing´. Since for Kant play is a phenomenon sui generis, man does not play, but is in play: the ³joy of playing´ is not the joy of man as a playing being, but a peculiar quality of play. The true purpose of play lies in ³uncertainty, uninhibitedness, in a free motion not determined by the conditions of the actual, real life, but solely by the rules of the world of play´. Play is not only opposed to work but is a given independent of the conditions of real life. Man is abolished as a social (historical) being, and play as a concrete social (historical) phenomenon. The abstract man becomes free in the abstract play. Kant's ³world of play´ is analogous to Schiller's ³esthetic state´, the difference being in that Schiller's world of play is attained through a developed esthetic being and romantic daydreaming. Hence, for him, the prototype of genuine play is not children's play, as it is for Kant, but the play of an emancipated man who opts for play with his free will, guided by a developed esthetic being. If Kant's conception is consistently followed, the authentic play of adults is not possible since, on the one hand, they, burdened by labour, have lost the ability of experiencing the joy of play and, on the other hand, the ruling forms of play arise from social reality and have, just like labour, a purposeful (instrumental) character. Kangrga's interpretation of Kant's notion of ³spontaneity´, which is the key notion for understanding play, is interesting. According to Kangrga, in Kant, the dominant idea is that of man's self-creation through the production and appropriation of his own imminently human world according to the principles of spontaneity and freedom. Spontaneity = intelligence = freedom = practical mind ± these are the basic postulates and relations in Kant's philosophy. The spontaneity of reason ± spontaneity as intelligence suggests man¶s designed, transformed, cultivated nature. Spontaneity is not an act of nature, but of reason (intelligence). According to Kangrga, the notion of spontaneity in Kant is determined ³from the horizon of the already man's world, or better: the establishment of that world´. (18) Self-conscious of human action is a historical act. The relation between freedom and nature (impulses) is conceived from one highest point, and it is the
idea, that Self, freedom ± which Kant sees in revolution. Kant's ethics draws on the following concepts: duty, moral law, freedom, categorical imperative, morality ... (19) Kant's philosophy of freedom (spontaneity) is, in fact, the philosophy of duty, of learned and unquestionably accepted restraints. A revolution is to enable the abolishment of the selfwilledness of the aristocracy and elevate the moral law, which can save society from the ³evil´ human nature, to the level of a universal principle which applies to all citizens and is the essence of his ³categorical imperative´. Kant does not depart from man as a social being oriented towards other both existentially and essentially, but from a (petit) bourgeois who is guided by greediness: private property is the basis of ³socialization´. Hence Kant attaches such importance to the repressive normative mind: moral norms become a spider's web in people's heads, which is to curb egoism and prevent disintegration of society. Kant does not depart from man's ³interior´, but from his intellect (reason). Intelligence is awareness of the necessity of accepting the repressive normative vault. The very knowledge of the good and the awareness of a need to do it induce man to perform good acts. ³Good´ has an existential character, but it does not mean doing good acts departing from a free man and society as the community of free people, but from the ruling order. Kant's ³categorical imperative´ does not inspire man to do good starting from his noble nature, it is meant to prevent him from doing evil. Kant does not argue for a world of free people, but seeks to build institutional barriers which will prevent the disintegration of the civil society based on private property. Kant's subjectivism is an illusion. The nature of his ³ought´ (Sollen) is already determined by the nature of the ruling order, by what is: it constitutes his normative vault which is to protect him from disaster. The a priori of Kant's moral philosophy is founded on the bourgeois society that cannot be questioned. Kant's ³categorical imperative´ represents an attempt to ³reconcile´ man with the existing world at a formal-logical level and on the basis of the established dualism of ³being´ (Sein) and the ³ought´. It is not the life principle of a free man, but of an atomized citizen who departs from his being by nature an ³evil´ being and feels that only unquestionable submission to an a priori normative order offers a possibility for the survival of society. Hence Kant's pedagogy is not focused on man's humanization but on his disciplining. In spite of the fact that Kant emphasizes the active, subjective aspect of reality (Kangrga), his theory only apparently opens space for man as a playing subject. The development of play does not involve the development of man's playing being (Eros, emotions, senses...) and interpersonal relations but of a repressive normative vault and the strengthening of the ruling order. Play is not an expression of man's need of another man; it is not the development of interpersonal relations based on the principles of brotherhood and solidarity; in it there is no motion of man towards man... ³Spontaneity´ remains in the sphere of reason (awareness of a need of communal life), and not of the whole humanness, which means man's unconditional and spontaneous need of another man. The tacit
purpose of a ³purposeless´ play is ³free´ creation of the ruling relations and values, ultimately, the production of a loyal citizen and his pinning down to the existing world. The ³spontaneity´ does not reflect the (critical, change-aspiring) relation of man to the world, but an unquestionable acceptance of the existing world and the dominant rules. Play becomes a ³spontaneous´ way of the production of the world as an object by an objectivized and instrumentalized man. ³Freedom´ becomes an ideological and ³spontaneity´ a practical form of the establishment of the order of non-freedom. Play, as a repressive normative vault, is that according to which the nature of the playing disposition is determined. It is not a product of an authentic (creative-libertarian) human nature, but is the highest form of ³spontaneity´, which means the abstract transcendental subject which is the incarnation of the repressive normative vault and which becomes the carrier of play and the basis of its self-reflection. Transcendental Self replaces ³God´, only this time it is not called ³love´ but ³duty´. It is the incarnation of reason alienated from man, which appears in the form of the unquestionable ruling normative vault. The transcendental Self becomes the absolute and as such does away with the critical mind ± which is not and cannot be humanly grounded. Hence the deduction from the a priori world of noumenon is the basic activity of thought. Revolution raises it to the pedestal of a universal principle that applies to all citizens, and becomes the unquestionable criterion for determining the human intention. By the very establishment of the transcendental Self the barriers of the ³ought´ are placed. The ³humanization of nature´ is not based on a respect for nature, but it is submitted (suppressed, mutilated...) to the normative model of a ³citizen´. From it follows ³disciplining´ reduced to a physical drill which is different from animal training only in that it is ³voluntarily´ (reasonably) adopted. Doing ³good´, which expresses the ³common interest´, is of a repressive character because it is in opposition to the logic of everyday existence that induces man to treat others like enemies and because man is by his nature an ³evil´ being guided by greediness ± which threatens the survival of society. Revolution appears as the act of a mind that will create a new (civil) order, and not a world of free people. It is not an expression and confirmation of man's libertarian nature, it is the performance of his civil duty to abolish the order based on privileges and create a new institutional vault that will control his ³evil´ nature. Kant's (revolutionary) ³ought´ deals with an order based on privileges, but also with aspirattions to realize the guiding principles of the French Revolution. Kant opts for (bourgeois) revolution, but not for man as a revolutionary. Revolutionary self-conscious does not touch the original humanness: the shield of an egoistic (petit) bourgeois does not allow it to enter man's being. In revolution, the citizen's conscious did not only win over the conscious of the aristocracy, but also over the conscious of man as a universal creative being of freedom who is capable of creating a world in his own image. In Kant the esthetic and the ethical are given in unity, but they appear as a subjective principle. It is about a ³taste´ formed by the mind (intellect) and turned
into a moral conscious by means of which the selfish and aggressive (petit) bourgeois is ³disciplined´. The ³beautiful´ turns into the ³good´ by way of a repressive normative conscious and not by way of man's humanization. Kant eliminates the possibility of a direct and spontaneous establishment of interpersonal relations, which proceed by way of a ³moral conscious´ that becomes and ideological (self) conscious of civil society and is based on the ³awareness of one's duties´. Kant's ³subjectivity´ is a form in which appears the imposed normative pattern of a model citizen. It is not based on man's authentic (self) conscious, but is a transcendental ³conscious´ by which a citizen must be guided in order for the society to survive. Moral (self) conscious is a form depriving man of authentic humanity (moral being) and authentic self-conscious, which means a critical, change-aspiring and a visionary conscious. Kant affirms activism which appears as the creation of the world, and in that context the category of ³possibility´, but his ³ought´ is but an abstract possibility of the creation of novum since it is a normative reflexion of the world in which man is deprived of his authentic subjectivity. In Kant there is only an apparent contradiction between ³being´ and the ³ought´: the normative project is not the opening of a new human space and in that sense a struggle against the ruling order; it is the essence of the existing world turned into norms. His thought is not visionary, but positivistic: ³ought´ is not a normative projection of the future, but is an idealistic interpretation of the existing world. Kant's philosophy offers a formal possibility of the establishment and justification of a ³moral´ vault of sport which is expressed in fair-play. His ³categorical imperative´ shows on the example of sport its social conditioning and limitation: ³the principle of universal law´ in sport can be as follows ³The stronger win, the weaker are eliminated!´ It is the only possible principle ± in order for sport to survive and for survival in sport. The alleged subjectivism (³the maxim of your own will ...´) is but a form in which the ruling relations appear: it is not man's free choice; it is the ³free´ choice of a ³sportsman´. Man is not guided by moral principles that contain a visionary (utopian) or transcendental idea. What precedes conscious is a (positive) character ± which occurs in living a life based on Social Darwinism and the absolutized principle of performance (profit) and on which the corresponding normative conscious is ³spontaneously´ built. In sport, there is neither civil duty nor human responsibility. It is dominated by the existential spirit of capitalism which does not tolerate any rational or moral constraints. That is why Coubertin glorifies the ³passionate cry´ of the winner and confronts the ³meticulous rules´ that can apply to ³ordinary people´, but not to sportsmen who are the incarnation of the ruling order in its pure form. Sport is dominated by the ³law of the stronger´, not by a moral judgment. Victory, achieved through a better result, is the only criterion according to which the ³good´ is assessed. According to the dominant evaluative criteria in capitalism, the ³loser´ occupies the lowest place on the social ladder. This term represents the nastiest insult which suggests that it is the existential logic of capitalism, and not
