Rationalism in Racquetball

Rationalism illustrated: in the movie The Oxford Murders, Elijah Wood's character attempts to master racquetball by writing equations all over the walls of the court calculating possible trajectories for the ball. And the movie shows him as being not too bad at the game as a result.

The fact that anyone thinks this would be a recipe for anything other than complete paralysis on the court illustrates how deeply rationalism has permeated our culture.


  1. In my philosophy of religion class, we were assigned readings of the "DAODEJING", and some choice quotes from the book had me scratching my head. I thought it was complete nonsense - until our professor mentioned the difference between propositional and "acquaintance" type knowledge - or familiarity of X.

    I realized that the Daoists were poking fun at propositional type knowledge as being the "end all, be all" of knowledge in parables such as "Ding the Butcher":

    Duke Wen Hui exclaimed: "Ah! Excellent!
    Your skill has advanced to this level?"
    "[says the butcher] What I follow is Tao,
    The cook puts down the knife and answered:
    Which is beyond all skills."

    What beautiful words. Americans and Westerners would do well to read Daoist philosophy. It has some profound pieces of wisdom in it.

  2. This sounds like a send up. In one of those old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies we learn that Holmes, having never played the game, has mastered chess from reading the rules. (Shades of another thread.) it's an over top " he's so brilliant" thing. Nigel Bruce looks befuddled and we all laugh. But I find it easy to believe they mean it seriously.

  3. I'm not terribly good at pool. Someone once said to me, "but you're an engineer. It's all just impact angles and velocities, right?"

    I'd probably be decent at solving pool problems on paper.


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