Freikörperkultur and Classical Nudity
While I do not believe in contemporary ‘nudism’, I have a certain belief in Freikörperkultur, as it is derived from classical Greek concepts of ‘heroic nudity’. More modern nudists appear to have an absence of these concepts of naturalism/health/honesty, in what appears to manifest today as a bunch of hoary hobos hoping to expose themselves to young people at the beach. There tends to be an air about these groups of spoiled, Americanised, swingers who worship values of fey, individualist ‘freedoms’ while throwing frisbees. To the casual observer they do not exude an impression of a warlike phalanx of nude, long-speared Spartans who are nude as a principle of philosophy.
I was once myself dragged by hippies to the nude beach in Vancouver, where they ate mushrooms and felt like they were ‘sticking it to the man’ in their usual insubstantial rebellion-performance. While I did notice a small number of nubile ladies, I found myself mostly assaulted with the tanned balls of what appeared to be various naked homeless guys.
Perhaps a true spirit of Freikörperkultur is more forgiving than I am, but I am pretty sure it should be handled with an environment either of non-sexual athleticism and activity (track and field, stone-ball lifting, javelin, archery, etc) or a quasi-spiritual ritualistic sense. The Greek concept was, after all, ostensibly a non-sexual celebration of ‘total honesty before God’, performed at occasions we might find unusual, such as the Elusinian Mysteries (a religious event) or when going into battle.
Generally speaking, this classical attitude to nudity was at least partially an assurance of health in the population. Today young people laugh at unnecessarily nude Greek and Roman statuary, confused by a culture that held nudity (honesty) so high. But seeing nudity often, and it being expected at certain social occasions, along with an idealist (Platonic) concept of beauty-as-goodness, ensures fitness is held paramount in a society. Greeks often worked out nude at the gym (usually out-of-doors).
Of course this seems quite alien to us now, but in truth this is an ideal. And there is still, among classicists, a notion that in a ‘noble’ or ‘natural’ state, people should generally be either nude (or close to it) or incredibly elaborately dressed.
Freikörperkultur is even more alien a belief in a world where we cover our fat bodies as a sacred rule. And what’s worse, we cover them now in the most slovenly, plastic-fibre, leisure-wear rags imaginable.
1 thought on “Freikörperkultur and Classical Nudity”
An excellent overview on Classical attitudes toward nudity, which I find to be incredibly healthy in both body & mind. FKK culture and particularly the naturism culture in France is very positive; the Dutch also have a similar attitude as their German cousins’ FKK where nudity is the norm in spas, for mixed men & women.