The Greeks did not play sports. Our word play is related to the Greek word pais (child), and there was nothing childish about Greek athletics. The Greek word was Agonia, and our modern derivation, agony, hits closer to their mark. From Homeric times, sports were a deadly serious affair. Poets, philosophers and statesmen placed athletic victories above all other human achievements. "There is no greater glory for a man, no matter how long his life than what he achieves with his hands and feet."

So important was victory in Greek sport that the name of the victor provided the basic system of Greek dating. The serious nature of the sport was equaled by its danger. One inscription from a statue erected at Olympia reads simply, "here he died boxing in the stadium having prayed to Zeus for either the crown or death." The most celebrated hero Arrichion won, but died in victory.

The ultimate disgrace in Greek sport was not injury or even death, but defeat.

In the Olympic Games of ancient Greece you cannot just be beaten and then depart, but first of all, you will be disgraced not only before the people of Athens or Sparta or Nicopolis but before the whole world.

Greeks did not honor good losers, only winners. Pindar, the great lyric poet who celebrated Victorious athletes wrote: "as the losers returned to their mothers no laughter sweet brought them pleasure, but they crept along the backstreets avoiding their enemies bitten by misfortune."

If failure was bitter, victory was sweet indeed. Victors received enduring fame and enormous fortune. Most cities granted winners public honors and allowed them to eat at public expense for the rest of their lives.

Greek athletics aggrandize the physical body and world in relation to the human audience to the point where men are willing to die in order to get glory from the world. Losing was regarded as the highest disgrace because gaining the world was seen as the highest glory. Greek athletics treat losers poorly similar to the way we trash our poorly performing celebrities. Modern society gets its sustenance from the contempt we feel towards losers, and likewise draws sustenance from winners (the idols).

Christian values see the world as a corpse. It teaches you to see oneself as superior to the world, it reminds you of the hands and feet in your mind, and to abstain from seeking glory. Christian values honors good losers and teaches you how to lose with grace and to show sympathy for the weak.

Greek culture precedes Christian, and I think Nietzsche must have noticed the relation Greek athletics has to Christian culture. A pure christian would take the spirit of Greek Athletics and direct the passion towards the Christian ideals. The agony of Christianity is not the same agony as Greek Athletics, they are poles apart, but they are united by passion and virility.

Kierkegaard implied that Socrates himself did not embody the spirit of Christianity, but was merely an accidental nuisance, rather than a deliberate disrupter of his cultures morality.

(Civilization in the West, edited by Cosimo De Winter) kierkegaard_nietzsche

Milk and Honey



"I've read hundreds of books about China over the decades. I know the Chinese. I've made a lot of money with the Chinese. I understand the Chinese mind."

"One of the problems when you become successful is that jealousy and envy inevitably follow. There are people-I categorize them as life’s losers-who get their sense of accomplishment and achievement from trying to stop others. As far as I’m concerned, if they had any real ability they wouldn’t be fighting me, they’d be doing something constructive themselves."

"If you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you."

"The emphasis should be on fairness and integrity."

"A tiny leak can sink a ship."

"Strong relationships are the key."

"People must work together for a company to thrive."

"The more predictable the business, the more valuable it is."

"Partnerships must have loyalty and integrity at their core."

"Success comes from failure, not from memorizing the right answers."

"It's next to impossible to build a successful business without relationships."

"Man would like
to be the
object of the
love and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only their aversion and contempt. The
he finds
in him the
most unjust
and criminal
(Blaise Pascal)


Being envious, how can one be free of envy without discipline? I think it is very important to understand the question itself; because the answer is in the question, it is not apart from the question.
Do you know what envy means? You are nice looking, you are finely dressed, or wear a beautiful turban or sari, and I also want to dress like that; but I cannot, so I am envious. I am envious because I want what you have; I want to be different from what I am.
I am envious because I want to be as beautiful as you are; I want to have the fine clothes, the elegant house, the high position that you have. Being dissatisfied with what I am, I want to be like you; but, if I understood my dissatisfaction and its cause, then I would not want to be like you or long for the things that you have. In other words, if once I begin to understand what I am, then I shall never compare myself with another or be envious of anyone. Envy arises because I want to change myself and become like somebody else. But if I say, "Whatever I am, that I want to understand", then envy is gone; then there is no need of discipline, and out of the understanding of what I am comes integration.
The head person of any society, church or religious group who has power over other people is an evil person, because he is controlling, shaping, guiding others without knowing where he himself is going. This is true not only of the big organizations, but of the little societies all over the world. The moment a person is clear, unconfused, he ceases to be a leader and therefore he has no power. It is very important to understand why the human mind demands to have power over others. The parents have power over their children, the wife over the husband, or the husband over the wife. Beginning in the small family, the evil extends until it becomes the tyranny of governments, of political leaders and religious interpreters. And can one live without this hunger for power, without wanting to influence or exploit people, without wanting power for oneself, or for a group or a nation, or for a Master or a saint? All such forms of power are destructive, they bring misery to man. Whereas, to be really kind, to be considerate, to love - this is a strange thing, it has its own timeless effect. Love is its own eternity, and where there is love there is no evil power. Our present education is rotten because it teaches us to love success and not what we are doing. The result has become more important than the action.
You know, it is good to hide your brilliance under a bushel, to be anonymous, to love what you are doing and not to show off. It is good to be kind without a name. That does not make you famous, it does not cause your photograph to appear in the newspapers. Politicians do not come to your door. You are just a creative human being living anonymously, and in that there is richness and great beauty.

(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

"Too much depends on chance. On how the ball bounces. I'm not talking about the game, my child. I'm talking about life. But it's life that the game is all about. Just as I said. Because every game is life. And life is a game. A serious game. Dead serious. But that's what you do with serious things. You do your best. You take what comes. And you run with it. Winning is fun. Sure. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point. Never being satisfied with what you've done is the point. Never letting up is the point. Never letting anyone down is the point. Play to win. Sure.
But lose like a champion."
(John Wooden)