humanist challenges, that creates the criteria for determining what is ³good´ and what is ³bad´. In sport, sense experience is not transformed into a moral feeling; it is rather that the character of a ³lazy animal´ is transformed into the character of a super-beast through the principle of ³greater effort´ (Coubertin). It mutilates the senses that can receive only those impressions which cannot lead to the development of man's esthetic or libertarian being. Sport is in itself a non-esthetic phenomenon and annihilation of man's esthetic being. There are no esthetic (nor customary, moral, legal, religious) norms that can hinder ³progress´ based on Social Darwinism and progressism. In sport, the ideal of the right conduct is not evaluative grounded, but springs from a logic imposed by life itself, the logic reduced to a struggle for survival and such that is beyond good and evil, beautiful and ugly... The ³pursuit of human perfection´ is the point at which, at an ideological-propagandist level, the sports ethics and sports esthetics coincide. If we are to attribute to a man that he is ³bad´ because of a ³bad´ act, what is necessary is not only that the man is aware of his having committed a bad act, but his intention of harming another man, as well as his wish and actual need to act in that way. In sport, there are no direct and spontaneous interpersonal relations; there is a relation between ³players-opponents´ conditioned by the spirit and rules of sport which is dominated by an instrumentalized violence as the incarnation not only of the institutional vault of the ruling order, but, above all, of the belligerent and progressistic spirit that rules the world and is of a destructive nature. Man becomes to man a means for satisfying inhuman ³needs´, which are imposed on him by the governing evaluative vault (³victory´ which will bring to a sportsman ³fame´ and money), and as such is a necessary evil (³opponent´). To injure the opponent is not an expression of man's ³aggressive nature´ and the object of moral judgment; it is of a functional character and thus is a legitimate means for preventing the opponent from realizing his intention. At the same time, there is no intention of hurting the opponent, but of preventing him from carrying out his action. Since it is a colleague from the sports show-business who shares the same destiny and tomorrow may play in the same team, there is no wish, let alone a real need, to hurt the opponent player. In boxing, it often happens that people who are friends, or even close relatives, become unscrupulous rivals in the ring trying to beat their opponent by striking such blows that can cause serious physical (mental) injuries and death. Sport is a war waged by the bodies which have a depersonalized dimension. A blow hurting one's opponent, and thus preventing him from realizing his intention, is not a blow struck upon a man, but upon a faceless ³opponent´, who appears in the form of a body with the (³objective´) dimension of a training sack. At the same time, during the training, a sportsman treats his own body in the same way he treats the body of his opponent. Guided by the logic imposed by sport, man above all becomes his own opponent. A ruthless treatment of oneself is the basic way of acquiring the capacity and readiness to be ruthless to others; the mutilation of one's own body is the basic presupposition of an aggressive relation to one's opponent; to harm oneself is the basic
presupposition of harming other people. Hence one of the most important tasks of sports pedagogy is to create a sado-masochistic character. Fair-play is not a moral (self) conscious; it is a technique of relation between ³sportsmen´ based on a functionalist principle: ³good´ is that which does not jeopardize playing, which means the ruling order and ³progress´ (citius, altius, fortius) on which the ³perfectioning´ of the world is based. Instead of protecting man from an inhuman order, an order that produces evil is being protected ± the evil attributed to man's ³nature´ in order to justify the repressive institutions which include play. Infliction of physical injuries and killings are legal and legitimate constituent parts of sport ± if they are carried out according to the given rules. The norms of fair-play are not designed to eradicate the murderous violence, but are a control mechanism intended to stop man from acting in a way that can jeopardize ³play´, which means the ruling order. It means that fair-play does not stop only evil, but also that non-violent behaviour which is opposed to the logic of sport as an institutionalized violence. A boxer, who does not strive to hit his opponent but only avoids being hit himself, will be reprimanded by the referee, and if he continues to behave in the same way, he will be disqualified. In most playing sports to avoid violence means to ³sabotage play´, which results in the sportsman losing his place in the team. In football, the player who deliberately hurts the opponent gains most recognition if it prevented a kick of the opponent towards the goal. What can we say of rugby, hockey and other ³bloody´ sports in which the infliction of physical injuries represents the most important part of ³play´? It is obvious that ³anthropological´ demand conceals an existential imperative. To injure or kill the ³opponent´ does not express man's need to hurt or kill, but is a necessary means for achieving victory, which means it is imposed by sport as an institution. The most important task of a coach is not to subdue the ³aggressiveness´ of his players, but to make them ³attack´ the opponents by threatening them with punishments, with losing their place in the team and with abuses which question their ³masculinity´, which means that everything is at the ruling existential and evaluative level. What is important in a sports spectacle are not human motives, but the effect produced by a sports contest, meaning that the crowd is to experience the fight as authentic ± and gain the impression that there exist conscious, intention, desire and a genuine need to ³crush´ one's opponent. The increasingly bloody sports spectacles are not only a compensation for an increasingly bloody life, but are meant to create the impression that people are by nature ³evil´ and that only repressive institutions of the capitalist order can protect society from ³human aggression´. And finally, if people are ³by nature aggressive´ and if it is the ³source of all evil´, why is the ³civilized world´ organizing increasingly bloody sports contests as public manifestations and in a spectacular form, thereby glorifying violence? Fair-play is a ³moral´ mask of an immoral world based on the principles ³Destroy the competition!´ and ³Money does not stink!´. It is not a moral code based on the observance of universal human values, but is a technical code based
on the principles that make the essence of sport (capitalism) and involve the mutilation of one's own body, infliction of serious physical injuries and killings, monstrous abuse of children, institutional degradation of women to ³lower beings´, destruction of cultural (self) conscious and man's libertarian dignity, creation of hordes of modern barbarians« Fair-play is not an appeal to a moral conduct and sanctioning of violence; it is but a mask meant to obtain a ³humanistic´ legitimacy for the principle ³might is right´, which on stadiums is being realized in the form of a spectacular destruction of humanity. In that context, boxing is referred to as a ³noble art´. It is the highest form of hypocrisy of the thought which is found in ideologues of capitalism: if sport is by its nature ³noble´, why are then noble feelings not developed in people, but the spirit of intolerance, which makes it a bastion of belligerent fanaticism? As far as the demand for a ³fair fight´ is concerned, it indicates that unquestioning observation of the rules on which the capitalist world is based must be above personal and group interests. It is also the basis of a ³depolitization´ of sport and the Olympic Games: sport (Olympic Games) must not be in the service of temporary individual or group political and material interests if its significance as a strategic political means for preserving the ruling order is not to be questioned. This is the role of ³international sports associations´, headed by IOC, and this is on which their indisputable arbitrary role is based. It is interesting that for bourgeois theorists war, just as the gladiators' fights and ³knight tournaments´, falls into the category of ³sport competition´, and sport in play: sport becomes an instrument giving war a playing character. It is no accident that the principle of ³chivalry´, which is a ³romantic´ mask by which the bloodthirsty medieval noblemen obtained an angelic look, has become the most important way of giving a ³cultural´ legitimacy to sports competitions. It is based on the right to kill, which means a capacity and readiness for murder: man's right to life is submitted to the right of the order to survival. People are not brothers guided by humanity and love of freedom; they are rivals guided by ambition and pursuit of fame. Chivalrous ideals are becoming the means for crushing the guiding ideas of the French Revolution, without which there is no modern humanism, and represent the ³avoidance´ of democratic institutions created in the civil society and the establishment of a direct domination of the capitalist order over people. In the contemporary professional sport, which has become part of the entertainment industry, there has been established a specific ³sports ethics´. Instead of the fair play of a gentleman who is guided by ³chivalrous manners´, we are dealing with professional ethics. Sportsmen approach training and matches in the same way ± as a serious business. Play becomes labour. Therefore in ³true professionals´ there are relatively small oscillations in play. Whether they lose of win, they continue to run and play with ³full steam´ right through the end. We have come to an apparently paradoxical conclusion that professionals ³work off their play´. Hence hardworking, discipline in performing the task, tenacity,
seriousness, reliability are the characteristics which are far more appropriate for a ³true professional´ than spontaneity, imagination, liveliness, unpredictability, individuality... Unlike a worker, a sportsman does not temporarily let only his working ability, but sells his body and his personality. He is not only a working force, but is a working instrument and the object of work. At the same time, he is a moving advertising agent both for the club and for the sponsors, which conditions not only his behaviour on the field but also in life. An indisputable loyalty to the masters and the established order is the basic condition of survival in the sports show-business. With the fight for profit becoming increasingly tougher, the main challenge for a sportsman ceases to be his effort and the quality of the opponent, and becomes the extent to which he is to take risks, which means, how much he is to jeopardize his health and life ± in order to achieve victory and record. A sportsman acquires the status of an entertaining commodity on the market of sports show-business and becomes a tool for one use only. From an injured player one does not expect a human reaction, to cry or call for help, but to behave like a robot that has discharged his duty and can be thrown on the dump of ³consumer society´. Readiness to self-destruction becomes the main feature of a ³good´ sportsman. It is no longer a working ethics, but a (self) destructive fanaticism.
