Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wax On, Wax Off

During my vacation, I watched The Karate Kid with my children. The most famous scene in that movie is probably the one where Mr. Miyagi instructs Daniel to wax a car. Later, he teaches him how to paint a fence; then, to paint a house. Since Daniel had asked Mr. Miyagi to teach him karate, he gets increasingly frustrated, believing he is wasting his time. But then, as the student threatens to quit his "training", the master shows him that the motions he has been repeating over and over by waxing and painting are in fact karate moves.

This of course got me thinking. One thing it reminded me of was Wittgenstein's description of how to teach philosophy at the end of the Tractatus. The teacher should confine himself to the expression of the propositions of natural science (to saying that which can be said) and the identification of nonsense (metaphysical expressions). He points out that the student will probably not feel like he is being taught philosophy, but that it is nonetheless the right method. The other thing it reminded me of is that I'd like to be the Mr. Miyagi of my art. Who doesn't?

No comments: