Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

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Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Snesgamer on Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:55 pm

You know, where sports or physical activity were regarded as elements of, not the end-all be-all, of self-perfection?

The ancient Greeks believed that keeping one's body as physically fit as possible was healthy for the mind, which they also encouraged training to its utmost potential.

I have not seen a modern sports system that encouraged a holistic overall picture of health instead of saying "hey - we're jocks! We don't need no brains!"
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Earl on Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:38 am

Welcome to the forum, Snesgamer!  Smile

This forum is relatively new.  It's not even a year old.  So, we always appreciate new members and hope that you will continue to post.

Your question concerning the "Greek ideal" is a good one.  I'll share a few of my own opinions.

First of all, the sports crowd hijacked the "Greek ideal" with pernicious results a long time ago.  The school class called P.E. (short for "Physical Education") was misnamed from the very beginning.  I speak as a 63-year-old man, by the way.

The sports crowd determined what mandatory P.E. would be about.  They seem to have advanced a phony equation; namely, participation in team sports = attainment of physical fitness.  This equation is completely phony.  A sport is a physical contest involving the use of certain physical skills.  It is not an exercise program, which is precisely what sedentary individuals actually need.

For generations the Physical Education establishment demanded that all boys (including nonathletes who had no interest in sports) be forced to participate in team sports in mandatory P.E. classes.  Such an approach failed miserably to promote physical fitness among the nonathletic students.  In fact, there is not a system that would do more to discourage nonathletic kids from becoming physically active.

"Physical Education" . . . do you realize what a joke that is?  In my mandatory P.E. classes (from the fall of 1960 through the fall of 1964), there was no education in "Physical Education" -- not even any instruction in the sports themselves!  I later learned that my experience was not an aberration, but that it was, in fact, the norm all across the country.

And this was the kicker:  There were NO exercise programs, not even bodybuilding.  I mean NONE.  I'm inclined to believe that whoever came up with mandatory P.E. (sometime in the 19th century, I guess) was motivated by malice towards nonathletic boys -- especially quiet, studious ones.  "Do you see that sissy four-eyes sitting over there with his nose stuck in a book?  Who does he think he is?  Does he think he's better than we are? Mad  Let's cut him down to size.  We'll make a man out of him by tearing him down! Twisted Evil "

To get back to what I was saying:  What a sedentary kid needs is an exercise program, one that is best suited for his needs.  (Guess what? scratch  We're not all the same! geek Different individuals have different needs.  Imagine that!)  He DOESN'T need compulsory sports!  There are some physical educators today who are actually genuinely concerned about the physical fitness needs of nonathletic kids and support honest-to-goodness programs that actually help them to get in shape.  I honor and salute those individuals!  But aside from these relatively few reformers, I have no respect for the Physical Education establishment, who for generations were only concerned about the athletic kids.

I know what I'm talking about.  For about five years, I've been working out at a local health club on a bodybuilding program.  Guess what?  I have thrived at my health club, as compared to languishing in misery as I did in useless mandatory "sports only" P.E.  Bodybuilding is a great confidence builder.  It would have benefited many of the nonathletic boys of my generation, but the "Physical Education" establishment in practice did not believe the physical fitness needs of nonathletic boys were important.  Only having a winning football team was important.  So, why did they force nonathletic boys to go through this charade?

There's another factor that has resulted in the perversion of the ancient Greek ideal; and that is the fact that the popular culture of this country has long been infected with anti-intellectualism, going all the way back to Colonial times.  You know the old stereotype of bookish men supposedly being effete wimps.  There is an interesting book that describes this phenomenon:  NERDS: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them, which was written by a psychology professor named David Anderegg.  



I have to say that I haven't actually read this book, but I have read about it.  I haven't read it because I'm sure it would make me mad. Injustice makes me mad, you see.  I already have a chronic sleep disorder; so, I don't need anything else contributing to it.  The book may not be perfect, but I'm sure it has some relevant observations.

These are just my own opinions as to how the ancient Greek ideal has been distorted in modern times.  I certainly have not said the final word; so, I would invite anyone to post further comments.  Please feel free to disagree with me or ask me for a clarification if you have any questions.  Discussion:  That's what this forum is for!  Smile

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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Snesgamer on Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:20 pm

Thanks for the greet, but I was actually a member of the old boards:) 

Yes, it is sad what they have done under the name of "Physical Education". If their real goal was to get kids healthier and to lose weight, they would treat each kid as a unique individual with unique abilities, and grade them based on that instead of forcing them to play a game with kids who hate them for not being as physically capable.

I myself took up karate later on in life, and I am much happier with it than I ever was in the joke of "PE" programs I attended while in school.
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Earl on Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:36 am

I would have posted this evening, but I was busy and ran out of time.  Sorry.  Sad  I'll post tomorrow sometime.  Stay tuned. . . . Smile

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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Skul on Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:15 pm

Snesgamer wrote:Thanks for the greet, but I was actually a member of the old boards:)
I knew I recognised the name! Mr. Green!

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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:18 pm

Snesgamer wrote:You know, where sports or physical activity were regarded as elements of, not the end-all be-all, of self-perfection?

