Catharsis in the biodromal perspective and with focus on sports and outdoor activities

Miloš Bednář


Background: The old concept of catharsis (purification, purgation) is known from Aristotle, who saw in it both raison d´être of arts, especially of theatre and music, and the special benefit for spectators. Yet our inspiration is also taken from Plato and his dialogue Sophist, where catharsis is used against diseases, deformity, vices and ignorance. Modern inspiration is sought in reality of today sports and outdoor activities. Objectives: Search for manifestation of catharsis in the field of sports and outdoor activities. Determine the place of catharsis in the lives of individuals and societies, using an interdisciplinary approach. Specify the type of movement, demonstrated in catharsis. Methods: Phenomenological approach, analyzing concrete manifestations of catharsis, especially in the field of emotions, morality, medicine and sports practise, helps us to find an invariant of catharsis. The philosophical synthesis needs also to use hermeneutics. Results: A specific emotional “transformer”, for which was created a neologism metapatheia, forming complement to the established concept of metanoia, is seen in catharsis. Today sport, especially its outdoor form, can play specific role of trigger for catharsis. The specific existential movement showing itself within catharsis can enrich the concept of three movements of existence according to the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka. Conclusions: Catharsis ought to be understood not only as an instrument for reduction of tensions of different type, but has potential to play an important bio-hygienic role in our lives and be part of Ars Vitae.


APA Citation

Bednař, M. (2017). Catharsis in the biodromal perspective and with focus on sports and outdoor activities. Journal of Outdoor Activities, 11(2), 9–14.

Additional Information

Date: October 1, 2017