Sport and Language
If we proceed, only conditionally, from Heidegger's view that ³language is the home of being´ (³Die Sprache ist das Haus des Seins´), then sports language is a fortress in which resides the true, dehumanized and denaturalized being of sport. Sports language (above all speech) is reduced to a means for manipulation by which man is reduced to an instrument for achieving inhuman ends. It is dominated by a war terminology, bad language and abuses; by the rhetoric of circus announcers which is to give to the marginal a ³fatal´ dimension; by a mythological presentation of events and persons which is to deify the fight for victory and destroy man's self-conscious as a libertarian and creative being; by ³progressive´ demagogy which destroys the power of reasoning and creates a fanatical (self) destructive conscious... The claim that sport is a ³universal language´ (a peculiar Esperanto) can be accepted only conditionally. Sport has its meaningful structure, grammar of motion and skills. As such, it represents the model of behaviour with a symbolic and ³communicative´ character. The fact that people come from different cultural spheres does not essentially affect the possibility of ³communication´ by way of sport, since it does not derive from any particular culture and is based on a ³universal´ capitalist civilization. At the same time, with sport becoming a universal and global means of capitalism for depolitization of the oppressed and their idioticizing, a global (³international´) sports vocabulary is being created ±
the vocabulary which appears in various linguistic forms. On stadiums throughout the world we are witnessing the formation, in relation to the global capitalist plutocracy which uses the ³language of business´, of a global supporting ³mass´ that uses the same supporting vocabulary ± which is one of the manifest forms of the globalizing capitalist primitivism. The language of the crowd, reduced to fascist, sexist, racist, nationalistic and local-chauvinistic slogans is but an echo of what is going on in life and what, through the fight of contemporary gladiators, in a condensed form appears in stadiums and sports centres. The language of supporters is of an irrational character expressing pathological psychic states and creating collective supportive ³conscious´ - which destroys the critical, changeaspiring conscious and degenerates humanity. In sport the ³body language´ amounts to the struggle of mechanical beings. A sports body, body posture and body motion are based on the model of the ³iron´ body, fighting posture and aggressive motion emanating a ruthless belligerent spirit. They represent the symbols of the ruling order by means of which it is writing a message addressed to mankind. The maxim mens fervida in corpore lacertoso indicates a symbolic character of the body: sportsman is a moving sculpture of capitalism and its advertising billboard. Playing proficiency, reduced to a playing technique, represents a ³civilized´ body language which is reduced to a war waged with bodies: the grammar of body motion is reduced to a war strategy. The very looks, stance and motion convey to the ³opponents´ that they are not friends, but deadly enemies. Sport destroys the pacifist mind and maintains the state of constant war between people and nations, destroys a critical relation to the ruling order of injustice and completely integrates man into the existing world. It is the incarnation of the ³mondialist´ spirit of capitalism and as such is the means for destroying the cultural heritage of mankind. Instead of enabling a meeting of cultures, on sports fields, by means of muscular bodies of fanaticized crusaders, a war is waged between the most powerful capitalist corporations. In a wider political context, a sports fight is of a class character: by it the bourgeoisie ³pacifies´ (depolitizes) the oppressed working ³masses´, draws them into the spiritual orbit of capitalism and destroys the libertarian mind. By technicizing the ³theoretical approach´ to sport, which is mostly expressed at the linguistic level, the process of dehumanization and denaturalization of the sports environment and man is coming to a conclusion. For interpersonal relations in physical education, sport and recreation the term ³communication´ is repeatedly used, and it means the information feedback established between technical processes ± as against the term ³understanding each other´, which suggests the establishment and enrichment of interpersonal relations. In sports theory the popular terms are the ³mechanics of the bodily´, the ³mechanics of motion´ and others, up to defining the whole area of man's physical activism by the syntagma ³kinesiological sociology´. This tendency indicates that sport is increasingly submitted to the ³mechanisms of functioning´ which are typical of technical processes. In that context, the relation to the human body is
mediated by the productivistic-manipulative nature of technique. The contemporary scientific approach (according to the level of the development of natural sciences and the goals set before them) disintegrates the organism into processes, components ± which corresponds to the established specialization in working processes and the strivings to achieve a (quantitatively measurable) effect in the least possible time. If we remember that the development of science is dictated by the logic of the ³consumer society´, then it is clear that we are here dealing with the instrumentalization of science and technique for the purpose of achieving inhuman and anti-existential goals. From a means for manipulation and submission technique has become a means for man's destruction. Sports language is not a form of cultural cooperation between nations; it does not produce man's cultural being; it does not enable the humanization of interpersonal relations and the establishment of a critical, change-aspiring relation to the existing world of injustice and non-freedom, but is a form of ³communication´ which corresponds to the ³international´ spirit of capitalism. The sports language is the manifest form of a world based on the principles bellum omnium contra omnes and citius, altius, fortius and as such is a technical means for destroying the cultural conscious. In sport, man is between the anvil of a technocratic ratio and the hammer of a mythological conscious, which corresponds to man's positioning between ³world of the factual´ and ³spectacle´ which is a form in which the ruling relations and values appear. The technicization of the world is corresponded by a mythological conscious which, as a contemporary dogmatic, gives meaning to life, while scientific discoveries become the foundation of a new, technologically based mysticism. Everything is being done to destroy the mind which is capable of showing the ruling (destructive) tendencies in the development of society and the objective possibilities for the creation of a new world. Sports language suggests the real nature of ³globalism´: it creates a civilization without culture, which means ³new´ barbarism.
Body Language of Deaf-Mute Children
Here we shall also say something about the play of deaf-mute children, which is not based on a conflict but on cooperation. The analysis made according to the impressions from the rehearsals for the performance ³Little Mermaid´, conducted by the dramatist Igor Simonovi , who also directed the play. Play offers the possibility of the development of more complete interpersonal relations than speech. Through play deaf-mute children literally become an organic community. What they cannot express in words or song, the children express through body motion: it becomes the main means of understanding, expression of thoughts and emotional response. Hence children have a need for constant motion whereby their whole body is activated. Play offers
children the possibility of giving meaning to a physical motion and direct emotions towards the establishment of interpersonal relations. Since there is no language as an objective form they can relate to through listening and speaking, disabled children repeatedly create by their bodies symbolic forms which make the language they use in communication. In play, the grammar of physical motion on which the structure of understanding in the group is based is spontaneously established. The body language expresses the personality of the children in a much more complex and adequate way then it is achieved by voice, since they participate in its creation with their whole being. Hence a number of layers in their relations and such a peculiar personal expression. Most importantly, their body language is a direct expression of their emotional and spiritual charge. They are not capable of lying, as is the case with children who treat the spoken language (also) as a means which is to conceal their emotional state, since they cannot create from body expression such an external form that can be misleading. This is the essence of their spontaneity, openness and naiveté... At the same time, this is the biggest obstacle for the children to be pushed into the mould of a role that restrains the manifestation of their authentic individuality. It is much harder for them to be ³somebody else´ than it is for the children who can speak. This is of utmost importance for determining the performances the children are to play. It is much more difficult for them to act, since their whole life is already ³acting´, as they are necessarily oriented to a dramatic body expression. While children with normal speech faculties express their emotions in a louder or lower voice, faster or slower speech, harsher or softer words, through screaming or singing, disabled children express variety of emotions and degree of emotional charge through grimaces and unarticulated speech sounds, as well as through the dynamics and dramatics of the body motion. For them, the ability to control the body motion means the suppression of emotions, spirit, imagination, while the lavishness of body movements directly conditions the possibility of the development of their relations. Since with the body motion it is much harder to adequately and precisely express thoughts and emotions, their movement is often characterized by confusion. At the moments of emotional tension the group feels panic. The children constantly turn one to another and follow their friends' movements in order to understand what they are trying to say. They have a need to relate to the space in such a way as to be able to see at every moment what is going on not around them, but in front of them. Hence they spontaneously try to organize the scene in a way which will enable them to establish a frontal intimacy. It is of utmost importance, since children are then sure they can control the activities on the scene, which means that they understand each other all the time. The space must always be in front of them, and the play, scene and light are all adapted to that. Those dear children do not like to be in the shadow. Nor should they ever be. Nowhere.
