Tuesday, August 29, 2017
If a complete book of surfing's rules could be written, it wouldn't necessarily help unless you could also learn the "know-how" that comes in faithful practice. You could read and understand all of its instructions, grasp them intellectually, and still not know how to put any rule into action. As a new wave situation presents itself, you have to know how to go on in the next moment. To borrow from Ludwig Wittgenstein, the enigmatic early mid-twentieth-century philosopher, if rules were all you had to go by, they couldn't tell you how to "go on" from what came before, even with suggestive coaching. Given only rules, with no further sense of how to apply them to a fresh particular moment, you'd have to look to further rules to tell you which rules to follow and when. But then you'd also need rules for following those rules, and so on, without end, ad infinitum, all the way up. Which is absurd, or impossible, or just not what we do in learning to surf.
-Aaron James, Surfing With Sartre: An Aquatic Inquiry Into A Life Of Meaning