Home, with Aaron James' 'Surfing With Sartre'

Some people like hanging at home. I am not typically one of these people. For the longest time home represented work, bills, cleaning, cooking for yourself and worst of all, routine. Travel was the complete opposite, everyday something new for the heightened senses to dine out on. Home dulled the senses with its monotony. Even its beauty was often dimmed by jaded eyes.

Now I live in a rainforest, with quick access to some of the NSW North Coast's best point breaks. This plays a part in making home more appealing but surprisingly enough its only a small reason as to why its becoming increasingly hard to tear me away from the homestead.
Most of it has to do with what Philosophy Professor and addicted shred dog, Aaron James, titles leisure capitalism. After facing off against the French lord of existentialism, Jean Paul Sartre, and sticking it to his theory that water skiing is the most supreme of all aquatic pursuits (I know that doesn't sound like a difficult contest to win but he slams it home for surf non the less), James reinforces that surfing provides not only enough reason for being, it also positions surfers as the best suited to adapt to the growing social, economic and environmental needs of the future.
I know what you're thinking, surfers are the worst! Not only do they think they are superior because they ride waves, now they think they are doing some colossal service to humanity through their selfish pursuit. You poor cynical soul. You should lighten up, read this book and go surfing.

Alongside surfers connection to the sublime and tapping into a true flow state, the centre of the thesis revolves around not only the benefits but possibly the dire necessity of scaling back our work weeks in order to save the planet. Funnily enough, work produces a lot of emissions. The more we work, the more we produce, the more we consume, in some kind of race to wealthy Nirvana. Humanity as a whole is the wealthiest its ever been but we keep working like we're struggling to survive. James suggests we strip back. Less hours means more jobs, particularly for the developing nations and if we pursue leisure activities, like, lets just say surfing, we're not thrashing the planet and we'll be freed up to pursue happiness, in whatever form that takes for you.

Look, I know you're probably not convinced. You think this is all a ploy for surf crazed bums to justify their idleness. Yeah, well that's just because you're a slave to the Protestant work ethic and a pawn in a culture of rampant consumerism, man.

This book is a banger for when you've woken up late on one of your many days off, are sitting on the balcony in the sun and contemplating whether or not to hit the waves now or later. Quash any sense of guilt with the sound rational of a surfing philosopher. Alternatively, you might need this even more if you're struggling to find time to read anything within the demands of your forty plus hour work week. Expand your mind suckers!

-Stu McKerihan

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