Dancing movement, which was shaped at the end of the XIX century, expressed the basic traits of modern physical culture: the restoration of ancient spiritual heritage, by giving priority to the spiritual and musical, and a return to nature and natural movement. It is about the right to a body movement free of canons that served to prove the aristocratic elitist (class) status. Nature, spirit and music became collaborators of the advanced bourgeoisie in their fight against the ancien régime. In the second half of the XVIII century a French dancing teacher Jean-Georges Noverre confronted the aristocratic bodily canons as artificial and, like Rousseau, called for a ³return to nature´. French actor Francois Delsarte developed a teaching according to which bodily posture affects the spirit and, conversely, our spiritual activity affects the body. Proceeding from his own experience he came to the conclusion that every movement causes a particular (lawful) expression and believed that, by relying on expression, a harmonious development of the body, spirit and soul can be achieved. He, like Nietzsche, believed that man can, by way of ³noble´ movements, become noble and established the ³gymnastics of expression´ (Ausdrucksgymnastik): man is to avoid learning the unplanned, accidental and patterned, so as to be able to independently move and use each part of his body. Such relaxation exercises do not weaken us; they rather save us from unnecessary muscular exertion. In connection with that, without strength one cannot achieve the harmony of movements, and therefore he introduced exercises for the body (torso) and for keeping the balance. His student, Steele Mac Kaye, realized his ideas in Boston in the form of ³esthetic gymnastics´. Delsartes' student Geneviève Stebbins wrote a book ³The Delsartes System of Expression´, which contributed to the spreading of his ideas. Drawing on the European ³gymnastics of breathing´, she came to the following conclusion: ³We breathe as we think, we think as we breathe.´ She believed that man's ability to strain and relax in the right way ± which involves mastering of a special breathing technique ± represents the ³fundamentals of life´. Thus there are exercises for straining and relaxing the head, chin, etc. All this was shaped in ³home´ and ³school gymnastics´, ³esthetic and dramatic gymnastics´ - and appears within the comprehensive literature on gymnastics. According to American physician George Taylor, who shared her views on ³healthy gymnastics´, Stebbins strove to establish a bridge between body and spirit by way of breathing. Hedwig Kallmeyer, one of their students, introduced this system in Germany. In 1909, she founded in Berlin the ³Institute for the Body and the Culture of Movement´ (³Institut für Körper-und Ausdruckskultur´), which insisted on ³bodily posture´ based on breathing, straining and relaxing of muscles. Her work followed the work of Isadora and Elizabeth Duncan, who came to Europe from America in 1899. Isadora argued for a harmonious education in the ³Greek sense´ of the word, which means discarding the artificial and the unnatural and
drawing strength of bodily expression from music. In 1904, Elisabeth opened in Berlin her own school, in which children, through running and jumping, were taught natural movements and thus achieved a natural dancing charm. Her institution became the mixture of a higher school for girls and institute for gymnastics. It can be said that her main orientation was rhythmical gymnastics. Jacques Dalcroze, a musical pedagogue and composer, sought, at the Geneva Conservatory, to develop musical skills in children by way of gymnastic exercises. The results of his research were presented in 1905, at a congress in Soloturn, and his teaching on the connection between gymnastical-rhythmical and musical-rhythmical and their mutual conditioning has been widely recognized. He posed the question on man's essence in a new way and contributed to a breach with purely intellectual upbringing. The principle of play which he adopted is reduced to the following: a student beats a rhythm to the music he hears or has within himself and then begins to move, first following the dancing steps he recalls, and then gradually demonstrating his own creative powers. The exercises are performed now individually and now in groups, setting in motion, through this shared activity, a mysterious fluid of the feeling of community ± which enables prolific improvisations. Striving to popularize his teachings, Dalcroze visited London, Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna, and in 1911, in Hellerau near Dresden he founded his own institute. The visitors of the institute included Paul Claudel, Bernhard Shaw and Max Reinhardt. His method was adopted in Europe and America. The festivals in Hellerau in 1912 and 1913, and in Geneva in 1914, attracted the public attention. During the First World War and in the post-war period Dalcroze worked in Switzerland. In 1927 he returned to Germany where he achieved success, and he was equally successful in America and England. His methods were to be applied in over 20 countries. The headmaster of the school in Hellerau, Christine Baer-Frisell, transferred the school to Laxenburg near Vienna, one of the royal palaces. From this shool came also the famous dancing teacher Rosalie Chladek. A contribution to the development of the dancing movement was given also by the (pro-Nazi oriented) philosopher Ludwig Klages, who paid special attention to the clarification of the concept of rhythm. According to him, life is a rhythmical state. Rhythm is opposed to tempo: ³Tempo repeats, rhythm renews´ (³Takt wiederholt, Rhythmus erneuert.´). Here we should also mention W. Grässer, who published the book ³Bodily Sense, Gymnastics, Dancing, Sport´ (³Körpersinn, Gymnastik, Tanz, Sport´), in which rhythmical gymnastics represents, as ³metaphysics of physical culture´, the basis of gymnastics which gives artistic expression to ³bodily life impulses´. Speaking of sport, Grässer points out: ³What is important in it are not rational ends ... but the experience of the body´. George Hebert also belongs to those who, with their system of physical exercises, gave momentum to the development of man's playing being. During his voyages as a naval officer, Hebert came into contact with South-American Indians, especially those near the Orinoco, from Columbia and South Seas. Fascinated with their bearing, appearance and physical capabilities, he came to the
conclusion that it was the result of their free life in nature. Similarly to Rousseau, he demanded that physical education be ³natural and at the same time useful´. Hebert's conception, based on the principle that ³every man carries within himself a dancer´, is completely opposed to the conception of ³human nature´, dominant in the sports theory, according to which man is a bloodthirsty animal. He resolutely rejected sport, was against artificial movements and artificial obstacles (apparatus), discarded commands and argued for free, individual exercises, gradual improvement in performance and exercising with pleasure. His physical culture primarily involved running, climbing, balancing, singing, gymnastics of breathing... Hebert's system of exercises was part of the European movement of physical culture called ³natural gymnastics´ (Naturgymnastik), which appeared in Austria, but left traces also in Germany and Sweden, as well as in the entire modern education. (20) In dancing, as the highest form of physical culture in civil society, the dominant movement is that of man towards man (in traditional dances also the movement of man towards nature), whereas man becomes an inspiration for another man, the picture of and challenge for his humanity; bodily movement is the expression of an emotional and spiritual movement; play has a collectivistic character, so the human group appears as a playing community in which individual (spiritual and bodily) differences are not an obstacle for establishing and developing of play (interpersonal relations); instead of an imposed (quantifying) pattern of movements, play is dominated by spontaneity; instead of the ³disciplining´ of the body, which subdues man's impulsive nature, it focuses on man's humanization; instead of a productivistic-belligerent, there is an artistic movement expressing love, tenderness, joyfulness, solidarity, passion, victory of life over death, procreation, natural cycle and the like. It is no accident that almost all representatives of the dancing movement rejected sport as a pedagogical instrument. When dancing technique is concerned, dancing movement contributed to the development of new forms of motion and created a new relation to the body which offers the possibility of a more complex expression of man's playing being. We deal here with technical presuppositions for the development of creative flexibility and thus creative personality. Speaking of Dalcroze, Magazinovi concludes: ³In the beginning of his work, Dalcroze transferred musical metron and rhythm (agogic, tempo and dynamics) to body motion. It is only during his work that he realized that the human body itself possesses rhythmical lawfulness of movements and that the sense of physical rhythm creates a technical background of rhythmical-musical performances through body movements. Before that the European educational public had not been aware of one-sidedness of contemporary physical exercises, which knew only of the principles of muscular tension, while of the principle of relaxation it had no idea whatsoever, and thus was almost rhythmical. Dalcroze's exercises in rhythmical gymnastics, which by bodily movements attempted to express dynamic tonic variations, contributed to the realization of the need of the principle of movement relaxation and bodily
