Walking

Ever so often, I wonder how many of these small blog posts will become larger projects, or become incorporated into larger projects. I don’t think it really matters either way, but this post especially is one that while interesting in its own right would obviously be better suited for more elaboration. Many of these posts are just holzwege, interesting but ultimately dead ended paths. I like them though, because they allow for more exploration in thought; rather than following the normal pathways I usually take when thinking critically, paths that are quite established and generally need just upkeep and improvement, the blog (and the notebook) allow one to wander between them, creating “desire paths” of the mind (if you’ve never heard of a desire path: http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/25-everyday-things-you-never-knew-had-names) which might one day become my path of choice. It’s quite similar to walking, which I still like to do despite the recent drop in temperature here in Indiana. One thing I noticed about walking is that it transforms the landscape back into a terrain to be explored and moved through, rather than a simple path to be traveled upon. When driving, there’s a sense (for good reason) that the trajectories of your movement are pre-determined and reasonable. There’s also a radical schism between the road and the objects surrounding them; not just because you can’t drive on the building, but because the degree of identity between the road and “that-which-isn’t-road” is minimal, they are nearly different worlds. What I mean to note is that the division of road and surroundings is not just an effect of our consciousness’ positing of the difference, but because commerce, law and social custom organize the objects which appear in the road/not-road continuum to reflect the fundamental chasm that our cultural world places between path and not-path. The same effect can be seen in any number of situations: the path in a national park which you use to see the nature that stands at a distance, the rational and linear progression of history (of the Capitalist project) which views the rest of the world’s bustlings as undeveloped and misguided. The path, the idea of the path that takes one from point a to point b, is by no means a new or western phenomenon; on the contrary it is present in most cultures in history. The difference that marks our culture’s utilization of the path, however, is that we’ve made the path law, and not just custom. It always seemed bizarre and beautiful to me when I would read, or see in a film, the characters crossing boundaries and stepping off of paths, or not even using paths, in what would today be outlawed as trespassing.

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