Forget Gareth Bale and Real Madrid, the biggest unveiling in football this year is Becksistentialism, a new philosophy inspired by David Beckham’s move to Paris.
Described by its creator, Cambridge professor Andy Martin, Becksistentialism is “existentialism, but with a very cool haircut.”
Martin’s concept imagines what would happen if Beckham had been hit by a sudden existentialist crisis after encountering the views of Sartre, Proust and Camus in Paris’ intellectual scene, following his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. The lecture, to be given at Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas, is based on Dr Martin’s blog: "Becks in Paris".
The blog is based on real and fictional events and characters and imagines Beckham forced to puzzle over the meaning of existence as he plays for PSG. In one entry Beckham realises: "A saviour. Yes, that’s what I wanted to be. What I still could be. It is not enough to be a great footballer. I have to go and save the world. To spread the gospel of football."
Dr Martin used a first person blog narrative as a way of testing what would happen if Beckham dived into uncertainty and existentialist ideas when he moved to France. How would he cope with this profound change in his life? “As Becks says in the blog, ‘I must morph or die’. Or, as the existentialists would say: ‘morph and die’”, Dr Martin told Cambridge University.
He finds common ground with the football star: "I found myself identifying with Beckham, having lived myself in Paris in bygone days. As an east Londoner and having once captained a regional amateur team, I always felt if I hadn't got into philosophy I could have been a footballer," he said in an interview with BBC News.
Dr Martin’s lecture is at the on at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas on 26 October, between 11:30am and 1pm, providing it doesn’t go to extra time.