rhythm in alternating straining and relaxing of the body, as the expressive instrument in the art of movement in dancing and acting. Thereby gymnastics, as the basis of physical-esthetic education, as the system of bodily rhythm harmonized with musical rhythm, gained in value.´ (21) Dancing movement was formed against the aristocratic forms of physical culture, based on the principle ordre et mesure ± which is in the most authentic way expressed in ballet. It is an endeavour to adapt bodily movement of an atomized citizen to the dynamic rhythm of the capitalist way of life, and free oneself of the patterns that curb self-initiative and thus the feeling of ³freedom´. Dancing movement does not depart from the whole of the emancipatory heritage of civil society, but from partial starting-points and thus leads man to ghettoization. In dancing movement there is no confrontation with the existing world, nor the visionary dimension. The development of man's playing being is not seen in the context of man's liberation from the chains of a repressive civilization and the creation of a humane world; an illusion is rather created that freedom in play is possible in spite of the fact that man is not free in society. The representatives of the dancing movement do not see man as a complete social being, but reduce him to a ³dancer´. At the same time, they depart from the dualism of body and spirit and try to bridge it through the development of playing techniques. Instead of the fight for a new world, they offer an escape from the world and autistic immersion into oneself through specific techniques of physical exercises. Hence the insistence on physical activity which excludes man from the world and directs his attention to what is going on in the body. The obsession with one's own body is proportionate to the intensity of the experience of a world deprived of humanity. Pursuit of ³internal harmony´ becomes an answer to the chaos of everyday life, where there is less and less space for humanness. Dancing movement, which was mainly supported by rich patrons, was reduced to a hopeless attempt to offer man, on the basis and within an inhuman world (or by fleeing to nature, which more or less comes to the same), a possibility of realizing his true human potentials, and thus humanize the existing world. It is an activism which, ultimately, leads man astray in his endeavours to win the cause not only for a better world but for survival. Play turns into a fight with man's critical, changeaspiring energy and becomes a form of his depolitization. Instead of a fight to eradicate the causes of non-freedom and destruction of humanity (nature), it directs man to create such forms of behaviour which in the existing world are to offer him an (illusory) opportunity to attain his playing being. Hence one of its basic features is to insist on ³spontaneity´, regardless of the fact that man's ³freedom´ in non-freedom means letting off the steam of non-freedom ± and regardless of what man himself (fanaticized, alienated, stupefied) may think of it. ³Free play´ becomes a compensation for an unfree life and a hopeless attempt to escape from life ± and as such the space of ³happiness´. In any case, ³free play´ becomes determined relative to life in which there is neither play nor freedom. Hence the main role of ³players´ is to give to the ruling destructive order a playing
dimension and show that ³freedom´ and ³happiness´ are possible in a world of non-freedom and unhappiness. As far as the struggle for women's emancipation is concerned, dancing movement is (another) wrong road with a sectarian character and leads women to ghettoization. A struggle for ³free sensuality´ becomes a substitution for the struggle for women's human and civil rights and escape from reality. The views of Isidora Duncan on women's emancipation are more of a cry for humanity, then struggle for freedom. By opposing the traditional ballet, unnaturalness of its technique, patterned movements, dressing and false spiritual expression, degradation of women to means for entertainment ± in the article ³Dancing of the Future´ (published in Leipzig in 1903) Duncan speaks of what the ³future dancer´ must be and thus indicates the true position of women in dance (and society): ³The future dancer must be a women whose body and spirit are so harmoniously developed that her body motion is natural expression of her soul. She will not belong to a particular nation but to the whole of humanity. Nor will she represent fairies by dancing, maenads or coquettes, but will through dancing express her femininity and her humanity... By dancing she will incarnate the changing life in nature and the movements of her body will emanate her thoughts, her hopes. She will in her dance incarnate freedom, and to women she will bring knowledge of strength and expressive beauty of their bodies.³ (22) Her ³dancing of the future´ will express ³all that is beautiful, healthy and honest in human life´. (23) This article could be entitled: dancing of the future ± in a world without any future. Duncan's noble vision remained entrapped in a world that degenerates every attempt of man to gain freedom through the development of his playing being. According to Russian critic J. Svetlov, Duncan was the first who managed to realize the ³fusion of pure playing plastic with pure music´, and ³restore to the movement an ancient simplicity´. (24) Duncan and her co-players managed to ³set free´ the dancing movement of chains of traditional dancing patterns, but not to set man free from the chains of capitalism. Dancing movement pursued ³perfection´ in the existing world and ended on the market of ³consumer society´. Its basic intention, to be the incarnation of the ruling rhythm of life in a ³spontaneous´ playing form, brought about its degeneration. Aerobics and other forms of commercialized physical activism are the ³final´ forms of the capitalist degeneration of dancing movement: in capitalism only those forms of bodily activism develop and survive which correspond to the ruling spirit and can become the source of profit. A variety of bodily expressions in dancing are not the confirmation of ³freedom´ but a manifestation of an increasingly various repression by the ruling order over man. Even the dances which are meant to establish a critical detachment to the existing world indicate that man cannot liberate his body through play, without at the same time liberating himself as a social being of the repressive (destructive) civilization. Only in a humanized nature and a society of free people the genuine dancing movement is possible ± as the realization of man's genuine playing being.
Rudolf Laban: ³Movement Education´
Rudolf Laban is one of the founders of dancing movement. His school follows the ancient model and insists on a general physical development. After the First World War the school became a peculiar women's commune in which special importance was given to the work with the ³untalented´. With his ³movement education´, which rejects classical gymnastics that is linked to a particular space and apparatus, and involves canonized movements, Laban had great influence in the USA ± through the book ³Labantation´ written by Ann Hutchinson, which was to become the theoretical basis of a movement that would develop under the name ³modern dance´. In her interpretation of Laban's conception of dancing Maleti concludes that according to it the ³development of a sense of movement is directed towards a fuller understanding and experiencing of movement as art´. (25) And she continues: ³...to focus on the rhythmical structure of movement taking into account the feelings they arouse in us means to understand their significance and their meaning. By developing and cultivating the kinesthetic and similar feelings, we strive to acquire ability to turn a number of spontaneous motor reactions into consciously chosen, disciplined and purposeful actions. By a subtle sense of movement, we will be able to remember our experience of it, to recognize it, analyze it, compare it with others, assess it and repeat it.´ (26) Speaking of the dancing technique, Laban concludes: ³We should acquire ability to perform every imaginable movement, and then choose those which are most appropriate to our nature and most desirable. It is something that only each individual can find for himself. Therefore the most useful thing is to practice a free use of kinetic and dynamic possibilities. We need to know the general possibilities of motion of a healthy body and spirit, and those specific constraints and capabilities that derive from individual structure of one's own body and spirit.´ (27) Laban's conception represents the construction of a peculiar grammar of movement that is to be taught through a mental and bodily drill, which becomes a ³privilege´ of those who have appropriate bodily capability and excellent physical condition. It is then that man can opt for the movements that suit him best. Laban insists on mastering the dancing technique, whereas the body is reduced to a tool for processing and an instrument for producing movements ± and then the development of an ³artistic movement´ occurs. Technical processing of the body becomes the basis of an artistic expression, while ³artistic dance´ comes down to a superb technique of dancing. Practically, the very system of drill suppresses man's erotic nature, develops in him a masochistic character, decultivates and denaturalizes him, mutilates him as a social being and turns him into a ³dancer´: the acquisition of the ability to perform a superb dancing is reduced to dealing with man's playing
being. Instead of a playing, a technical body is created; instead of trying to develop man as a universal creative being of freedom, for whom play is one of the forms of creative manifestation, a specific dancing technique is developed which enables man to express his feelings and experiences: instead of trying to totalize the world by man's playing being, we deal with man being ghettoized in an artificial playing space. Laban sees the body as a means for producing dance: just as an artist produces a painting, so a ³dancer´ produces an ³artistic movement´ (dance). It is an instrumentalization of the body in which does not pulsate the ³playing impulse´ (Schiller), but the rhythm of life. Laban's dance finds mimetic impulses in life, nature, traditional dances ± which in dancing acquire a spontaneous technical expression. Movement is adapted to ³situations´ that occur in life and becomes their reflexion ± starting from the principle that ³art is a subjective expression of an objective reality´. Playing becomes a playing form of man's integration into a non-playing world. The basic presupposition of Laban's dance is that man directly draws from the life rhythm and unreservedly adapts to it: the rhythm of dance becomes the rhythm of life. Dance is reduced to the technique of movement (bodily-technical expression) by way of which life pulsates in man. It becomes a playing form of the manifestation of the rhythm of life which through the dancing technique is imposed on man. Laban insists on music, in which the rhythm of life is expressed, as the basic means for determining the rhythm of movement. Music does not arouse human feelings, does not direct man to experiencing life and his own (tragic) state in it: it is a technical mediator of rhythm. The development of moving ability does not enrich man's cultural being or one's interpersonal relations; movement is not an expression of the experience of life, nor is it an expression of religious inspiration; it does not express man's authentic affective nature... Dancing does not strive to attain the essence of human being, or to anything (transcendental or utopian) that is beyond the existing world. The abstract ³life rhythm´ becomes a mask for a concrete life rhythm determined by the speed of the reproduction of capital. Just as in Huizinga's conception the ³colourfulness´ of the (idealized) Middle Ages is to compensate for increasingly gloomy everyday life, so in Laban's ³art of movement´ the growing wealth of artistic expressions is to compensate for a life with less and less freedom. The fewer possibilities man have to realize his playing being in his everyday life, the richer the world of play should be. By striving to eliminate the rational, a possibility is created for a ³spontaneous´ bodily expression in which man's position is manifested in the context of capitalist irrationalism. However, it is precisely the playing rules, playing skill, playing space and choreography that pose the rational framework and condition the nature of ³spontaneity´ in playing. Systematism, details, precision and consistency of Laban's conception suggest the extent to which capitalism deprived life of it playing content, and man of his playing being. Play becomes a rational reflexion of the ruling (non-playing) life rhythm. There is an instrumental relation to the
