Walking the way
transforming being in transit
In an age in which the distance between states, nations, and continents is often informally measured by the time that it takes to fly from one to another, I will begin with a mode of transit that now seems increasingly and hopelessly quaint, namely, walking. The first part of my essay will be comparative and intercultural in nature, bringing two thinkers from East Asia (the early Daoist Zhuangzi and the great Kamakura Period Zen master Eihei Dōgen) into dialogue with three western thinkers (Thoreau, Muir, and Nietzsche). After working out a complex but mutually illuminating description of walking as a practice of being and thinking, I will then attempt to bring my encomium on peripatetic practice to bear upon our contemporary age of flight. It is not my intent to be a reactionary Luddite. Rather I hope to show how walking illumines both the pitfalls and the ecstatic possibilities of our new "being in transit."
Wirth, J. (2018)., Walking the way: transforming being in transit, in R. Scapp & B. Seitz (eds.), Philosophy, travel, and place, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 87-98.
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