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Musings on Soccer by an International Philosophical Team
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2014-07-07 11:14:29
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Socrates playing a soccer game

Soccer fever has reached an all time high at the World Cup in Brazil. Here for the amusement of the Ovi readership are some pertinent quotes on the game by some well known philosophical champions. They make up a first rate international team of eleven players with various views on the ultimate meaning of the game.
No. 1: Albert Camus (Goalkeeper, Racing Universitaire Algerois and Algeria)
“After many years in which the world has afforded me many experiences, what I know most surely in the long run about morality and obligations, I owe to football.”
                                                                                                 From France Football, 1957

No. 2: Simone de Beauvoir (Right back, Paris St. Germain and France)
“The woman who stands forth in the world seeking goals acquires that magnificent possession, the absolute.”
                                                                                                    From “The Second Sex”

No. 3: Jean Baudrillard (Left back, Paris St. Germain and France)
 “Power is only too happy to make football bear a facile responsibility, even to take upon itself the diabolical responsibility for stupefying the masses.”
                                                                       From “In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities”

No. 4: William Shakespeare (Playmaker, Aston Villa and Merrie England)
“Am I so round with you as you with me
That like a football do you spurn me thus?
You spurn me hence and he will spurn me higher
If I last in this service you must case me in leather.”
                                                                                From “The Comedy of Errors”

No. 5: Friedrich Nietzsche (Central defender, F.C. Basel and Germany)
“The formula of my happiness: a yes, a no, a straight line, a goal.”
                                                                                             From “Twilight of the Idols.”

No. 6: Ludwig Wittgenstein (Central defender, Cambridge United and Austria)
“Imagine people amusing themselves in a field by playing with a ball. Throwing the ball aimlessly into the air, chasing one another with the ball. The whole time they are playing and following definite rules. Is there not also the case where we play and make up the rules as we go along?”
                                                                                     From “Philosophical Investigations”

No. 7: Oscar Wilde (Right wing, Bohemians of Dublin and Republic of Ireland)
“Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but it is hardly suitable for delicate boys.”
                                                                                      From the Epigrams of Oscar Wilde

No. 8: Sun Tzu (Midfield general; Forbidden City and China)
“Know the opponent and know yourself; make 100 challenges without hazard. Know not the opponent but know yourself; match each victory with defeat. Know not the opponent and know not yourself; court disaster in every challenge.”
                                                                                                 From “The Art of War”

No. 9: Umberto Eco (Center forward, Bologna and Italy)
“Football is a ritual in which the disinherited expended their combative energy and sense of revolt, practicing spells and enchantments to win from the gods of every possible world the death of the opposing halfback, completely unaware of the establishment, which wanted to keep them in a state of ecstatic enthusiasm, condemned to unreality.”
                                                                                                  From “Foucault’s Pendulum.”

No. 10: Antonio Gramsci (Inside left, Cagliari and Italy)
“Football is a model of individualistic society. It demands initiative, competition and conflict. But it is regulated by the unwritten rule of fair play.”
                                                                                      Avanti!, Aug. 27, 1918

No. 11: Bob Marley (Left wing; Kingstonian F.C. and Jamaica)
“Football is a part of I, keep you out of trouble. Discipline. Mek you run in the morningtime. When you run you clear out your head. The world wake up round you.”


President Barak Obama playing soccer on the global stage

Should readers wish more visual images of a soccer game played by philosophers, statesmen, and wise and not so wise men, they may click on the following you-tube link below:


The two opposing teams are Germany vs. Greece. The Greek team has the following players :


The German team has the following players:


Referees for the philosophers’ game come out in the field

Let the game begin

The game in full swing

Marx is a substitute warming up on the side-lines. Can you guess who is the main referee for this exciting game, and who will score the winning goal for the winning team?

And who ever said that philosophy could not be exciting?

Stay tuned for more on soccer and philosophy in the forthcoming Ovi symposium where another  famed soccer game among contemporary philosophers will be staged and played.  

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