body: it becomes a tool for the ³creation of movement´ and ³performance´. Man does not experience his body as a social being, but as an isolated physicality which through artificial movements develops a ³kinesthetic sense´. ³To experience one's own body´ does not mean to experience oneself in the world and in a relation to it; it is reduced to man's (quasi) narcissistic obsession with his body and to the development of the cult of a ³playing body´. In Laban's theory, historical (cultural) forms of play are primarily seen in a technical, and not in a cultural, context. Speaking of kolo, Maleti says: ³More than holding each other's hand, shoulders or waist, what connects the participants in kolo are a shared motivation to dance and a shared mood aroused by a movement which is conditioned by the same motor and sound rhythm.´ (28) Kolo is a folk organic community which is, by its existential and cultural nature, essentially different from ballet ± which represents the peak of the aristocratic physical culture. What makes kolo beautiful is the life (erotic) and libertarian spirit and, in that context, the cultural heritage expressed in folk costumes and music. As far as Nietzsche's thought is concerned, which is cited by Magazonovi in the beginning of her treatise on dancing, from ³Thus Spoke Zarathustra´: ³In dancing I can speak but of the picture of the most sublime things.´ - we deal here with the copying of aristocratic esthetic patterns by way of a spontaneous bodily movement which makes us ³noble´. Dancing becomes the most direct form of the creation of the aristocratic community as an organic community. Laban's dancing is not grounded in culture. Bodily movement is ³set free´ by being deprived of cultural content and reduced to a technical movement ± and by having lost its class exclusivity and thus becoming a way of drawing people into the spiritual orbit of the ruling order. Hence dancing ± similarly to sport, religion and other phenomena that serve to meet the strategic interests of capitalism ± obtains an evaluativeneutral character and becomes a ³non-political´ phenomenon. Bodily movement is deprived of a symbolic meaning, which exists only in a concrete culture. The ³liberation´ of the movement of cultural content corresponds to the abolishment of man as a social (historical) being and his being reduced to a ³dancer´. Instead of a cultural, we deal with a technical pattern of movements and a space which is part neither of a natural nor of a social environment. The dancing group is not a cultural community of people, but a community of bodies of ³partners´ connected by the dancing technique, above all its rhythm. It is about artificial movements based on an artificially intoned rhythm, which insist on a mechanicistic and geometrical expression. The highest ideal of dancing is a geometrically constructed acrobatics in which man demonstrates the ability of his body to perform motions. There is no ancient techne which involves a skill expressing the wholeness of man as a cosmic, which means political (social), being; the starting point is rather a movement based on modern technique. The development of human powers appears in relation to nature: dancing technique becomes a form of mastering and instrumentalizing natural forces. Thus a jump becomes the ³primordial expression of joy and triumph over a momentary mastering of
gravity´. (29) Freedom appears in relation to nature at the level of physical capacities of a ³dancer´, and not of the creative powers of man as a social being. It is reduced to the development of technical execution of movements ± which occurs under a mystical aureole creating an apparent spiritual escape from the existing world. In this context, the emphasis is on the abundance of physical movements and on the individual choice, and not on the (repressive) form of bodily expression, as is the case in ballet. The ³freedom of the dancer´ becomes the ³freedom´ of surfing on the wave of life the rhythm of which is determined by the dynamics of capitalist reproduction. ³New dance´ becomes a substitution for a new society; ³the liberation of physical and psychical powers´ becomes a substitute for the liberation of man's true playing being; ³freedom in dancing´ becomes a substitute for man's freedom in society... A slave that jumps, runs, dances ± continues to be a slave. In Laban's grammar of movement there is no libertarian movement, nor a movement that expresses man's strivings for new worlds. Fight against injustice is not a ³life situation´ from which springs a motivation for play. Instead of a pursuit of freedom, the emphasis is on the ideal of a ³beautiful dance´ which involves an esthetic pattern based on the miming of the ruling life rhythm (harmony). Each movement appears on a scale of movements and its esthetic value is measured against the standards of acrobatics, and not by the judgment of taste dominant in art. The difficulty of performance, variety and, above all, the dynamics of movement (rhythm) is what creates ³beauty´. Dancing is not the cultivation of man as a natural and social being, but the estheticizing of technical movements in which pulsates the life rhythm of the ruling order. Laban's conception abolishes the conflict between civilization and culture by creating a civilization without culture, whereas cultural heritage, through dancing, is turned into a technique of movement that is to enable man to accommodate to the life rhythm of an anticultural world. The theory of dancing built on the basis of Laban's conception becomes the theoretical foundation of the technique of bodily movement which seeks its verification in the sphere of a dehumanized science and mystique and not in the sphere of culture and critical mind. In that context, the nature of folk and other dances is discussed in technical, and not cultural and libertarian (visionary) terms. Since for Laban dancing is a ³subjective reflection of the objective reality´ while reality is dominated by destruction, dancing inevitably acquires a destructive character and a technical form. In the archaic period man strove to follow the rhythm of natural events (above all, the sunset and sun rising, moon, etc). The same goes for the folk culture which was based on working cycles connected with the seasons. By the development of the religious conscious, the rhythm of life is connected to symbolic events in which the will of gods is recognized. In antiquity, man was ÄGods' toy´ (Plato), while the world was gods' playing ground: the life rhythm was submitted to the cosmic rhythm, which involved the ³holy rhythm´ of the Olympic Games (Olympiads). Christianity has its own calendar that determines the rhythm
of a Christian¶s life and has nothing to do with the natural rhythm. In Rousseau, the origin of the playing disposition is the natural movement. For Romantics, the bodily movement is the expression of the flight of the spirit to new worlds (Schiller, Goethe, Klopstock). In Huizinga, the origin of the playing disposition is the divine spirit which transfers man from ³banality´ into the sphere of (aristocratic) culture. Nietzsche¶s ³eternal recurrence of the same´ (ewige Wiederkunft) is based on the cosmic rhythm of creation and destruction: play is a form of the pulsation of cosmic forces and as such is the transformation of energy into life. For Fink, play is the ³symbol of the world´ in which pulsates the rhythm of becoming and perishing. In Caillois, play is a repressive normative vault, which holds man's ³aggressive´ nature under control. Gadamer insists on the ³to and fro motion´ which is of a mechanicistic character. Coubertin tries, by way of the Olympic Games, to abolish the historical rhythm of the development of the world and impose a ³holy´ four-year Olympic rhythm which corresponds to the progressistic character of the capitalist development and represents the revival of the life force of capitalism: the Olympic Games are a ³festivity of youth´. At the same time, Olympism, as the crown of Comte's positive philosophy, obtains a religious character for the irrational process of destructive capitalist reproduction. As far as sport is concerned, it is an area in which the ruling life rhythm blends into the rhythm of play. Laban tries to integrate man into the existing world by giving him a playing image. Laban's relation to labour is characteristic: ³A number of people, maybe an increasing number, feel that our working life is like our dreams full of symbolic actions, and that it is a special medium, in which those actions find their esthetic expression. That medium is obviously within the area we call dancing and acting.´ (30) Labour, as an activity alienated from man, involves a rhythm of exertion by which man's playing being is being destroyed and he is reduced to a mechanical component of a machine. Laban reduces play to a behaviour with rhythmical character, which means that it is based on the repetition of movements and actions ± regardless of whether it is about the manifestation of man's creative-libertarian nature or about repression. It is a positivist approach which amounts to the ³humanization´ of the existing world by way of a dehumanized rhythm which is, in fact, a manifest form of the pulsation of the existential rhythm of the ruling order. Hence the concept of play is determined at the level of behaviour which is of a formal character: ³preparation, action, respite´ - which can be added to any human activity, including labour where man is reduced to a technical tool, as well as to war and other murderous and destructive activities. Clearly, Laban's determination of play lacks a value-related definition, which means an emancipatory definition. It is a play in formal or technical, but not in human (historical, cultural, libertarian, social) terms. The rhythm of capitalist totalizing of the world is expressed in a dynamic rhythm and a variety of technical forms of movement. Those movements were not developed relative to the destructive tendencies of the development of ³technical civilization´, but relative to the patterns of movements based on the repressive esthetics of a statical
