Author Topic: The fountainhead of parkour  (Read 2407 times)

Offline Andrei Semenov

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The fountainhead of parkour
« on: February 16, 2009, 11:37:22 AM »
Much like great architecture, awe inspiring paintings, or even harmonious melodies, Parkour's form follows its function.

Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, introduced me to a man wholly dedicated to perfection and utility. Whether you agree with her ideology or not, much can be absorbed from her novel, especially when it comes to a self fulfilling lifestyle, much like the one we (traceurs) lead.

Some backround for those of you who do not know of the novel;
Howard Roark gets kicked out of the top architecture school the day of his graduation, under pressure from the faculty because he refuses to create buildings that mimic renaissance or any other style. His "best friend" however graduates and gets an internships with the top firm in New York. Roark follows his own path, creating buildings for himself, and as he puts it, If clients want to pay for my buildings thats great, but I will not be building for my clients, I'll be building for myself (paraphrased of course). There many more themes and issues in the book but I'd like to touch upon the pursuit of perfection and this unyielding passion for an art.

Much like Roark, many of us continue to perfect our technique, we try to make it our own. Once something has been done, once a spot has been hit, it's no longer a "virgin" we want to pop all the urban cherry's we can. (yes I just made that comparison). However, the main goal of this perfection is not a work onto others, or rather, a display of skill. We do what we do so that we know we can do it.
Some good quotes I grabbed might help illustrate the mindset better:

This one I feel pertains to our freedom and open mindset:
Quote
Why do they always teach us that it's easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It's the hardest thing in the world--to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.

This one...well it fits, I don't know why but it clicks,
Quote
Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.

and finally, nothing to do with philosophy, but I think this fits the whole urban atmosphere

Quote
I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body


some food for thought.

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Offline Xxxe

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2009, 04:11:16 PM »
Very nicely put.
Parkour does have its way of applying to The Fountainhead, more then other forms of "art", I'm just a beginner at PKing but I can see what you mean.
I don't know how I can possibly add to this but I must say at least that I agree.
PKing is all about perfecting a move, till you can get it just right, and everyone has there way of doing it. The moves aren't just for aesthetic feel, it is more then that, it has a function, a purpose and that is similar to Roark's buildings. He sought to bring building to their simplest form because it was what he felt was right.
Parkour isn't easy but its something you feel.
XD Ah, I don't know how to put down the words I want to say, but awsome metaphor there.

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2009, 09:23:08 AM »
Ugh..  No comment.

I think this is a very controversial topic that should be looked at under the same scrutiny by the moderators as religious/political threads just because of the heat associated with the Randist philosophy.
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
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Offline Andrei Semenov

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2009, 10:39:31 PM »
It's a slippery slope but thankfully unlike politics and religion, philosophy requires some knowledge to discuss, limiting the rabble. And I'm not really advocating her philosophy right now :D

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2009, 04:00:20 AM »
She's not even a real philosopher through the proper definition of the term and I consider it more like a cult than anything else, but fair enough.  There needs to be some kind of critical thought involved and it isn't all based on intuition.

I'll play along for a bit.  While it's true that there are some aspects of Randist ideology that can apply to Parkour (and to life), as there are with any ideology, remember that the basic premise of Randist thought is that altruism is evil.  According to Randism, helping others at ANY amount of self-sacrifice is evil unless there is a benefit that outweighs the cost..  I.e. you should never give away help; you can either rent it out or sell it.

On the other side of things, the primary ideology in Parkour, as espoused by David Belle, Raymond Belle, the Yamakasi, and so forth.. and also derived from the primary ideological framework of Georges Hebert and the methode naturelle..  is to be useful and altruistic.  The very purpose of Parkour, as a utilitarian sport, by definition supports the claim that if one is able, one has an obligation and duty to help others.  That is to say that the two defining aspects of both the Randist and Parkour ideologies are in direct contradiction to each other.

Note:  Fully aware that I'm reaching more into Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's essays than The Fountainhead itself.  Sorry.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 04:56:47 AM by Animus »
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
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Offline Andrei Semenov

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2009, 06:48:54 AM »
Ayn Rand did say altruism is evil, but only when demanded, she referred to being forced to help others with self sacrifice. But I think that Rnad should be taken with a grain of salt, one can accept parts of her ideology at the same time ignoring the rest. Well not completely  ignoring but I really like her romantic manifesto, but The Virtue of Selfishness is a little out there.

