writings: Books: Reviews: "Boldens øjne, værens ben"
When the ball comes:
   about the lifeblood and a common world

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(Below is an unedited Google translation of "Når bolden kommer – om livsundren og en fælles verden En forunderlig økopoetisk rejse om at blive til sammen med verden.", a review by Alexander Carnera of "Boldens øjne, værens ben: Notater langs idrættens spalte(n)de veje" ("Eyes of the Ball, Bones of Being: Notations along the divisive ways of athletics") that appeared in the Norwegian publication Nytid (New Times), Jan. 2, 2019.)

When the ball comes: about the lifeblood and a common world

By Alexander Carnera

Could it be that everyday life contains the source not only for realization but for the deepest wisdom of life?

Several authors and artists have repeatedly pointed this out. But we celebrate, forget it, reject it. Falling back on a world that can be measured, divided, mastered. Maybe because what is closest is also the most difficult thing to grasp? Not only do you need to penetrate a long tradition that has made everyday life and what is happening right in front of us, into an unworthy subject of reflection (science, economy, etc.), but also because one has to step back from the active world to stay full of wonder. So we can actually spot something new in the world. So that the most confidential things, such as a ball coming towards us, appear in a strange and alien way. So, we have to step down to indulge in the open mind that lets things and the world show up when they meet us, it is a ball, a child, a tone, an atom ...

Torben Ulrich, tennis player (Danish champion and 100 Davis Cup matches for DK, highest ranked senior player in the world in 1976), jazz writer for several decades (from the 1940s to the 60s in particular), Tibetan Buddhist, painter, writer, freethinker, add to this self-study in music, philosophy, literature, visual arts, physics, ecology, literature, wisdom thinking, mystery, you name it. What brings it all together? Wonder. Livsundren. To exist. To be alive. To listen to the universe, right here, in the child's play, in the jazz, in the game, while the ball comes. He wanted something more than just a star, a winner.

Life is an endless stream, men's creative transformation is not just about seizing the many opportunities.

Early on he saw something else in the game. A magic, something that is born, something that disappears ... Not just to return the ball, but to be present and understand what is going on in this game right now. A magic. A tennis-playing philosopher. Many are the stories of Ulrich who interrupted his important struggles because other things penetrated, a football match on television, a thought, a desire for music. The clarinet was often in the sports tank. Think about this game, this ball, can say something about creating, about transformation, about being.

Interaction with the world
It starts with the game, with the game and the ball, but it is about finding an interaction with the world. In fact, staying in the conversation universe leads with man, to come to awareness of himself. Maybe another name for God? Thus, Ulrich is in search of a kind of eco-cosmic joint-creating ethics. Not to return the ball to the opponent, but find out what it is for a world we share. Many years of training have been there! And thinking, 30 years, 50 years, 100 years, a whole life ... Never does he possess his object - the game, the ball, the play, the creation - in possession. But revolves around the conditions of its incomprehensibility in order to relate precisely to this, our, ignorance. Not as soon as one thinks that now he must finish writing the game, he returns and tries to reveal it again. He waits and returns. And this patient wait is the great gift of the poetic approach. As in this book where the reader on the left meets a vertical song line (poem) over 108 pages and on the right an essay, a philosophical poetry, also 108 pages. The whole book a sculpture of the time. A publishing genius law.

In the middle …
By staying in the middle, he shows us, with his sound-sensitive words, and his example, that we (man) are no longer the center of what is happening, the creative, the subordinate, the invisible channel between the small and the great. Ulrich shifts focus from man to ball and being. And yet. For in a way it is neither the man, the ball or being there is focus and center, but the event itself, that something happens. That something happens. Because within what happens, there is at once something that escapes, which gives space that opens up. Imperishable transformations. A Chinese life view, perhaps. That things change every moment. What is so hard for us in the West to grasp. Much is at stake in the game. In fact, life itself, that we co-exist with what happens to us. This listening to the world in the game is also the subject of Jørgen Leth's film about Ulrich Motion Picture (1969). When the world gets bigger, it's because I'm not thinking, but the world is thinking in me. We are aware of our entire body. Attentive because we step back from what we know, our empowerment, possession ... and listen again. We come in what Ulrich calls "body awareness ... which is helpful, cautious, peaceful, playful". We discover that we share something that the world wants with us.

To arrive in life
Life is an infinite stream, but the creative transformation is not just about seizing the many opportunities (the big blast today), but the worst thing about arriving at the game, the event, being receptive to what's happening to us. Therefore, this restrained, discreet, eternal circle of abyss, of darkness, of life, of the event, of what we do not understand. Therefore, a book about the game and the transformation must also deal with the difficulty of just communicating this, therefore the repetition, therefore a book about the relationship between language and life. Because what happens is also vanishing…

A cosmopolitan
Ulrich belongs to a generation with Asger Jorn and others who after the Second World War made life an experiment where you go exploring without knowing what you are looking for. The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (one of Ulrich's great inspirations in the book) said that the difficulty for man is to confirm life. It requires courage, curiosity and a receptive attention. It is far easier to regard life as something dangerous, fearful, as one must protect oneself in the courage, such as competition and control, and therefore something one has to manage.

Ulrich has gone the other way away from this winning loser mentality that destroys life on earth, instead of giving us a language for the living and the wondrous. A new thinking across all directions. A cosmopolitan. He grabs us without catching the ball!