(aristocratic) world, which is ghettoized in the form of the ³oasis of happiness´ (Fink) in which, by way of music and physical motion freedom is to be attained ± freedom which does not exist in society. What remains is the dynamics of movement and an abundance of bodily expressions ± which is appropriate to the development of a ³consumer society´. Play offers a variety of forms of motion which become a vehicle for creating a ³spectacle´, meaning playing consumer goods. The same applies to jogging, fitness-centres, aerobics, etc. All this falls into the category of a commercialized physical activism and as such belongs to the commodities on the increasingly rich market of ³physical activities´. As far as the frequency of sports performances is concerned, it corresponds to the rhythm of the reproduction of capital, which means the rhythm of the destruction of culture and life: the entertainment industry follows the rhythm of capitalist reproduction. The growing discontent requires a growing consumption of the ³negative´ (changeoriented) energy of the oppressed. This is what conditions the frequency of the increasingly bloody and destructive sports spectacles. Dancing movement crushes the historical movement, while ³dancer´ crushes man as a historical being. Playing space symbolizes man's enclosure in the dimension of the present time; dancing movement is a means of creating a ³onedimensional man´ (Marcuse); while the body is a form in which man appears as a given in the world which is a given. The spiritual source of play is not revolution, which implies an aspiration to the creation of a new world, as it was for Schiller, Goethe, Fait, Klopstock ± it is the existing world and the strivings to escape from it. Play does not affirm the libertarian-creative principle, but the principle of escapism, and ultimately, the principle of conformism. There is no vision of the future, and thus of a movement towards new worlds and, in that context, the movement of man towards man. In play, man does not develop all his human potentials which enable him to find a place in the existing world. Playing forms are but a ³subjective reflexion of the objective reality´, and not a relation of man towards the existing world and its overcoming. Laban's imagination pins man down to the existing world. Hence in Laban there are no Klopstock's ³wings on feet´ which express soaring of the spirit towards new worlds. Laban's play mutilates the authentic dancing movement, which is essentially libertarian and visionary. Playing imagination creates ³arabesques´ (Wigman) in an empty space, and not the vision of a future world by way of a visionary movement in an open (natural and social) space. The spirits of the past are evoked (Coubertin, Huizinga) or mystical forces (Laban) which are but a mask hiding the ruling order, in a lifeless space void of the sunlight and warmth, blue skies, moon and stars, fresh air and smells of flowers, murmur of spring, flight of birds and swaying of wheat... In the ³Introduction´ to her work ³Physical Culture as Education and Art´ Magazinovi speaks of a ³cosmic rhythm´ which obtains a metaphysical dimension: ³Overexertion, premature senility and stiffness today are unavoidable consequences of the civilizatory wrenching of man as a biological-social-psychical being out of the universal cosmical principle of rhythm ± the inevitable and
constant alternating succession of contraction and relaxation, spasm and stretching, tautness and loosening, that is, labour and respite ± which all cosmic proceedings and lives are subject to. Tide-ebb, wind-calm, crystalinity-amorphism, inhaling-exhaling, diastole-systole of heart beat, love-birth-death ± all this is more or less a sheer incarnation of the cosmic rhythm, the principle totally opposed to the mechanicistic principle of today's civilization.´ (31) What is a ³civilizatory wrenching´? Is this an abstract power or it refers to concrete historical processes and the governing (capitalist) order in which man lives? Magazinovi uses the term ³mechanicistic approach´ in order to conceal the rhythm of capitalist reproduction which appears in the form of a mechanical rhythm. In cosmos, there is a constant fight, which was pointed out even by Heraclitus (polemos pater panton estin), as well as Nietzsche: cosmos is ruled by the principle of a constant accumulation of force and it is corresponded by the governing principle of monopolist capitalism ³Big fish devours small fish!´ Fight to increase profit is a fight which is carried out without respite. Both in his working and his leisure time man is the tool of the capital for its reproduction. Even man's ³respite´ is an active time for the capital. In Magazinovi , the prevailing logic is linear: phenomena inevitably succeed one another. Play becomes respite from the existing world in the existing world, in a way which does not question that very same world. The dialectic of nature, along with the dialectic of history, is being abolished. The existing world is not the result of a historical development based on a libertarian struggle, it is a given. There is no conflict with the existing world whereby a novum would be generated. Cosmos is ruled by determinism, while man is a libertarian being and thus is a specific cosmic being. What dominates in the human cosmos is a historical time ³measured´ by man's realized freedom. In that context, in Magazinovi , there is no creative rhythm which is of a dialectic character and is based on the rhythm of historical movement. ³Cosmic rhythm´ becomes the abolishment of the historical rhythm and thus the abolishment of man as a social, historical and libertarian-creative being. As far as the original natural rhythm is concerned, the answer that indicates the essence of play can be found in the relation of man towards man, and not in the relation of man towards his body. The original rhythmical impulse does not derive from the inanimate world, nor from the organic (the rhythm of heart, etc), but from the life-creating (procreative) relation between the genders. The so called ³love play´ in animals is the archetype of the relations between the genders. The instinctively constituted rhythm of penetration during sexual intercourse, which is typical of all living beings, represents the foundation of the so called ³natural rhythm´ in man. Breast-feeding of children is of the same character. However, to impose on play the rhythm of life, based on the rhythm of capitalist reproduction with an irrational and nonrhythmical character, means that play does not have to have, and even should not have, a rhythmical character. This is suggested by the view of Louis Horst, ³a long-time musical contributor to American choreographers´: ³The implementation
of irregular rhythms enables the dancer to express more genuinely the conditions of the contemporary life´. (32) Explaining Laban's dancing principles, Magazinovi says: ³Laban based his dancing principles on the theory of fencing (scales of movement A and B) and combat practice, as well as on the practice of historical dances: on the basic five stances and their relation in a three-dimensional space. Space is for Laban the primary aspect of dancing, which in his opinion is the ³flow of spatial relations of bodily movements in their harmonious interchanging´. While I. Duncan approached dancing from the point of view of its expressiveness through movements, and J. Dalcroze from the aspect of the rhythmical connection between dancing and music, Laban, approaching dancing as an artist and architect, in the spatial relation of dancing movements perceived the essence of the dancing art.´ (33) By way of dancing man is excluded from the existing world and encloses himself in an artificial world ± which suggests a similarity between sport and Laban's dancing. Dancing space is an artificial (technical) space. In it, man is outside historical, cultural and thus libertarian time. Space has a suprematic dimension, like Malevich's ³black square´, whereas it does not direct man to face the truth (the tragic), but to an escape from the world. Through physical drill by which his playing nature is mutilated, and thus the possibility of his development as a libertarian-creative being, man acquires a chance to ³freely´ move in the given dancing space ± which appears as a compensation for the lack of free motion in everyday life. Dancing space becomes the ³space of happiness´; a peculiar ghetto which man enters ³voluntarily´ in order to ³enjoy´ the ³freedom of motion´. It is a peculiar dancing box, while dancers are moving dolls whose rhythm of movements is determined by invisible threads of the governing order: dancing is an immediate reflexion of the governing life rhythm. As in antiquity, people are ³playthings of (contemporary) gods´, and world is their playground. Laban has in mind the motion in a (artificial) physical space and in that context a ³subjective´ and ³objective´ space, not a natural or social space. Hence the dominant relations are quantitative (small-big, near-far...). There is no antagonism of man and space, but man becomes the ³master´ of an empty (non-historical, unsocial, artificial, ghettoized) space by ³absorbing´ it with motion. Play is of a compensatory character: man appropriates and shapes space by motion through visions that motion provokes ± as a reaction to a complete alienation in the social (anti-playing) space in which motion is completely determined by the existential spirit of capitalism appearing in the form of a ³technical civilization´ and a technicized (dehumanized and denaturalized) motion. Maleti cites the words of Mary Wigman, ³the greatest European dancer in the first half of the XX century´, from her book ³Dancing Language´, which represent an ³impressive account of experiencing space as a medium of dancing formation and fanticizing in space about space´. Wigman: ³(A dancer) stands with her eyes closed and feels the weight of air on her limbs. A hand is raised hesitantly as if undecidedly feeling and cutting through an invisible spatial body; legs follow: direction has
disappeared. Suddenly, the space behind her grabs her and pulls her backwards along a newly formed path: counter-movement. Dance between high and low, between forward and backward, meetings with oneself, a fight in space for space: dancing; quietly, softly and abruptly, wildly. Suddenly, a flash of cognition. Large, invisible, transparent space of formless waves; rising of the hand transforms it and shapes it. Ornaments appear, great, large, and disappear; elaborated arabesques come by hopping through space. Amids all that ± a leap; broken shapes sizzle with anger; a quick whirl, walls recede. She drops her hands, standing still again, staring at the empty space, at the realm of dancers.´ (34) A dancer in an empty space is the authentic picture of man's position in the world devoid of humanity. Dancing as a directed physical activity creates a psychic state by means of which real visions in space are created (mirages) which are feelings shaped in a dancing way. By physical exercises man brings himself in a peculiar trance in which he loses contact with reality. Dancing movement becomes a meditative activism, similarly to bowing, swaying and uttering prayers. Instead of a conflict, as it is the case in sport, dominates an autistic immersion in oneself. In play, there is no katharsis as the purification of man according to the ancient principle, since it involves ³sin´ (hybris) and ³justice´ (Dike). There is no aspiration to the higher, as was the case in the Hellenic gymnastics (which was based on the principle ³know thyself´ /gnothi seauton/, from whence follow the principles ³measure is the best´ /metron ariston/, ³nothing too much´ /meden agan/ etc.), where shaping of the body was a form of worshipping (surrendering) gods and in that sense a supreme cult (erotic) performance. Man's Self is not determined relative to the transcendental or the idea of future, but remains in the physical and psychic spheres, as a discharge of discontent and escape from nothingness. Dancing comes closest to the ancient ekstasis, but in play there is no spiritual unity with the divine, nor the confrontation of man with his tragic destiny. The tragic indeed exists, but it is tragic in itself: it is experienced, but is not comprehended. In a peasant community, play was a manifestation of the joy of living of a man who lived and existed in a working, erotic, folk, cultural community. Contemporary play is the play of a lonely individual. Instead of developing in man an active, change-oriented relation to the world of non-freedom and a need for people, playing directs him to an autistic obsession with himself, his body, motion... The fanatic focusing on playing is the expression of a fatal, hopeless loneliness. The things man needs he cannot find in other people, but in himself: playing becomes a ³meeting with oneself´. It is the final form of man's alienation from himself as a social being. ³Subjectivism´ is the answer to man's dehumanization in his everyday life: play is a psychic reaction of a lonely man who, by way of dancing, seeks to get rid of everyday suffering. ³Exaltation´ is fed by misery which is piling in man. ³Fascination with play´ is not the affirmation of man's living force, but the blocking of pain imposed on him by life which constantly deprives him of humanity. It is a peculiar trance attained by physical activism which is of a ritual character, and is reduced to auto-hypnosis. It is a state
