Coubertin Quote for Nov, 08
Above all, Hellenism is the cult of humanity in its present life … make no mistake … it (is) present-day existence that constitutes happiness.

In the summer of 1929 when he was 66, Baron Pierre de Coubertin returned to Paris to give a lecture on “Olympia” in the Town Hall of the 16th arrondissement.  In this wide ranging talk, the Baron  recounted the successes and failures of his Olympic career—his triumphs and disappointments—and he compared the ancient philosophy of Hellenism and that of the world's major religions.  He considered Hellenism’s emphasis on happiness in the present life—the here and now as it is called today—to be one of its greatest distinctions, especially since the dominant western religions of the day emphasized the need for denial and sacrifice in this life in order to find happiness in the afterlife.  The Baron infused his philosophy of Olympism with the tenets of Hellenism, and basically developed a sport-centered form of humanism that seeks happiness and balance in this life through the development of the whole human being.  Here is a longer passage from which today’s quote is compressed.

“Here we are touching on the bedrock on which Hellenic society stood. Let me explain by citing this passage from volume two of my World History: 'Above all, Hellenism is the cult of humanity in its present life and in its state of equilibrium. Let there be no mistake about it, this was a great novelty in the mentality of all people and of all time. In all other places, cults were based on aspirations for a better life, on the notion of recompense and on happiness in the beyond, as well as the fear of punishment for those who had offended the gods. But here, it was present-day existence that constitutes happiness.'”