Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kung fu and practice

Intriguing essay by Peimin Ni -- "Kung Fu for Philosophers":
An exemplary person may well have the great charisma to affect others but does not necessarily know how to affect others. In the art of kung fu, there is what Herbert Fingarette calls “the magical,” but “distinctively human” dimension of our practicality, a dimension that “always involves great effects produced effortlessly, marvelously, with an irresistible power that is itself intangible, invisible, unmanifest.”[2]
Consider the protagonist of Blood as one who, having a natural charisma, learns how to affect others.

And, more deeply, consider this philosophical turn, from a metaphysical/epistemological/ontological pursuit of truth, to a more aesthetic pursuit of a kind of beauty -- but beauty in the form of something done well, even a life done well.  Note too the link to speech as act as distinct from communication, referring to Austin's "performative" function of language.

All of which, however, is just a part of the Inversion -- to this Eastern emphasis on the practice of living we need to bring back, reintegrate a Western emphasis on knowledge, but constructed rather than discovered knowledge, and constructed on the basis of practice.


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