Main CategoriesMetaphysics and the SupernaturalMetaphysics, Mysticism and Initiation Metaphysics of Ping-Pong, The

Metaphysics of Ping-Pong, The

Product no.: 978-0835609425
When a mortifying defeat to his teenage son rekindles his lifelong passion for table tennis, keen philosopher Guido Mina di Sospiro sets out to learn the game properly.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Guido's love for spinning a feather-weight ball takes him from his local Ping-Pong club, populated by idiosyncratic players with extraordinary stories to tell, to training drills with a world-class coach. This seemingly harmless game also leads him into sticky situations in the CIA headquarters and the ganglands of Washington, D.C.

Woven throughout his Ping-Pong epiphany are philosophical ruminations on Plato and Aristotle, metaphysicians and empiricists, Jung's dark shadow, Sun Tzu's war tactics, the I Ching, and much more. As Guido's journey takes him from Big Sur to a nail-biting showdown in China against a string of elite players, he finds that Ping-Pong can teach us a surprising amount about life.

"The sports metaphor is a tired cliché, right? Well, if that's the case, maybe being a cliché isn't so bad. Actually, sports seem to be growing in rhetorical stature; more so than ever they are used as a microcosm for examining the larger struggles of life.

Possibly the most zany entry into the sport-as-microcosm category is Guido Mina di Sospiro's The Metaphysics of Ping-Pong. 'There are two breeds of Ping-Pong players: empiricists and metaphysicians,' he writes. 'By adopting anti-spin paddles, empiricists declare explicitly who they are and what they stand for. Metaphysicians, on the other hand, are fascinated by the mysteries of spin.' This is the world of TT (table tennis) for di Sospiro. What many Americans see as a basement game, he sees as an embodiment of competing philosophical views. This isn't you versus your little brother; this is Plato versus Aristotle.  

What makes di Sospiros's outlandish claims palatable, even refreshing, is his bizarre way of telling the story. Coming to the sport in middle age, di Sospiro delves into the history of TT—a slow transition toward a sport dominated by spin. As this history unfolds in di Sospiro's telling we also come to know a multicultural world of players who hang around community centers and bonafide Ping-Pong clubs throughout the D.C and L.A. areas. Di Sospiro discusses the Tao with the Chinese players—as he admires their technique. He takes impromptu lessons from a Dominican pro. He contemplates a mind-twisting Sufi parable with a Lebanese stranger. The list of characters he encounters, each imparting a bit more wisdom than the last, leads di Sospiro on a personal journey that will end up forcing him to reconsider past actions and refocus his mission in life.

He is just as likely to quote Sheryl Crow as analyze the work of Carl Jung. Or shout the name of his favorite paddle: Kokutaku Blutenkirsche! When you're done, you just might order a Kokutaku yourself."         ~Publishers Weekly

"Table tennis began as a diversion for the upper class in Victorian England to mimic lawn tennis. Some say that, at first, players used books as rackets, others cigar-box lids with balls made of cork or solid rubber. Later, the rackets became drum battledores. Due to the lack of control, table tennis – or whiff-whaff, Gossima, ping-pong – at this stage was hardly a sport. 1900, however, was a seminal year, as the hollow celluloid ball was introduced. Hardbats became the typical racket – the same bats used by Miller, Schoenberg and Gershwin, among millions of others – and the game remained virtually unaltered for over half a century, dominated by European and American players.

Then, at the 1952 World Championships in Bombay, Asia entered the scene. After training behind closed doors, Japan’s least talented player on the team, bespectacled and unassuming Hiroji Satoh, unveiled his secret weapon: the sponge racket, – a wooden blade covered on both sides in thick foam. It was formidable."

Author Mina di Sospiro, Guido
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 240 pp.
Publisher Quest Books 2015
Browse these categories as well: Metaphysics, Mysticism and Initiation, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology, Self-Help and Relationships, Noteworthy Releases 2015

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