Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 6 (3):376-392 (2012)
|Abstract||Several aspects of human life are pervaded with images and symbols that often belong to what Jung (1981) called archetypes, characteristics of the mind with a profound influence on most aspects of culture and sport. The rationality introduced into our society, as the fruit of both the positivist concept of progress and the rapid development of technology, has, albeit while driving out excessiveness due to irrational explanations and often knavery, also disregarded the importance of images and symbols in everyday life. Yet a number of these inevitably still exist, since they are archetypal. With this observation as a starting point, the present work has been designed to analyse whether it is still possible to find ancient images and symbols in modern sport activities. The a priori reason for such a question arises from the acceptance that modern and ancient sports are profoundly different. This has been historically proved in terms of organisation and quantification, among other characteristics (Guttmann 1978). The present analysis refers to a limited number of images and symbols concerning ancient and modern sport, which include a primordial Ur-symbol, that of bodily action or of body in movement. Others concern various aspects of the athlete's life, such as expression of religious beliefs, immortality, eternal return and the front. It suggests that many of these images and symbols may still be found in contemporary sports, in open contrast with some of the Olympic principles suggested by De Coubertin and chiefly prevalent in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries|
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