What does it mean to “be a surfer”? Must you actually surf, stand up on a wave, and travel its line? Or to be a surfer, do you just need to sit and contemplate the act of surfing?
As metaphysics is the science of “being”, the two philosophers in the canon of thought that lay the groundwork work for this conceptual division are Plato and Aristotle. Plato, if he were alive today, would certainly argue that mere contemplation of the “good”, or in this scenario the “wave”,
would rank as the ultimate and paramount form of existing as a surfer. Which would mean a 16-year-old surf media devouring, land-locked kid in Nebraska has the same potential to be as stoked as his contemporary growing up on the reef shores of Sunset Point, Oahu. Plato’s student Aristotle would disagree wholeheartedly. For Aristotle, to exist or “be”, one must do, act, and exert change in the physical world. To realize the full potential as a surfer, our 16-year-old in Nebraska must do more than dream. He must pick up, move himself to the beach and participate in the act of surfing. All being said, you may be think, “Easy Easy!, Aristotle’s got this one. Of course, you need to surf to be a “surfer.”
But, how many times or how often in one’s life? Does surfing once, flailing everywhere make a surfer? Or does shredding hard for 20 years, from J-bay to pipeline, then only to find yourself paralyzed after a night of motorbiking in Bali, (never to surf again), make you now a non-surfer? When examined from this angle, Aristotle’s cut and dry perspective’s are now not so clear. So what do you think? Participate in the survey below and check back in a few days for the public perspective and from that of the Academic. Till then be stoked!!