Andersen, Hendrick Christian [Hrsg.]; Hébrard, Ernest M. [Hrsg.]
Creation of a world centre of communication — Paris, 1913

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development, and every facility be given to promote healthy exercise in all
its various forms. National games could be presented before international
gatherings, a world record could be kept of all progress made and ideals
would be created for the improvement of the race.

Such an international blending of physical culture would undoubtedly
tend towards more harmonious relations and understanding between nations.
Its value to health and high morals as well as the impetus that it would
give to art and general culture can hardly be overestimated. Indeed a
common, permanent meeting-ground seems essential for bringing together
upon a secure scientific basis, all forms of healthy exercise.

It is true that occasional celebrations of Olympic Games are being
increasingly encouraged by the nations. It is also true that this is done at
vast expense. Immense stadia, temporarily constructed for this purpose, like
the great buildings of International Exhibitions, fall into desuetude, and the
records of achievements become scattered. Measurements and casts from
life are not preserved in any such manner as might become of direct use to
the world at large. Moreover, physical development itself is not yet culti-
vated in such a scientific manner as might definitely establish standards of
health and beauty, with a full knowledge of the physiological laws upon
which these so largely depend.

It may not be out of place here briefly to outline the history of physical
development as observed through art and culture.

If we go back to the early ages of despotism, we find man physically
strong, but cruelly and inhumanly treated, entirely dependent on kings and
rulers. The wonderful Assyrian and Egyptian temples stand to-day as sym-
bols of human strength and endurance. We look upon these vast walls,
built of huge blocks of stone that resist the ravages of time and wars, with
sympathy for the great human endeavour and for the silent, downtrodden
slaves and prisoners who, lashed and poorly fed, were forced to give their
lives to construct these almost superhuman conceptions. The testimony
of their subjection to despotic rulers is graven upon these secular walls.
Tall friezes of marvellous sculpture bear record with penetrating clearness to
the vanity of the ruler and the suffering and entire subordination of the
subjects. From the dim, blood-stained ages comes the appealing cry for light
and liberty. A confused understanding of the creation and of the Creator is
manifest in these symbolic sculptures. The spirit of God was barely dawning
in man, and was only vaguely understood by the leaders. Men were obliged
through fear to find the personification of God in the dominating power of
monarchs even as children fear the shadow of some great object, mysterious
in the night.

The history and ambition of these peoples are literally engraven upon
their temple walls with as much naivete and as clear and sharp an outline as
our children's picture books of to-day.
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