of ³oblivion´ in which man suppresses his social being and experiences himself through a body motion which creates the feeling of ³freedom´ and ³happiness´: play becomes a spiritual drug which leads man to the border beyond which is pure madness. In Laban's dance the established relations are not between people as libertarian-creative personalities who by way of dancing relate to an inhuman world, but between loyal citizens who appear in the guise of ³partners´ and who, through dancing, demonstrate their unconditional submission to the ruling order. Dancing group is not a homogenous community of emancipated social beings, but a quasi-social community of lonely people. An escape from society to the dancing space is an escape of man from himself as a social being. By way of dancing man as a social being turns into a ³dancer´, which is but one of the roles imposed on him by capitalism, which thus turns him into its plaything. Ultimately, play becomes a playing form of the manifestation of a non-playing world, and ³player´ becomes a ³horse´ on the capitalist merry-go-around. Explaining Laban's views on the relations between ³partners´ in play, Ana Maleti concludes: ³In the microcosmos of here stated activities, an individual experiences situations similar to those in which real life can bring him.´ (35) In Laban, ³real life´ is not an order governed by fight between the plutocratic ³elite´ and submitted working ³masses´; where women struggle for the realization of elementary human and civil rights; where fights are breaking out between those who annihilate life and those who strive to preserve it and create a new world... ³Real life´ is reduced to a capitalistically totalized world, and the playing ³subjectivity´ to an illusion of human subjectivity: play as a ³subjective reflection of the objective reality´ is (self) reflexion of the capitalist order in man, which means a playing form of the manifestation of the ruling order. In Laban, the prevailing principle is not Social Darwinist, as is the case in sport, but a mechanicistic logic: just as branches sway under wind, so does man sway to the ruling rhythm of life, whereas in Laban's theory the whip of capitalism resembles a conductor's baton. Play is not the relation of man to the world and an expression of pursuit of a new world; it is the playing form of man's integration into the existing world. Instead of obtaining a libertarian role, play obtains a therapeutic and compensatory role. At the same time, play becomes a universal means for turning a non-human world into the ³artistic´. It does not offer a possibility of the actualization of man's suppressed playing being, but finds mimetic impulses in the ruling model of motion which is expressed in ³life situations´. Bodily motion is extracted from a social context, in the same way in which ³beautiful art´ has become an area in which ³beauty´ as against an ugly world is concentrated. ³Artistic movement´ becomes a privilege of a special group ³dedicated to play´ and has become a peculiar sect who by demonstrating its play promotes a certain worldview and man's relation to that world. ³Spontaneity´ is of a repressive character as it stops man from freely expressing his own experience of life, and thus from establishing a relation to it from the aspect of his suppressed playing
being. Play does not involve the creation of a new (humane) world, but a reproduction of the existing world. Laban sees dancing as a means for children's education and for directing the behaviour of adults. In her interpretation of Laban, Maleti says: ³Ever since the ancient times people observed that dancing can have two opposing effects: it can excite them and stir their emotions, and it can calm them. (...) This twofold capacity of play was already known to the rulers of old cultures who used it to direct the mood of masses. Those characteristics of dancing were also discovered by modern psychotherapy. (...) This twofold effect of dancing can be well used in the work with healthy children, especially at school. (...) Due to the fact that in dancing man is at the same time a performer and an instrument, this discipline occupies a special place among arts.´ (36) And she continues: ³Lessons in educational dance since the very beginning had two directions. One leads to the activation of pupils' psycho-motor abilities taking into consideration the awareness of movements and feelings that cause or follow our movements, and the other leads to his awareness of the motivation of movement. (...) The initial motivations are most often found in everyday activities. From life, as the starting point, we shall lead our trainees to a poeticizing of motion. The road, indeed, leads from the common to the uncommon, from the everyday to the unusual, from a rational to a dancing movement.´ (37) First of all, to insist on dancing as an educational means disqualifies dancing as play, which in the bourgeois philosophy is determined as a ³purposeless activity´ or as ³purposefulness without a purpose´, particularly because Laban's theory insists on the instrumentalization of the body. At the same time, dancing becomes a ³spontaneous´ drawing of the child into the existing world deprived of a (dialectical) struggle between ³good´ and ³bad´, which means that he is not offered a chance to develop as an independent personality and confront everything that threatens his humanity. Instead of a creative dimension, educating children through play has a therapeutic and prophylactic dimension, ultimately ± an adaptive dimension. Laban's play is not based on man's need of another man, but on ³partnership´ which is based on copying the life rhythm that sucks man into the existing world, and ³regulates´ human relations at the level of the bodily. Playing group is reduced to a community of bodies that follow the same rhythm. Maleti 's view is interesting: ³One of the efficient initial exercises for acquiring the sense of a shared rhythmic pulsation is the one in which the group as a whole rises and lowers in one place.´ (38) Dancing is not only man's confirmation as a social being, which means it is not the creation of a human community in an immediate form, but is reduced to the technique of dancing movements which provoke certain psychic effects. A group physical motion becomes a peculiar hypnotic séance and as such an instrument for crushing a child's personality, depriving it of a readiness to make his/her own decisions, to reflect on his acts, to participate in the creation of a collective ... What is the role of play in directing the behaviour of adults? Here is what Maleti says: ³To develop the sense of belonging to a wider community is a
significant task, to the realization of which educational dancing seeks to contribute by its own means. Those means are included in the very syllabus of the art of movement which touches also that phenomenon. We could almost say that a lack of such education is too often observed in everyday, interpersonal relations. In our streets and public places passers-by push each other, collide or stumble. Similar scenes can be seen in schoolyards and sports halls. The causes of such behaviour are, in our opinion, twofold: lack of a developed sense of space and lack of a sense of people who occupy that space.´ (39) Instead of fighting against social causes of confrontation between people, which means against the ruling order based on the principle bellum omnium contra omnes, the solution is being sought for in the fight with consequences, the very play being based on the ruling rhythm that mutilates humanity. Laban's play is a conformist response to the repression man is submitted to every day. It is a universal means for curing the consequences of capitalism: instead of removing the causes of discontent, man's change-aspiring energy is directed to play that is to destroy the critical mind and sterilize his change-aspiring energy ± integrating him into the existing world both physically (rhythm of movement follows the rhythm of life, harmony as the expression of man's unity with the existing world and the like), and spiritually. Man is not a historical (visionary) being, but is reduced to the (present) given. ³Finding one's own place in society and environment´ (40) is not only the basic principle of a child's socialization, but is the basic principle on which man's whole life should be founded.
Footnotes , , 12.p, , K , 1999. (2) Max Horkheimer, "Nouveaux modeles dans les relations sociales", "Les Cahiers de l¶IRSA", no 2, février 1988, p.23-34. (3) Ernst Bloch, Das Princip Hoffnung,Gesamtausgabe, Band 5, Kapitel 33-42, 524, 525.p. Suhrkamp Edition, Frankfurt am Main, 1977. (4) Max Horkheimer, "Nouveaux modeles dans les relations sociales", "Les Cahiers de l¶IRSA, no 2", février 1988, p.23-34. (5) Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno,Dijalektika prosvjetiteljstva, 11.p. Veselin Masle a-Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 2.izdanje, 1989. (6) Ibid, 155.p. (7) Max Horkheimer, "Nouveaux modeles dans les relations sociales", "Les Cahiers de l¶IRSA", no 2, février 1988, p.23-34. (8) Max Horkheimer,³Die Sehnsucht nach dem ganz Anderen³, Furche-Verlag, Hamburg, 1971, 84.p. Ein Interview mit Kommentar von Helmut Guminior. (1) . .
(9) Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Dijalektika prosvjetiteljstva, 6.p. (10) Ibid, 20, 21.p. (11) Ibid, 21.p. (12) Ibid, 47.p. (13) Ibid, 9.p. (14) Ibid, 39.p. 15) Danko Grli , Estetika III, 43, 44.p. Naprijed, Zagreb, 1974. (16) In : Sreten Petrovi , Umetnost i simboli ke forme, 136.p. Veselin Masle aSvjetlost, Sarajevo,1989. Cursive I. . (17) Compare: Immanuel Kant, Pädagogik, In : Kants Werke, IX Band, 449. 450.p. Walter-de-Gruyter,Berlin,1968. (18) Milan Kangrga, Predgovor, Immanuel Kant, Kritika prakti kog uma, 8.p. Naprijed, Zagreb, Cursive M.K. (19) Ibid, (20) Compare: Carl Diem, Weltgeschichte des Sports, I-II, Cotta Verlag, Stuttgart, 1971; Mangan J.A. and Roberta J.Park (Ed.), From "Fair Sex" to Feminism, Frank Cass, London, 1987.; Ma , , 187.p. , , 1951; Francoise et Serge Laget / Jean-Paul Mazot / Elizabeth Foch, Le grand livre du sport feminin, SIGEFA, Belleville. (21) Ma , , 187.p. , , 1951. (22) In: , , 177.p. Compare : I.D. (23) Ibid, 177.p. (24) Compare: , Ibid, 178.p. (25) Ana Maleti , Pokret i ples, 20.p. Zagreb, 1983. (26) Ibid, 21.p. (27) In: na leti , Pokret i ples, 81.p. (28) Ibid, 176.p. (29) Ibid, 27.p. (30) In : na leti , Pokret i ples, 111.p. (31) , , " ", . 5-6, , 1996, , 189.p. Cursive . . (32) na Maleti , Pokret i ples, 54.p. (33) , , 196.p. (34) In: Ana leti , Pokret i ples, 60, 161.p. (35) Ibid, 73.p. (36) Ibid, 21.p. (37) Ibid, 42.p. Cursive . . (38) Ibid, 177.p. (39) Ibid, 176.p. (40) Ibid, 72.p.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.