By taking an interest in the body’s work as being work on the body, sport is involved as part of the same continuity which, with the other kinaesthetic apprenticeships that make up the art of living, takes part in one’s humanisation as well as one’s socialisation. In this case, work is understood to be a subliminal process of the human being’s animal instinct, conducted under the control of human beings in order to represent civilising values to them.
Indeed, this was the social aim which led English high schools to launch the practice of sport in the 19th century: it then appeared to be a solution for curbing young boys’ violence and calming their sexuality.
During puberty, human beings naturally succumb to their human animal instinct. The aim is to preserve the species through it’s capacity to procreate. The end result is one’s sexual identity: male, female.
What can sport offer to this life event?
We need to remind ourselves that the word « sport » closely evokes the act of lovemaking., the expression of the life urge. In English, the verb, « disport » and by extension, to sport revives the meaning of the verb to deport which implies the world of joie de vivre (zest for life).
So practising sport appeases the conflicts and fears inherent in this impulsive, ephebic earthquake, channelling the energy towards a deliberate, self’-generated bodily transformation, through caring for oneself. Furthermore, the latter has the advantage of focalising on the locomotive system and the ridged, skeletal muscle: these organs being identical in both sexes and therefore sexually neutral. Long live the sportsperson’s neutral kind of stability! This reminds one of the Greek word athlon, the root of the word athlete; which, being neither masculine nor feminine, condenses both the performance and the recompense.
Thus the mental economy of practising a sport, for a man or for a woman, builds up around a constant dialogue between the masculine pole (the energy transmitter; the yang, power, dash) with its commitment to action and risk taking, and the feminine pole (the energy receiver: the yin, the matrix, the shape) with its endurance. Let us hope that, as with the example of Marie José Pérac, sportive sexual neutrality won’t impede the adolescent process and will not result in sexual, emotional neutrality and its addictive compensation!
Following on from Freud and his work, all facets of human sexuality can be tested and interact in this dialogue: that of the id, fundamental, genital, impulsive. Therefore sport is the domain for the body’s ecological, educational psychology through its ability to isolate, to become aware of the complexity of human sexuality.
It is all the more valuable to defend this natural space where human life can be identified since it is not profitable, so it is useless on any merchant’s trade scale. While Freud brings sexuality to the forefront in understanding the psyche’s functions, he completely upsets the qualitative concept. Yet what he revealed and explained regarding psychic problems ended up by convincing the masses that their malaise (mal-être) was only due to the repression of their sexual desires. It was inferred that, to live well it sufficed to allow them free rein, whence came the so-called sexual revolution. Inevitably, it can be noted that not only does our social-cultural environment, its globalisation, not give humanity the essential, constructive answers they so long for, but also they impose ubiquitous images on us, a lamentable spectacle of a mechanised, perverted, abusive human sexuality. The Italian cyclist, L Pantani or the gymnast, N. Comaneci are just such icons of the sport business. The current world is sick of its sexuality, and therefore of its awareness of being alive. This superior function in the human being is reduced to an obscene, bestial, barbaric reality universally projected onto the broadband screens of our sensory and emotional environment.
In restoring sexual dignity to the human race, sport is The ideal place to combat the ambient confusion between sexuality and genital obsession. Through direct access to sexual awareness, its education and its blossoming, sport takes part in the development of a culture of equality among men and women in society: the diversity and the equality of gender, detached from the economic exploitation of sexual images, will then be able to become instruments of social peace.