The ancient Greeks believed that keeping one's body as physically fit as possible was healthy for the mind, which they also encouraged training to its utmost potential.

I have not seen a modern sports system that encouraged a holistic overall picture of health instead of saying "hey - we're jocks! We don't need no brains!"
Well, in the old Sports Sucks forum, a had said a few times that sports was invented about 2,500 years ago, by rich old men who smelled bad, and enjoyed having sex with young athletic males and little boys!

Perhaps that was when Greek civilization began it's decline.

Well, actually . . . . . ancient Rome was a sports obsessed culture during it's decline.

Yeah! Free bread and circuses, anyone???

Anyway . . . . . . .

I remember a rather long article I had posted in the old forums about ancient sports. I don't remember if it was the Incas or the Mayans, I'll have to do a Google search for it again.

But, it was a ball game that was based on what ancient astronomers knew about the planetary cycles.

Their culture was obsessed with math and really big numbers, and they had a base 20 number system, and they were able to predict lunar and solar eclipses far into the future, as accurately as astronomers can do today. Amazing, when you considered that they only used an abacus since they didn't have computers.

I wish our culture was more obsessed with mathematics and science.
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Snesgamer on Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:32 pm

Big Fat Heretic wrote:
Snesgamer wrote:You know, where sports or physical activity were regarded as elements of, not the end-all be-all, of self-perfection?

The ancient Greeks believed that keeping one's body as physically fit as possible was healthy for the mind, which they also encouraged training to its utmost potential.

I have not seen a modern sports system that encouraged a holistic overall picture of health instead of saying "hey - we're jocks! We don't need no brains!"
Well, in the old Sports Sucks forum, a had said a few times that sports was invented about 2,500 years ago, by rich old men who smelled bad, and enjoyed having sex with young athletic males and little boys!

Perhaps that was when Greek civilization began it's decline.

Well, actually . . . . . ancient Rome was a sports obsessed culture during it's decline.

Yeah! Free bread and circuses, anyone???

Anyway . . . . . . .

I remember a rather long article I had posted in the old forums about ancient sports. I don't remember if it was the Incas or the Mayans, I'll have to do a Google search for it again.

But, it was a ball game that was based on what ancient astronomers knew about the planetary cycles.

Their culture was obsessed with math and really big numbers, and they had a base 20 number system, and they were able to predict lunar and solar eclipses far into the future, as accurately as astronomers can do today. Amazing, when you considered that they only used an abacus since they didn't have computers.

I wish our culture was more obsessed with mathematics and science.
I admit, I did take a karate class once when I was out of high-school. The dojo emphasized discipline, respect for oneself and others, and tried their best to teach each student according to their abilities (basically, all the elements missing from the near-gang structure of modern "PE" programs).

I didn't stay too long because of workload issues, but what I took from that class was some motivation and I learned a good set of bodyweight exercises I could use to keep myself healthy at home without going to the gym and having to deal with all the sweaty rude jocks.

I do think something is fishy with sports fans, especially the football ones, who are known for routinely ignoring their wives every Sunday to watch leather-clad men hump each other, all the while insisting non-sports fans worship them and consider them "manly".

I never seriously got into science, but it does interest me. Always up for a tidbit of trivia!
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:18 am

Snesgamer wrote:I do think something is fishy with sports fans, especially the football ones, who are known for routinely ignoring their wives every Sunday to watch leather-clad men hump each other, all the while insisting non-sports fans worship them and consider them "manly".
Yeah! When a typical redneck sports fan and his family comes home from church on Sunday afternoons, the very first thing he does is to tell his wife and kids to just shut the fuck up because there's gonna be a football big game on TV.

WOMAN, GET ME A BEER!

Then they all have to be silent, and sit in a corner somewhere, while he swills down that cheap Buckhorn beer that smells like tar-paper torn off a shit-house roof.




Then, he gets drunk on his ass, and then . . . . . if his favorite team loses the big game of the season, he beats up on his wife and kids, rapes his daughter, kicks the cat, screws the pooch, and gives the parakeet and goldfish cause for alarm!

Yeah! Isn't sports just great!!!

NOT!!!
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Mrs. Earl on Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:49 am

While I have found this thread to be very interesting, I do have a question. Didn’t the ancient Greeks used to knock a hole in their city walls to create a new entrance for the winner of The Games? I don’t seem to recall any intellectual contests as being part of The Games. At the risk of offending Big Fat Heretic, I must say: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
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Re: Whatever happened to the "Greek ideal"?

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:34 am

Mrs. Earl wrote:While I have found this thread to be very interesting, I do have a question. Didn’t the ancient Greeks used to knock a hole in their city walls to create a new entrance for the winner of The Games? I don’t seem to recall any intellectual contests as being part of The Games. At the risk of offending Big Fat Heretic, I must say: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and there is nothing new under the sun.”
NAH! I'm not offended!

Actually, I concur, when you say “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

Yeah! Only now, we don't knock great big holes in city walls!

No. Now instead . . . we build new sports arenas, and knock down City Halls!

. . . and science museums, and libraries, and schools, and residential areas, etc. etc.
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