I mean if it were up to rand we shouldn't be just doing parkour, we should do capitalist parkour and export our talents for money...but that's not going to happen :)

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 12:35:51 PM »
Agreed.  What I mean is that Parkour is predicated on the notion that, as a human being, there is a responsibility to help others, and being strong is one way to ensure that you are able to meet that responsibility.  Rand would completely disagree with that premise (that there is a human obligation toward altruism).
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Offline Zachary Cohn

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 02:57:04 PM »
Oh Ayn Rand...

Offline Mitch Hamilton

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2009, 08:44:21 PM »
Ahem. *attempts create an intelligent british accent*. very well put Animus..

Offline Shamas

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2009, 12:16:55 AM »
Tip Tip Tally-Ho Gents.
Seriously, I don't get the idea behind glorifying man-made idols when the heavens, when compared, would put anything we create to shame.
You can be pseudo intellectual when discussing how Parkour is an art form all you want, but the truth is Parkour needs no intelligent design or complex methods behind it. Parkour is free flowing rhythm and energy used naturally through your body. You are the vessel, the instrument expelling your true expressions through vivid movements. Don't tarnish something so pure with rancid deep thoughts and philosophies that will pick away at it and be debated, argued, and remodified to a social norm.

If I am mislead on where this thread was heading or I am mistaken on what your exact point was, by all means, respectfully explain. I am not one to turn away correction.
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Offline Andrei Semenov

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2009, 11:46:53 PM »
Tip Tip Tally-Ho Gents.
Seriously, I don't get the idea behind glorifying man-made idols when the heavens, when compared, would put anything we create to shame.
You can be pseudo intellectual when discussing how Parkour is an art form all you want, but the truth is Parkour needs no intelligent design or complex methods behind it. Parkour is free flowing rhythm and energy used naturally through your body. You are the vessel, the instrument expelling your true expressions through vivid movements. Don't tarnish something so pure with rancid deep thoughts and philosophies that will pick away at it and be debated, argued, and remodified to a social norm.

If I am mislead on where this thread was heading or I am mistaken on what your exact point was, by all means, respectfully explain. I am not one to turn away correction.

If you think something can just be, someone can just do, without deep though or higher purpose involved, I respectful disagree, if things could just be, if artists would just paint, if authors just wrote...there would be nothing creative, unique. Computers just do, they don't think, man on the other hand has a higher purpose behind everything he does and says. That is the field of philosophy, to interpret those meanings and actions.

Someone does not just Parkour. They have a higher reason to take it up, If it is for show they are boosting their ego for example, whatever your reason for practicing, it is not just as simple as you think.

"Seriously, I don't get the idea behind glorifying man-made idols when the heavens, when compared, would put anything we create to shame." what man-made idols?
Art creates idols, art presents an ideal of man, perhaps Parkour presents man as its ideal, as the end onto himself, as the purest existence of man. Would not by the same logic man be art in accordance to god, if you believe in god, then man is the manifestation of God, and then...get this stretch, if god created art, ie: man, would not man be the ideal, would not god strive to achieve to be man?

Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified?”

Offline Shamas

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2009, 11:06:34 PM »
Not at all in my opinion. For your question of what man-made idols, I was referencing you wonderous monuments such as New York. If you worship what man has made you are mislead by narrow views, evident by the stars alone.
If you want to get into the psuedo intellectual debate about philosophies, man, God, and who created what and for what purpose ... I say you are in the wrong thread. Parkour has meaning to all of us, in many different ways.
No one can speak for a higher power especially if they don't understand the process, beginning, middle, or end. No one knows how we came to be, why, or where we go. So, to humor your theory of God striving to be man I say no. God would have most likely wanted a being with a strong resemblance to his own self as a companion to dwell on achievments, understand creation, and aknowledge pain-suffering-unconditional love-emotion all around. But as for the opposite aspect I believe it is for the purpose of weaning out the perverse natural entities created as nature does when tampered with.
Again I believe that this thread is not the place for a discussion as this one because it is FAR too easy to come off of Parkour and it's meaning to the individual. I liked the comparison you made originally, but I differ with your opinions for the most part I think.
"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
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http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,14576.180.html

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 10:38:06 AM »
The conversation went far too theological, so I'd stop now while you guys are still ahead. ;)
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Offline Shamas

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Re: The fountainhead of parkour
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 11:56:40 AM »
i concur
"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."
-Hunter S. Thompson
▌§▌
Now this is happening!
http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,14576.180.html