Monday, August 18, 2008

The Olympic Will to Win

Spiritual Truths from Contemporary Life to Build You Up

I was thinking….

Every time the Olympic Games come around, the human heart leaps with ineffable happiness. History and geography coalesce around faster, higher, stronger human beings. We cheer when our own countries do well. We admire those who win from other nations. We marvel at human agility and ability. We sit glued in front of televisions to take it all in—human beings at their finest physical prowess, performing in near mechanical perfection.

On the other hand, we are disappointed when the will to win occasionally overrides a person’s, team’s or nation’s sensibility. Athletes may be encouraged by coach, team-members and even athletic committees to artificially enhance their performance.

If athletes didn’t possess a will to win, they wouldn’t be worth watching. It’s more than a mere wish to win. It’s their will to win that generated the hard work to win over years of training. The will to win must be matched by their work to win, in preparation to win.

However, the will to win at all costs—especially relational and ethical costs—reduces a person to physicalism, even to being regarded as a mechanism.

Aren’t the finest athletes, who get and keep our attention during a record breaking 100 meter dash or 8 gold medals, more than physique or machine? They are really human. But we shall not consider them, and they shall not consider themselves, as gods to be worshipped. Indeed, they are merely human.

What do you think?

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Ramesh Richard

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I was thinking…

You’ve heard about sleep-walking, an often harmless medical condition. I recently heard two stories of sleep-working—a very harmful vocational condition. Actually, it was not working very well.

Sleeping Chinese, originally uploaded by baraka meek.

A surgeon fell asleep while performing surgery and was fired by his hospital for this rather inappropriate behavior! The state has also since suspended his medical license. (Article Here)

The US Air Force released reports about three officers who fell asleep while guarding a classified nuclear launch codes device. The Air Force is taking punitive action. (Article Here)

In the former case, the patient is at risk. In the latter case, the public is endangered.

As far as I know, no one is paid to sleep on his job, though the night watchman at our gated apartment in New Delhi was regularly caught napping at night. He too was let go.

The premise for punishing those who go to sleep when they should be awake and at work is simple. The greater your responsibility (especially for other people), the more alert you ought to be in your job. In fact, staying awake is a moral obligation! Sleepwalking may be permissible; sleepworking is unacceptable.

Are you sleepworking? sleeping when you should be alert? Alert about your self? Aware of others? Are you morally awake? Watching over people? Working to help them? Or, has moral sleep gotten the better of you? I think you should awake from your slumbers or fire yourself from your obligations.

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