Answering Three Ecosophical Questions: Asceticism
What are the implications of the norm on ecosophical joy in my specific sport practice?
How should I, in my sport context, relate to norms for developing skills in width and depth, for playing to win and for applying only ecosophically sound sport technology?
What can be done to promote sport training and competition in closeness to nature?
Endurance sports do not fare well in celebrating the multitude of motor and physical skills that Loland seems to presuppose. They are about diligence, repetition and sticking to a program in order to be able to cover a certain distance or to complete a race. Fostering endurance is a continuum of work in diverse physical states, rather than practicing for a few moments of exhilarating joy. Also Loland acknowledges the benefits of a dedicated training regimen. Longer periods of hard and monotonous work can to some extent be ecosophically justified, Loland reasons, but just as an instrumental means to an end: “Work is acceptable as a means to increased joy and perfection” (p. 80).
Although they may seem fairly dull and repetitive indeed, sports that take a substantial effort are increasingly popular with the sedentary, urban and over-stimulated masses in the search for counterbalance, though. A certain physical constitution obviously is advantageous when it comes to endurance sports. Next to possessing basic health, a somewhat slim body may be helpful as a point of departure for fresh(wo)men in running and cycling. However, perseverance and stamina are far more important when it comes to cultivating staying power—and these ascetic virtues are within reach for most of us. Therefore endurance sports can more easily effect a change for the better than skill and agility demanding elite sports.
Because of this high potential for change, I now (in the tough spirit of endurance sport) will try to answer the three key questions Loland proposes as a guideline for ecosophically good sport. To strengthen my critical assessment of Loland’s sport-ecosophical blueprint, Peter Sloterdijk’s plea for a radical change of our lifestyle by means of a well-understood ‘ascetology’ will be put in position. If properly performed, this general training theory will result in metanoia, a radical personal change of an unsustainable life-style, or at the collective level even in a ‘renaissance’ of durable virtues.
KeywordsEcosophical questions Endurance sports Ascetology Durable virtues
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