Interview with Ljubodrag Duci Simonović: Sport and Pedagogy

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1. What is the purpose of spectacular sports manifestations such as the World Championship in football?

From a historical point of view, each regime has had its own festivals celebrating its highest values. Sport is the embodiment of the ruling spirit of the capitalist order and thus has a cult character. Hence the importance of the sports stadium. It is a modern pagan temple, where in the form of a „sports competition“ spectacular services to the deities that rule the world are performed. The calendar of the greatest sports competitions has become a pattern determining the course of time – just like the Olympic Games in ancient Greece. Pierre de Coubertin, official „father“ of modern Olympic Games, maintained that sports is the „cult of  the existing world“ and as such the most important means for dealing with the political struggle of „working masses“ and for integrating the „lower races“ into the capitalist order – at the level of slaves. „Sportivization“ of the world has become the most important instrument of „mondialists“ for destroying the emancipatory heritage of the civil society and national cultures and for dragging people into the existential and value orbit of capitalism. Considering the scope of misery and poverty in Africa, it is a sad truth that increasing amounts of money are invested in Africa into stadiums and the development of sports show-business, instead of investing in agriculture, education, waterpipes, health…. Obviously, the black rulers use the same governing mechanisms as their white colonial masters in recent past.

2. How should we direct children regarding their attitude to sports spectacles?

We should help them to develop from early years their creative powers, which means their creative being. A developed artistic being is the best „defence“ against primitive sports spectacles. Schiller’s view that „upbringing through art is upbringing for art“ should be the guiding principle in their upbringing. In sport, we have established upbringing without education, which is one of the most fatal postulates of Coubertin’s „utilitarian pedagogy“. It is no accident that Nazis, particularly Hitler, were delighted with Coubertin and his Olympism.

3. It is not possible to isolate children from their environment. What do you think can be done with respect to that? 

Children cannot be kept under the „glass bell“ of „playgrounds“ and „special schools“. The only answer to the increasingly inhumane world is to develop their humane being and their will to fight for a humane world. Bearing in mind the ever more dramatic destruction of nature, such an answer is not only a cultural and libertarian imperative it used to be at the time of Goethe and Schiller, it has become an existential imperative. Hence the development of young people’s emancipated ecological consciousness is one of the most important tasks of modern pedagogy. Ecologically, sport has fatal consequences for young people. In sport, destructive instrumentalization of the body, involving the development of a self-destructive character and consciousness, has reached its peak. Sport is not only one of the most radical forms of dehumanization, it is also man’s denaturalization. It completely corresponds to the „technical civilization“, which destructs nature and man as a human and natural being. In no other social sphere has the monstruous idea of a „man-robot“ been realized to such an extent as in sport.

4. What makes children decide to engage in sport? 

Money and affirmation in the existing world – these things make sport attractive for young people. Millions of dollars, expensive cars, yachts, „macho“ iconography, attractive girls, spectacular photographies of super-built bodies, spotlights, yelling crowds…. Sportsmen appear on TV as modern „supermen“, attractive to young people who are lost in a world where they see no future. The „grandiosity“ of sports spectacles stands in opposition to everyday misery of the majority of young people. Coubertin was right: sport is the „cheapest spiritual food for proletarian youth, keeping it under control“.

5. What is the role of parents?

Many parents are prepared to mercilesly push their children into the sports arena in the belief that they will get rich, thus making them rich too. Only a small number of children succeed – others fall to the bottom of society. Those who manage to acquire some money lose through that process the most important human qualities  – those which money cannot buy. Self-respect, which is acquired from the development of one’s own creative being and intelligence, cannot be bought, and nor can love and respect.

6. What kind of sports activities do you recommend? 

Children should not engage in sport, they should engage in physical culture. And this means in such physical activities which develop their cultural being, enrich relations between people and cultivize their natural being. Sport is predominantly characterized by movement of man against another man and the absolutized principle of a quantitatively measurable performance expressed in the Olympic maxim citius, altius, fortius (faster, farther, stronger). (Genuine) physical culture is characterized by a movement of man towards another man and the performance which affirms man’s peculiar quality as an independent creative being – as is the case in art. In addition, sport creates an artificial (technical) space intended to enable new records – which are not manifestations of the development of human powers, but of man’s destruction as a human and natural being. In opposition to that, in (genuine) physical culture man seeks a cultivated natural movement – in a cultivated natural environement. As far as human relations are concerned, it is legal and legitimate in sport to inflict serious injuries to one’s „opponent“ and kill him. Likewise, there is a segregation with respect to gender, women being the symbol of „weakness“, who are consequently treated as „lower beings“. Comparing boys to girls is the most offensive thing a coach can say to his boys in order to make them „fight“ in games. The ways in which coaches humiliate and destroy young people are unbelievable…. This, of course, is never talked about in order to keep the „humane“ mask which conceals the truth that sport has become the main spiritual drug depolitizing increasingly dissatisfied young people and ensuring the survival of the ruling order.

 7. Do you know what has happened with physical education in schools? 

Physical education in schools is completely degraded and so is the pedagogical role of the teacher of physical education. This is reflected in the change in the name of the „Faculty for Physical Culture“ into the „Faculty for Sport and Physical Education“. Instead of establishing the much needed critical distance from sport from the aspect of a humanistic physical culture, sport has been idealized, while pedagogy of physical culture serves to glorify sport. As far as the expression „physical education“ is concerned, even a lay man can see that physical exercises do not educate the body, but the man. This was emphasized as long ago as in ancient Hellad, as well as in the philantropic movement which developed in Germany after the French Revolution. Even in the most developed capitalist countries in the West the dominant tendency is to eliminate „physical culture“ from the pedagogical theory and practice and introduce „sports education“, thus dealing finally with the efforts to create space in school for the development of young people’s playing being. At the same time, the so-called „mass physical culture“ of the general public has been abolished by a commercialized physical activism and various „body treatments“ aimed at „healing“ the consequences created by the „consumer society“ – which turned man into a consuming idiot and the body into a container devouring increasingly poisonous surrogates of the capitalist civilization.

 

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