Adorno, Late Beethoven and the Modern Athlete
Adorno's essay on late Beethoven is so painfully typical of Adorno's writing, that after two sentences of reading it, the hole in the wall where I had pounded my head into the last time has once again become worn down. Holes asides, I am a massive fan of Adorno's thoughts. This essay is typically difficult to understand though and despite multiple readings, I am still somewhat confused by his exact intentions. However, I personally have taken one particular point very close to heart.
"Process, but not as development,"
This is what Adorno really seems to think the heart of late Beethoven's works are. Everyone seems to think that Beethoven's preemptive thoughts on death, and deafness, were the driving force behind his late works and, while this may be true, art is not mortal. These works, in and of themselves, are not works explicitly on death or suffering. They are a representation of the process Beethoven was going through - creation without an end in development towards a goal... Art that is not for expressivity outwards, but inward, just simply content to be.
The modern athlete can learn a great deal from this concept of "lateness". Process can be part of training, but not strictly within the confines of rigid development. Triathletes are extremely guilty of this sin. They rarely diverge from their TT bikes, well trodden roads, or familiar, soulless routes. Why? All for development. While development is integral to success as an athlete, it is not the whole picture. To turn into a wandering robot being programmed to complete workouts mindlessly, is not true to the internal self, the inner drive, and soul of the human as a being in motion.
Do the process. Do it for the sake of the process. Go run without tracking it with your phone. Go ride on a mountain bike, all downhill. Or don't even. Play some soccer. Or rugby. Or curling. It's all intertwined within the motion of our body. The "late" athlete recognizes that the differences aren't that stark and every motion can be beautiful in and of itself.
I'm not advocating a complete adoption of the "late" style, just the idea of it every once in awhile as a way to look inwards - less as a triathlete and more as human. I'm still developing toward my goals.; I am still in my "early" period. But I acknowledge that one day I will be in the "late" stage. I will have eschewed my demands for development and accepted whatever I have become, and then I will still search for process.