The World Series of American Baseball has started. What better way to get your playoff juices flowing than reflect on the sport as a whole with an Eastern Orthodox Theologian? David Bentley Hart offers these profound, philosophical, and slightly ridiculous insights on the game:
What, after all, will the final tally of America’s contribution to civilization be, once the nation has passed away (as, of course, it must)? Which of our inventions will truly endure? We have made substantial contributions to political philosophy, technology, literature, music, the plastic and performing arts, cuisine, and so on. But how much of these can we claim as our native inventions, rather than merely our peculiar variations on older traditions? And how many will persist in a pure form, rather than being subsumed into future developments? Jazz, perhaps, but will it continue on as a living tradition in its own right or simply be remembered as a particular period or phase in the history of Western music, like the Baroque or Romantic?
My hope, when all is said and done, is that we will be remembered chiefly as the people who invented—who devised and thereby also, for the first time, discovered—the perfect game, the very Platonic ideal of organized sport, the “moving image of eternity” in athleticis. I think that would be a grand posterity.
I know there are those who will accuse me of exaggeration when I say this, but, until baseball appeared, humans were a sad and benighted lot, lost in the labyrinth of matter, dimly and achingly aware of something incandescently beautiful and unattainable, something infinitely desirable shining up above in the empyrean of the ideas; but, throughout most of the history of the race, no culture was able to produce more than a shadowy sketch of whatever glorious mystery prompted those nameless longings.
Read the entire article in all its fanfare in the link below.
- A Perfect Game- The Metaphysical Meaning of Baseball (firstthings.com)