Spies & Sports

I listened to BBC on the radio this morning, and something that has puzzled me since I was a little kid came up again – as it so often does.

One is mainstream culture’s relationship with spies. When spying is done for another country, it is seen as an awful and immoral crime. When it is done for this country, it is seen as heroic. This is one of the most basic and obvious examples of projections, of differing guidelines for appropriate behavior for us vs. them, and of blindness to our own ways of perceiving the world. This also came up a few days ago, at the anniversary for an Oregon man who was shot down over China on a spy mission several decades ago. He was presented as an hero, but the fact that he and his superiors were (undisputedly) international criminals was conveniently not mentioned.

Sports is another area that has puzzled me since I was a kid. The main difference between then and now is that I now am comfortable with my views – I can see that it is as legitimate as any other. It is deeply strange that we see an individual, or a group of individuals, as somehow presenting “us” – even though we just happen to be from the same geographical area and there are no other ties. How can that possibly be? I see twelve (or however many there are) people running around on an artificial meadow kicking a leather ball, but how can they in any way represent or be associated with me – more than the other group of twelve also kicking the leather ball? There are no ties between me and them, apart from the ties that connects me with all life, and I can in no way take any credit or blame for their actions.

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