Travel takes many forms and styles –from low-budget to luxury, short-term to no-end, solo wandering to group tours, and little planning to overbooked itinerary.
Meaningful Lostness works best for a vagabonding style of travel that skews toward an open time-frame and low-budget. Rolf Pott’s in his book Vagabonding describes it as such:
“Vagabonding is an attitude—a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life—a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it.”
In an earlier post we explored this idea of Meaningful Lostness, of allowing meaning to emerge within the dynamic tension between Structure and Spontaneity. In this post we will explore some ways to do it. For the sake of using capital letters and grand names, lets call it The Art of Purposeful Wandering.
Below are 5 ways to practice that art.
Why do we build things?
For much of human history we didn’t. Maybe we didn’t have the capacity; maybe we didn’t see the need. Somewhere along the way – most likely a few thousand years after the Agricultural Revolution with the rise of Civilization –people started to surround themselves with architecture.
Archaeologists and historians can get an idea of what the interior life of those who lived long ago might have been based upon the buildings left behind. Nowadays most people around the globe are surrounded by architecture and, likewise, these surroundings can tell us a lot about ourselves.
Alain de Botton expands upon this in his book The Architecture of Happiness. It centers around an insight and an implication:
- Insight: Buildings are psychological molds.
- Implication: We can mold ourselves into better humans through architecture.
A web comic on reasons why you should go to Phu Phra Bat Historical Park in Isan, Thailand. Enjoy.
Delving into esoteric literature can be an overwhelming experience that prematurely sets off bullshit detectors which short-circuit one’s awareness of their own cognitive biases.
Curious enthusiasts (like yours truly) stumbling through this paradoxical maze of arcane terms, odd blabbering’s, and fantastical explanations need some sort of guide.
Johnathon Black’s The Secret History of the World is just such a guide.
This comprehensive narrative weaves together disparate strands of esoteric philosophy into something that lay folk can grok.
Black detours down the alleyways of esoterica, walking through the streets of Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Swedenborg, Egypt and more, to let the reader admire their unique form and structure before merging back onto the main road they all use. Continue reading
Words play an enormous role in nearly everyone’s life. Therefore, the effective use of words through the act of writing and the act of speaking becomes a vital skill to perfect over the course of one’s life.
“Our civilization is unable to do what individuals cannot say” writes John Ralston Saul at the outset of his book A Doubter’s Companion:
“And individuals are unable to say what they cannot think. Even thought can only advance as fast the unknown can be stated through conscious organized language”
So the issue of gradually perfecting one’s use of language is not simply an issue for writers (or aspiring writers), but is one that impacts anyone who relies upon language for communication.
Travel isn’t just about where you go, it’s about how you get there.
Travel involves many types of movement and the movement-choices we make determine, in large part, how moving our travels become.
Hitch-hiking, according to hitchwiki.org, is “a form of transport, in which the traveller tries to get a lift (a ride) from another traveller, usually a car or truck driver, for free.”
On the side of the road with a backpack strapped on, thumbs up and a smile is a thrilling way to move about the world. Continue reading
“Public education does not serve a public” Neil Postman writes in his book The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School , “It creates one.”
And the one it creates, at least in the United States, is one bound by “false gods.” These tiny deities often go unnoticed but that doesn’t mean their effects are unnoticeable.
As the subtitle suggests, purpose is what Postman’s book is all about.
In keeping with the recent theme of long-term thinking and deep-time narratives, the cultural historian William Irwin Thompson (W.I.T.) sketches out a compelling mind-jazz mosaic in his article Natural Drift and the Evolution of Culture.
It provides a model for the Evolution of Consciousness over the past few million years. This is a notoriously tricky endeavor because, as Thompson writes:
“It is one thing to talk of the evolution of the small Ice Age horse shown on the walls of Lascaux to the modern long-legged race horse, but quite another to talk of the evolution of Renaissance perspectival painting into the abstract landscapes of Kandinksy and Pollack.”
Lay-folk like yours truly often need quick-and-comprehensive guides to help navigate the strange maze of modernity. John Naughton’s book What You Really Need To Know About The Internet is an indispensable primer for the aforementioned demographic.
It helps the helpless halfwits (like yours truly) in getting a handle on what the Internet medium is, its place in the larger Media Ecosystem, and its relationship with larger forces (historical, cultural etc.) Continue reading
Ronald Wright in his book A Short History of Progress explores how the progress that allows civilizations to grow often leads them into addictive traps that end in their collapse.
His definition of progress comes from Sidney Pollard who, back in 1968, described it as “the assumption that a pattern of change exists in the history of mankind … that it consists of irreversible changes in one direction only, and that this direction is toward improvement.”
This default assumption, so deeply ingrained in people’s thinking and ability to visualize futures, is an idea that’s only about 300 years old. Despite that, it holds us tight.