Flaneuristic Rewards

By Lentus Ambulandus, currently strolling aimlessly in Santiago, Chile

In the opening chapter of his book Reflections of a Metaphysical Flâneur, Raymond Tallis supplies an eloquent argument in favour of walking as a catalyst for seeing and thinking. While Escapologists don’t require convincing as to the benefits of walking, a little reinforcement from an alternative perspective never hurts.

…the philosopher’s walk has much to commend it. Like philosophy itself, it has few infrastructure costs, involving neither getting nor spending, apart from a negligible outgoing on shoe leather. Crucially, it has no external purpose; you end up, after all, precisely where you began and nothing visible is achieved on the way…the number of unticked boxes is undiminished, the to-do list is unshortened. The walk does not even have the aim of promoting cardiovascular health…

For we are not talking about power-walking, but strolling, which sits on the happy midpoint between doing something and doing nothing, between generating and discovering a trickle of Elsewhere that moves so slowly that it does not wash away Here.

At its heart is the primordial recreation of looking: the exercise of the fundamental freedom of one who surveys a world from the tor that is his head. You take said head out of the house, along the streets and into the park, for the primary purpose of harvesting qualia, surveying the endless treasure chest of artifacts…

For, while the aim of the peripatetic philosopher may be to untie the seeming insoluble trichobezoars that have grown up in his sedentary mind, the walk may cause him to forget those hairballs, to loosen up into a metaphysical flâneur, distracted by what he sees when he looks purely for the sake of looking. Trees, birds, vehicles, people and houses all offer themselves up to the travelling gaze; and, when the walk is going well, some of these items turn themselves into conversation pieces…

When we walk, we see things that we would not otherwise see, and we think of things we’d otherwise not think about.

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About

Lentus Ambulandus is New Escapologist's Chief Leisure Officer. He advocates doing the things worth doing (hiking, cycling, sipping coffee, reading books), and proudly accomplishes less in a month than most people do in a week. His creed is simple: Death Before Employment.

2 Responses to “Flaneuristic Rewards”

  1. Spoonman says:

    Ahhh, Santiago deeeeeee Chile!

    Glad to hear from you man. Someday we’ll overlap somehow. Right now, I’m enjoying being a Flaneur in, well, Paris.

    Pero la verdad es que me imagino que Santiago es una ciudad increible! Algun dia la voy a ver.

    What’s your very rough itinerary? When will you make it to SE Asia? Or other continents?

  2. L’homme Cuillère! Sur la marche en Paris…

    Santiago is indeed worth the price of admission. It feels like a Spanish city in many ways. Our itinerary is roughly as follows: 1) traipse around South America for six months; 2) decide what to do next. First stop is a long stay in Mendoza, AR, where we will engage in self-imposed fiscal and physical discipline…sort of like when Rocky went to Siberia, except way better.

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