Walking changes your perspective
Walking is a prompt for thinking, but it also changes how we think by altering our perspective. It does so by the following:
- Climbing: While one climbs, one uses and develops persistence. This quality is highly valuable when cultivating novel ideas.
- Elevation: Atop a mountain or a hill, one sees things in a bird’s eyeview. One becomes detached to things. This perspective helps us see the connections between details and construct a big picture look at reality.
- Movement: While walking, movement stimulates thinking. The quality of these thoughts are subtly different from thoughts brought about by other thoughts (See Words written outdoors vs indoors).
- Surprise: Secret discoveries or unexpected surprises also changes one’s perspective.
- Time: Walking lengthens time
- Space: Walking deepens space
- Wideness: Walking in a narrow trail is different from walking in a wide open space.
However, I notice that the presence of people along the way while walking has an effect on whether walking changes ones perspective . It seems that solitude heightens these changes as well as the length of the walk and thus of solitude.
Gros, F. (2014). A Philosophy of Walking. Verso.
It is thought born of a movement, an impulse. In it we can feel the body’s elasticity, the rhythm of a dance. It retains and expresses the energy, the springiness of the body. Here is thought about the thing itself, without the scrambling, the fogginess, the barriers, the customs clearances of culture and tradition.
The climbing body demands effort; it is under continuous tension. It is an aid to thought in the pursuit of examination: pushing on a little further, a little higher. It’s important not to weaken, but to mobilize energy to advance, to place the foot firmly and hoist the body slowly, then restore balance. So with thought: an idea to rise to something even more astonishing, unheard-of, new. And then again: it is a matter of gaining altitude.
for thinking one needs a detached outlook, to be at a distance, to have clear air. One needs to be unconstrained to think far. And what then do details, definitions, exactitudes mean? It is the armature of human destiny that one needs to see laid out. From very high up one sees the movement of landscapes, the design of hills.
Many aphorisms are built on these reversals of perspective, these final exclamations where something else is unveiled, the secret of a discovery like a new landscape, and the jubilation that accompanies it.