The art of losing...
I don't care who wins the World Cup, I'm not interested in competition for competition's sake, I'm interested in the souls of nations and how they manifest in relation to one another in various global forums. The Olympics always feel a bit tepid and white washed to me, political summits are only interesting for the group photos and the faux pas that occur, but the World Cup is visceral. It is by far my favorite international event.
When you put countries as different as Germany and Brazil together something elemental is going to break. We know what happened today, but I'd like you to imagine a different biochemical Brazil in which they were feeling good, inspired, musical.
But first a quick word on stereotyping. A country has a collective aura. It's nuanced and traceable from topography to art to politics to childrearing to the notes in its national anthem. The stereotypes come out of these cultural cues, shallow mirrors.
OK so whereas Germany is a well oiled machine that has striven for generations to extract emotion from process, Brazil is a country that has thrived on blurring the line between passion and action. The danger of living through your heart is that it is the most fickle of muscles. If it doesn't want to play because it is broken, because it's stars are crossed (or in traction), it likely cannot muster the will. The danger of circumventing the heart and perfecting process is the risk of coming off a bit robotic.
The romantic can imagine a different day in which team Brazil, though heartbroken, finds the spark - in the tear of a fan, in the troubles of the country, in a handwritten note from Neymar, wherever. The "music" of the collective, the deep Brazilian rhythm of the team clicks in, blurring the complexities of life into a focused fluid passion expressed in graceful athletic physicality that defies robot logic and wins not through the number of goals but through the transcendent choreography of overcoming the blues.
Of course there's probably more power in witnessing such a crushing loss in a world that's all about winning. So thank you for that Brazil. Sports like Art creates safe experiences that remind the soul of its boundaries.
On a side note, I've been listening to alternating Kraftwerk and Tropicalia tracks back to back as I write this. As much as I want the Brazilian rhythms to move me, I find myself more engaged and emotionally challenged by the Krautrock. I'm sure there's a good explanation for this, but it will have to wait until the next time I remember I have an ancient blog hovering out there in the ethers...