When walking, he argues (and to paraphrase) we are in ‘possession of time’: each footfall counts its passing. We can choose to stop, to turn, to slow down at our own pace, to meander and wend, to backtrack and shortcut; within this act of possession things are infinitely freer. Whereas on a train, plane, or in a car, time has captured us, we are at its mercy, carried by it with no control, it dictates our decision to be free; we are not free in this sense.Apologies to Lee for quoting the entirety of his post (but it's very short and my own paraphrastic powers are at an extremely low ebb these days), but I wanted to highlight the freedom associated with this "possession of time". We are so rarely truly in possession of our time, with jobs and commutes and so on. Even when we do have time to ourselves, it is bounded by those demands on our time over which we have little real control. This domination by speed, by time, this unfreedom, affects our very thinking. Some will argue, and do, that this is fine and dandy, a newer, quicker thinking has come into being. I might have made this argument at one point, but these days I find it wanting.
By coincidence, last night I was reading in Kafka's Diaries and came across an entry on Goethe's diaries (would that in Goethe's diaries he were writing about yet another's diaries, but it was not to be). Kafka remarks that Goethe's observations while traveling are different than they would have been in Kafka's day
because made from a mail-coach, and with the slow changes of the region, develop more simply and can be followed much more easily even by one who does not know those parts of the country. A calm, so-to-speak pastoral form of thinking sets in. (translation by Joseph Kresh)I want this, this calm, this quiet, this slowness, space to think, time to work things out. Down with speed!