Surfing with Sartre (book review) Aaron James

An Aquatic Inquiry Into a Life of Meaning


240718: i have never learned to surf or indeed to board of any kind. when we visited the islands was too short, when we lived there we were in school, though of course cousins surfed and there were surfers who came to class very infrequently, but i never got in that subculture, never swam much, never just floated out there waiting for righteous waves...


i may have been too much a serious student but though the beaches were close, so was school, though this study of ways of becoming gracefully integrated with the waves, the ocean, the tropical world in general- makes me wonder what i missed. this is a great, sympathetic, philosophy text that you can probably read ‘cold’, though it is fun to see many classic continental thinkers applied, though it is a different sort of inquiry than the analytics might launch, far from logical arguments and dismissal of this nonsense of play...


there is only one invocation of ‘if and only if’ so i am interested....


there is as promised some Sartre but also Heidegger, Husserl, favorite Merleau-Ponty, though university was close (though somehow i got this at the city library!) so is the next time i go to mom’s hometown of Waimea, Kauai (yearly), and as the author progresses he talks about climate change and rising sea level, even the best rise of a metre dooms the town, if it works out worse that would doom much of islands and city...


but we are here to be in the ‘flow’, we are here to learn how the surfers’ lives can help us, and here is a awareness similar to Buddhist monks in meditation, that ‘doing nothing’ is the way to gather experience of everything, and maybe everyone can surf..



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