By Ljubodrag Simonovic *
The philosophy of play does not come to the essence of play departing from music and dance, but from sport and war. It is no accident. Blacking’s view that music is the „humanly organized sound“ indicates that man is not by his nature a „beast“, but a humane being, and that man’s need for another man, on which the motion of man towards another man is based, is the most important characteristic of the human nature. Blacking says on that:„When I watched young Venda developing their bodies, their friendships, and their sensitivity in communal dancing, I could not help regretting the hundreds of afternoons I had wasted on the rugby field and in boxing rings. But then I was brought up not to cooperate, but to compete. Even music was offered more as a competitive than as a shared experience.“ (10) He continues:„In a world in which authoritarian power is maintained by means of superior technique, and the superior technique is supposed to indicate a monopoly of intellect, it is necessary to show that the real sources of technique, of all culture, are to be found in the human body and in cooperative interaction between human bodies.“ (11) Blecking’s conclusion on the significance of interpersonal relations for the developoment of human creativity is of primary importance, and this conclusion was reached while he was studying the music of the South-African tribe Vende: „I am not arguing that particular musical systems are innate, but that some of the processes that generate them may be innate in all men and so species-specific. Similar evidence of creativity may be found in Venda children’s songs, many of which may have been composed by children. Their structures suggest a creative use of features of the musical system which extends beyond techniques that might have been learned in society. I do not see how the deeper, apparently unconscious processes of generation could have been taught or learned in society except through a whole complicated process of relationships between innate potentialities and the realization of these in culture through social interaction.“ (12) „By learning more about the automatic complexity of the human body, we may be able to prove conclusively that all men are born with potentially brilliant intellects, or at least a very high degree of cognitive competence, and that the source of cultural creativity is the consciousness that springs from social cooperation and loving interaction. By discovering precisely how music is created and appreciated in different social and cultural contexts, and perhaps establishing that musicality is a universal, species-specific characteristic, we can show that human beings are even more remarkable than we presently believe them to be – and not just a few human beings, but all human beings – and that the majority of us live far below our potential, because of the oppressive nature of most societies.“ (13)
Music is expelled from sport and bourgeois physical education (physical culture). It is opposed to the strivings to create in sportsmen a ruthless combative (murderous-destructive) character and the appropriate „iron body“. Music arouses emotions, a need for closeness with other people and thus breaks with the fanatical focusing on victory. International sports competitions are regularly opened with military marches, which clearly indicates the truth that sport does not have a „pacifistic“ but a militaristic nature, although in the „consumer society“ it obtained a trivial circus dimension. As far as „competitive dancing“ is concerned, dancing turned into a sports event and thus became a technical dance mutilating man’s erotic being and producing a technical body and movement. The same applies to „rhythmic gymnastics“ and „figure skating“.
In Coubertin’s „utilitarian pedagogy“ music does not serve to „shape the soul“, as in antiquity, but to create a „cultural“ scenery for the Olympic Games as a cult performance and a „solemn“ atmosphere that is to arouse a „religious zeal“ in people, as well as to create a „cultural“ scenery for a muscular combative primitivism. As far as shapening of character is concerned, it is not achieved by mastering an artistic skill nor by developing a musical sense, but exclusively through a combative physical activism and bodily drill which involves suppression and mutilation of impulses, emotions, senses, reason… Trying to deal with everything that can weaken the ruthless conquering and oppressive character of the bourgeoisie and destroy its fanatical mind, Coubertin discards the Dionysian and Orphic, as well as the ancient poiesis. He, like Hitler, does not want „peaceful aestheticians“, but „new people“ characterised by an „iron body“ and the look of a „magnificent beast“. Coubertin tries to take over the political and discard the cultural legacy of ancient aristocratic education.
Sports manifestations are dominated by songs of clubs and supporting groups, which do not come from the cultural heritage, do not express man’s need for another man, do not humanize people… They are the forms in which the discontent of young people, coming from their humiliating social position, is directed against their peers, who appear in the form of rival supporting groups. They cause massive hysteria, vindictive fury, they create the feeling of belonging to a group, which is reduced to a „civilized“ herd, and thus the feeling of „power“. Ultimately, they serve to destroy all those feelings that make man a human being and society a human society. Supporting songs indicate that decultivation is the basic way of turning young people into modern hordes of barbarians: sport „satisfies people’s needs“ by depriving them of humanity.
* Lubodrag Simonovic (72) was a member of the Yugoslav national basketball team, which won the world championship in 1970. Several times he played for the national team along with Sergei and Alexander Belov. He was a participant in the Olympic Games in Munich. In protest against the cover-up of a doping scam with Puerto Rico, he left the Games, after which he was expelled from the national team. The author is a Master of Laws and a Doctor of Philosophy. He has published ten books in the fields of philosophy, sociology and historiography. His texts have been translated into English, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Turkish. He taught at domestic and foreign universities. He is married and has three children and six grandchildren. Simonovic lives in Belgrade.
(1) Compare : Jürgen Habermas, “Soziologische Notizen zum Verhältnis von Arbeit und Freizeit, In : H.Plessner / H.E.Bock / O.Grupe (Hrsg.), Sport und Leibeserziehung, 28-46.p. Piper, München, 1967.
(2) Max Horkheimer, Theodor Аdorno, Dijalektika prosvjetiteljstva, 96.p.
(3) Ibid, 148, 149.p.
(4) Ibid, 170.p.
(5) Pierre de Coubertin, “Pedagogie sportive”, Cursive P.d.C.
(6) Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism, 63, 64.p. Warner Books, New York, 1979.
(7) Ibid, 194, 195.s.
(8) Johan Hojzinga, Jesen srednjeg veka, 106, 107.p. Matica srpska, Novi Sad, 1991. Cursive Lj.S.
(9) Ibid, 71.p.
(10) Blacking John, How Musical is Man?, 44.p. Sixth printing, University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2000.
(11) Ibid, 116.p.
(12) Ibid, 115.p.
(13) Ibid, 115,116.p.