Surfism: The Fluid Foundation of Consciousness
Surfism is a philosophy that views existence in terms that correspond to surfing. Portrayed metaphorically as a breaking wave, the mind emerges from the confluence of spatial and temporal relations. The link between reason and perception is represented by the surfboard responding to the wave as the wave responds to the reef. The relationship between the wave and the reef represents perception, where the mind apprehends its surroundings. The relationship between the surfboard and the wave represents reason, where the mind determines how to engage those surroundings. These spatio-temporal relations provide the structure for a model of the mind, depicting the cognitive processes that influence what we 'make' of reality.
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This book is for the Existential Surfer who wants to ponder how reality is put together moment by moment. If you want to expand your thinking and surfing, sharpen your vocabulary, and bust open your viewing of the world and waves in a theoretical frame that employs the language and images of surfing, then this little book is for you and worth every penny to get a copy. Hanging out with Surfism at your leisure (warning: a little dab at a time will do you, it is potent!) is better than a college course in philosophy and psychology. You may need to look up many of the words that Dan Webber (a lifelong surfer, member of the Australian Webber Surfboards family, and a surfing intellectual) uses in Surfism: The Fluid Foundation of Consciousness. But hey, isn't that just like learning to surf a heavier, faster, more interesting wave where you need to adapt your approach? Dan lays out a usable template for understanding your own mind (especially while it is surfing) by using surfing experience ("metaphors") to describe what is going on.
Think of waves as carrying memories.
Think of your responses to your surfboard and to the changing wave face and reef as your reason.
Think of the surf break as the culture within which your individual psyche develops.
Consider language riding your mind like a surfboard rides a wave.
See your situated presence while riding the wave as a result of how you see the world and how you experience the flow of time.
Dan writes for us surfers, though his concepts will be understood and debated by existential philosophers.
"Since the response of the surfboard is derived simultaneously from the shape of the wave and the shape of the surfboard, their interaction represents a spatio-temporal continuum; the surfboard inducing spatial relations and the wave temporal relations.
"As a representation of the intellect, the penetration and release phases of a manoeuvre are analogous to concentration and contemplation, in the sense that concentration is active, while contemplation is passive."
In Surfism, when designing and riding a surfboard as an extension of the self, the surfer has to decipher the moment in terms of the interaction of spacial and temporal movements using a perception called “synaesthesia", where the surfer blends sight, sound and flow into multi-dimensional perception. A great ride depends on a surfer's synaesthesia. The most successful surfer is one that can evolve mentally with the wave.
Ultimately, as Dan Webber explains, the fluid surfer and individual in the world needs to be able to act decisively moment-to-moment in all circumstances that continually change. The ability to anticipate change underpins the ability to read a changing wave, and to read a life situation.
Do yourself a favor, check out Surfism by Dan Webber. It will expand your mind and your surfing. It did mine.
Pierce Flynn, Ph.D