Thursday, February 02, 2006

citius altius fortius

Citius. Altius. Fortius.

The words are inscribed on the stones of the main entrance to the original Olympic stadium of the ancient Greeks. They have been adopted by the modern Olympic movement as a sign of continuity with the original Olympic ideals.

Faster. Higher. Farther.

The words call upon athletes to surpass the achievements of the past and aspire to greater performances. They command abandonment of complacency and stupor, and assert a spirit of motivation and ambition. Implicit in their meaning is the need for progression, growth, and improvement. In accordance with the ancient Greek beliefs, this meant not just in athletics, but in all facets of human existence: in body, in mind, and in spirit.

The words are a creed of a species seeking to make something of itself greater than what it is; a creed of the ideal of perfection, and the belief that perfection is possible.

There are those who say that perfection is not possible. That perfection is but a dream. That human existence is a record of weakness and frailty, mistakes and misadventures, indolence and apathy. They point to the long history of human suffering, and mark our nature as one inclined to the basest instincts and worst desires. These are the voices who repeat that human legacy is a nothing more than a funeral pyre to the futility of life.

In some ways, such voices may be right. Perfection may not be possible. Perfection is an ideal, and so by definition may beyond the realistic hope of our species.

But in so many ways, such voices are wrong. We are so much more than the most horrific moments of our history. We are so much more than our worst fears. We are so much more than our weaknesses and frailties, mistakes and misadventures, indolence or apathy.

We are those who say we can be more. We are those who wish to arise from history, and pursue a future of noblest virtues and highest hopes. We are those who insist that human existence can be greater than what it has been, who seek a human legacy that is a guiding beacon to what life can be.

We believe that perfection is possible. We believe that progression is possible. We believe that we can be better than what we are. We believe that even though we may fall short of perfection, that the effort of our labor and the energy of our belief will have carried us far beyond from where we were before, and that will have caused us to transcend life as it is and brought us closer to what life can be.

And we believe that this alone is enough to justify our beliefs, and that this alone is ample reward for all that we have done.

Faster. Higher. Farther.

In body, in mind, in spirit.

Citius. Altius. Fortius.

No comments: