Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Misinterprited Motion?




Is the value of walking only misinterpreting motion?  There is a term, spurious correlation, which describes the effect of two things apparently correlating in motion, when in reality they are not actually connected and the apparent correlation is only chance.  So is walking only a case of spurious correlation?  In Gymnasium for the Mind, Christopher Orlet puts forward the idea that there is a connection between great minds and walking.  For examples he points out that Charles Darwin had a walking path along the boundaries of his property which he traversed daily, and that Henry David Thoreau, a noted poet and philosopher, walked an estimated 250,000 miles in his life time, a feat that is less impressive when you consider that he was born in 1817.  He the points to the early twentieth century and gives a long list of names such as Einstein and Fraud, who were great thinkers, and apparently walkers, of their day.  It is interesting to note that these many men were, in fact, thinkers of the early twentieth century.  This was an age of political, ideological, social, and scientific revolution unparalleled in human history.  This is the age that saw the creation and discovery of atomic energy, jet aircraft, radar technologies, and many others.  It also saw the blossoming of socialism with the birth of Soviet Russia, wide spread proliferation of women’s suffrage, two world wars and the creation of a new world order that would remain in place until the fall of the Soviet Union. These were turbulent times, innovative times, revolutionary times.  Humankind, however, had been walking since it’s dawn, yet such as happened in the first half of the twentieth century has not been happening for all of human history.  Many great minds have been produced over the eons that is true, but were the great because they walked, or did they walk because they were great?  Did walking even play a roll, or was it simple a spurious correlation.

Happy birthday Hegel

It’s the birthday of philosopher Georg Hegel (books by this author), born in Stuttgart (1770). He started out as a theologian, particularly interested in how Christianity is a religion based on opposites: sin and salvation, earth and heaven, finite and infinite. He believed that Jesus had emphasized love as the chief virtue because love can bring about the marriage of opposites. Hegel eventually went beyond theology and began to argue that the subject of philosophy is reality, and he hoped to describe how and why human beings create communities and governments, make war, destroy each other’s societies, and then build themselves up to do it all over again.

He came up with the concept of dialectic, the idea that all human progress is driven by the conflict between opposites, that each political movement is imperfect and so gives rise to a counter movement that takes control — and that is also imperfect — and gives rise to yet another counter movement, and so on to infinity. Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx argued that the most important dialectic of history was between worker and master, rich and poor, and their ideas led to the birth of communism. WA

Philosophy Talk (@philtalkradio)
Synthesize your knowledge of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich #Hegel, born on this day in 1770, with our program from 2006.soundcloud.com/philosophytalk…

Friday, August 26, 2016

Quiz Aug29/30

Peripatetic philosophy (and space-faring, and belief-sharing). PW1-2; Gymnasiums of the Mind 

    1. What has introduced an invasive "sporting spirit" to the child's play of walking?
    2. What does Gros say we escape from, by walking?
    3. According to Gros, “when you are walking, there is only one sort of performance that counts.” What is it?
    4. In Hindu philosophy, what are the four stages on the journey through life?
    5. Whose students and literal followers were known as peripatetics?
    6. Who said he could only meditate when walking?
    7. Who roamed his "Sandwalk" daily with his fox terrier?
    8. How much does the average American walk?

    DQ
  • Do you agree that “modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness?” What's the solution?
  • Walking is not a sport, but it once was. "For several decades in the later nineteenth century, the favorite spectator sport in America was watching people walk in circles inside big buildings." * Comments?
  • We do not belong to those who have ideas only among books," said Nietzsche, "it is our habit to think outdoors." Do you find your own indoor thoughts more bookish, your outdoor thoughts more natural and free? Do we need more practice during class, to notice the difference?
  • Do you find that a long walk (hike, bikeride, or some other personally-functional equivalent) makes you feel more yourself, or less like a self at all? 
  • COMMENT: "As in the 1950s, this is a time when belief is dividing the nation and the world," says Jay Allison about life today. "We are not listening well, not understanding each other -- we are simply disagreeing, or worse."
  • COMMENT: "Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves." Carl Sagan
  • Do you agree with Neil deGrasse Tyson that NASA's budget should be doubled?
  • Post your DQs too, please.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Stars and Philosophy

At the end of our last class session we had a short discussion about the implications of Copernican Astronomy on our lives, out look on life, and our personal philosophy.  My opinion was that it didn't have very much bearing for me.  Yes, we are one tiny speck in a vast universe that may be teaming or almost devoid of life.  Inevitably though that has very little to do with our day to day lives or how we should live or envision the world until such a time when we could reach out to some of the other distant heavenly bodies of our universe and touch them, allowing them to their by have some bearing on us.  The time is undoubtedly still a ways off, but maybe it is closer than we might think.  This BBC article made me readjust my view of things a bit and maybe it will for you.  it talks about the recent discovery of a planet that could potential resemble earth,  discovered in a relatively close piece of the galaxy.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37167390

What's so special about another Earth

Charlottesville, Va. — Yesterday, the European Southern Observatory announced that astronomers have detected a planet the size of Earth orbiting our nearest star, Proxima Centauri. We discover hundreds of “exoplanets” every year, but this one is different: It orbits its star at just the right distance so that, in theory, it’s possible it could sustain life. This detection of a “goldilocks” planet so close to our own marks a significant achievement for exoplanet astronomy, the young field devoted to the search for and study of planets orbiting stars other than our sun.

The European Southern Observatory’s news release explains that Proxima Centauri, unlike the other two stars in its system, is a red dwarf, smaller and cooler than our sun. Although liquid water, that all-important life sustaining substance, might exist on the surface of this planet, its 11-day orbit and strong radiation would create a climate very different from Earth’s. Standing on the surface, one would see not the familiar blue sky; more likely, it would be an alien red.

The astronomers are of course well aware of these dissimilarities. Why, then, do they still insist on categorizing this planet as Earthlike? Some fantasize that “another earth” could be a celestial refuge if we end up destroying our own. Another answer is that detecting a planet like ours capable of hosting life brings us one step closer to answering the ultimate question of whether or not we are alone in the universe — the end of our “cosmic loneliness,” as the science reporter Dennis Overbye wrote in this paper.

But today’s announcement will not readily lead to contact with an intelligent alien. This discovery, more than offering a connection between life-forms, is much more about us connecting with what Earth is, as a place and as our home.

Exoplanet astronomy flourished with the 2009 launch of Kepler, a space telescope dedicated to finding exoplanets. At the time, I was a graduate student at MIT studying the anthropology and history of science, in particular the men and women studying planets as close as Mars and as distant as the exoplanets Kepler was rapidly finding. What drove them? Exoplanets are rather insignificant astronomical objects, but I learned how these scientists transformed planets into places and in so doing have populated the cosmos with hundreds of meaningful worlds.

In this community, the ideal is the Earthlike exoplanet. As an exoplanet graduate student once told me, “In the end, we want to find other Earths. We want to find something similar to us.”

In 2008, a group of astronomers reflected on the philosophical implications of such a discovery, writing that it would tempt us “with wild dreams of flight,” and we would “refocus our energies to hasten the day when our descendants might dare to try to bridge the gulf between two inhabited worlds.” The cover of the current issue of New Scientist offers a beautiful, welcoming artist’s rendering of the newly discovered planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. “We’ve found an Earthlike planet around our nearest star,” the cover asks. “Should we go there?”
Dreams of interstellar journeys or contacting alien life overshadow a less sensational but equally meaningful aspect of this discovery: Amid all of the fantastical configurations in the universe, we most desire to connect with a rather unremarkable ball of rock, ice and gas, for the simple but powerful reason that it reminds us of our home. To even claim the existence of an Earthlike planet is also to claim, rightly or wrongly, that we know and understand our planet. Despite a changing climate and an unsettled population, there is some essence of our planet that we can recognize and point to, saying, “that is us.”
When I spoke with astronomers about methods for detecting Earth’s twin, I was struck that what they were searching for was Earth at its most pristine. One reason the search for an Earthlike planet is so compelling is that it is unexpectedly nostalgic. It propagates an imagination of Earth as an ideal, edenic home. This is a planetary home simpler than the one we grapple with on a daily basis; a home that we might fantasize was the planet of our youth.

Describing how exolanet astronomy connects us to our past, an astronomer described for me why her field matters. “People always want to know where we came from, where we really came from,” she said. “Other planets are a big part of answering that question.”

As they say, you can’t go home again. The discovery of the exoplanet orbiting Proxima Centauri will be closely studied in the coming years. I suspect we’ll find a fascinating world, if starkly different from Earth. That doesn’t make the discovery any less exciting or important. But it does remind us that Earth is special. As we peer deeper and with greater acuity into the universe, we are simultaneously forced to appreciate the complexity of all worlds, including our own. nyt

-Lisa Messeri (@lmesseri), an assistant professor of science, technology and society at the University of Virginia, is the author of “Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quiz Aug24/25

HP Intro

1. What is the chief thing that philosophy can do for us?

2. What originally unpolitical Greek school of philosophy prepared the way for Christianity?

3. What Renaissance philosopher was its most typical exponent?

4. Whose fundamental certainty of his own existence led to "insanity" and a loss of common sense in philosophy?

5. To what two opposite dangers is every community exposed?

You may also reply to classmates' posted quiz questions. Claim a base for each correct answer up to five today (and, up to however many questions appear on my quiz each day).

Discussion Questions (DQ)

  • Russell says philosophy occupies the No Man's Land between science and theology (xiii). Are scientists and theologians not philosophical? Or are they philosophical in a way different from Russell's? Do you like his definition of philosophy? Are you philosophical, by his definition?
  • Is your duty to God more imperative than your duty to the state, to your fellow citizens, or to humanity? xvi
  • Does Copernican astronomy influence your personal philosophy? How? (Or, why not?) xviii
  • Do you acknowledge the authority of any individuals or institutions to interpret the truth for you? WHy or why not? xx
  • Please post YOUR DQs. Each is worth a base.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Introductions

Let's introduce ourselves, Fall 2016 CoPhilosophy collaborators. (I'll tell you in class why I call my version of the Intro course "CoPhilosophy." But maybe you can guess, from the William James quote in the masthead.)

I invite you all to hit "comment" and reply with your own introductions, and (bearing in mind that this is an open site) your answers to two basic questions: Who are you? Why are you here? (in this course, on this campus, in this state, on this planet...)

Our first class meeting will consist mainly of introductions and a heads-up that this is an unconventional course in ways I hope you'll find delightful, instructive, and rewarding. If you don't like to move, breathe, and converse in the open air on "nice" days, this may not be the course for you. But if you don't especially like the conventional lecture-style academic model in which I talk and you scribble silently in your seats, it may be just what you're looking for.

We'll not go over the syllabus or get bogged down in the nuts and bolts of course mechanics on Day #1, there's plenty of time for those details later. But do peruse the blogsite and syllabus (linked in the right margin) before next class and let me know what's unclear. Meanwhile, read your classmates' intros and post your own.

I'm Dr. Oliver, aka (despite my best efforts to discourage it) "Dr. Phil." I live in Nashville with my wife, Younger Daughter (a HS Senior), a dog (Angel) and a cat (Zeus). Older Daughter is a college Senior in another state.

My office is in James Union Building 300. Office hours are Mondays thru Thursdays 3-4 pm, & by appointment. On nice days office hours will probably be outside, possibly in front of the library (in the "Confucius" alcove, if it's available) or at another designated location. I answer emails during office hours, but not on weekends. Surest way to get a quick response:come in or call during office hours.

I've been at MTSU since the early '00s, teaching philosophy courses on diverse subjects including atheism, childhood, happiness, the environment, the future, and bioethics.

My Ph.D. is from Vanderbilt. I'm originally from Missouri, near St. Louis. I was indoctrinated as a Cardinals fan in early childhood, so I understand something about religious zeal. My undergrad degree is from Mizzou, in Columbia MO. (I wish my schools weren't in the SEC-I don't approve of major collegiate sports culture or football brain injuries, as I'm sure to tell you again.)

My philosophical expertise, such as it is, centers on the American philosophical tradition ofWilliam James and John Dewey. A former student once asked me to respond to aquestionnaire, if you're curious you can learn more about me there.

What you most need to know about me, though, is that I'm a peripatetic and will encourage you all to join me in that philosophical lifestyle as often as possible during discussion time. (If you're not sure what peripatetic means, scan the right sidebar or read the syllabus or ask me. Or look it up.)

I post my thoughts regularly to my blogs Up@dawn and Delight Springs, among others, and to Twitter (@osopher), and am continuing to experiment with podcasting as a classroom tool this semester. Follow me if you want to.

But of course, as Brian Cohen said, you don't have to follow anyone. (Extra credit if you get that reference... and real extra credit if you realize that my "extra credit" is usually rhetorical.) However, if a blog or podcast link turns up with the daily quiz (which will always be posted on this site no later than the night before class), you might find it helpful to read or listen.

Enough about me. Who are you? (Where are you from, where have you been, what do you like, who do you want to become,...?) Why are you here? (On Earth, in Tennessee, at MTSU, in philosophy class)? Hit "comments" below and post your introduction, then read your classmates'... and bear in mind that this is an open site. The world can read it. (The world's probably busy with other stuff, of course - Drumpf and Kardashians and cooking shows and other examples of what passes for "reality" these days.)

Please include your section number in your reply, and in all future posts on this site:
  • H1-TTh 11:20-12:45, H118. 
  • H2-TTh 1-2:25, H118. 
  • H3-MW 12:40-2:05, H117.




0:01
 
From a distance, philosophy seems weird, irrelevant, boring...
0:06
 
and yet also – just a little – intriguing.
0:08
 
But what are philosophers really for?
0:11
 
The answer is, handily, already contained in the word philosophy itself.
0:16
 
In Ancient Greek, philo means love and sophia means wisdom.
0:20
 
Philosophers are people devoted to wisdom.
0:23
 
Being wise means attempting to live and die well.
0:26
 
In their pursuit of wisdom, philosophers have developed a very
0:29
 
specific skill-set. They have, over the centuries, become experts in
0:34
 
many of the things that make people not very wise. Five stand out:
0:43
 
There are lots of big questions around: What is the meaning of life?
0:46
 
What's a job for? How should society be arranged?
0:49
 
Most of us entertain them every now and then, but we despair of trying
0:52
 
to answer them. They have the status of jokes. We call them
0:56
 
'pretentious'. But they matter deeply because only with sound answers
1:00
 
to them can we direct our energies meaningfully.
1:04
 
Philosophers are people unafraid of asking questions. They have, over
1:07
 
the centuries, asked the very largest. They realise that these
1:11
 
questions can always be broken down into more manageable chunks and
1:14
 
that the only really pretentious thing is to think one is above
1:17
 
raising big naive-sounding enquiries.
1:23
 
Public opinion – or what gets called ‘common sense’ – is sensible and
1:27
 
reasonable in countless areas. It’s what you hear about from friends
1:30
 
and neighbours, the stuff you take in without even thinking about it.
1:33
 
But common sense is also often full of daftness and error.
1:38
 
Philosophy gets us to submit all aspects of common sense to reason.
1:42
 
It wants us to think for ourselves. Is it really true what people say
1:46
 
about love, money, children, travel, work? Philosophers are interested
1:50
 
in asking whether an idea is logical – rather than simply assuming it
1:54
 
must be right because it is popular and long-established.
2:00
 
We’re not very good at knowing what goes on in our own minds.
2:03
 
Someone we meet is very annoying, but we can’t pin down what the issue is.
2:07
 
Or we lose our temper, but can’t readily tell what we’re so cross about.
2:11
 
We lack insight into our own satisfactions and dislikes.
2:14
 
That’s why we need to examine our own minds. Philosophy is committed
2:18
 
to self-knowledge – and its central precept – articulated by the
2:22
 
earliest, greatest philosopher, Socrates – is just two words long:
2:26
 
Know yourself.
2:30
 
We’re not very good at making ourselves happy. We overrate the power
2:34
 
of some things to improve our lives – and underrate others.
2:37
 
We make the wrong choices because, guided by advertising and false glamour,
2:41
 
we keep on imagining that a particular kind of holiday, or car, or computer
2:45
 
will make a bigger difference than it can.
2:48
 
At the same time, we underestimate the contribution of other things –
2:51
 
like going for a walk - which may have little prestige but can

2:54
 
contribute deeply to the character of existence.

2:58
 
Philosophers seek to be wise by getting more precise about the

3:00
 
activities and attitudes that really can help our lives to go better.
3:08
 
Philosophers are good at keeping a sense of what really matters and what doesn't.
3:12
 
On hearing the news that he’d lost all his possessions in a shipwreck,
3:15
 
the Stoic philosopher Zeno simply said:
3:17
 
‘Fortune commands me to be a less encumbered philosopher.’
3:21
 
It’s responses like these that have made the very term ‘philosophical’
3:25
 
a byword for calm, long-term thinking and strength-of-mind,
3:29
 
in short, for perspective.
3:31
 
The wisdom of philosophy is – in modern times – mostly delivered in
3:35
 
the form of books. But in the past, philosophers sat in market squares
3:39
 
and discussed their ideas with shopkeepers or went into government
3:42
 
offices and palaces to give advice. It wasn’t abnormal to have a
3:45
 
philosopher on the payroll. Philosophy was thought of as a normal,
3:49
 
basic activity – rather than as an unusual, esoteric, optional extra.
3:54
 
Nowadays, it’s not so much that we overtly deny this thought but we
3:58
 
just don’t have the right institutions set up to promulgate wisdom
4:02
 
coherently in the world. In the future, though, when the value of
 
philosophy* is a little clearer, we can expect to meet more
4:09
 
philosophers in daily life. They won’t be locked up, living mainly in
4:12
 
university departments, because the points at which our unwisdom bites
4:16
 
– and messes up our lives – are multiple and urgently need attention -

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"For Love of Country"

Today's convocation speaker at MTSU, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, talking about this year's freshman summer read For Love of Country. Our veterans can teach us a great deal about citizenship, heroism, and sacrifice, as noted at last month's convention.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Until we meet again


"Idler Academy"

Thanks, MALA Summer '16 Strollers, it was a delightful summer's stroll. "Be well, do good work, keep in touch," health and happy trails to you all. Let me know if you have any suggestions, & if you want to go strolling in England next summer. The "American Philosophy, British Roots" study abroad course is on track for July 2017. It's gonna be a great experience, and three credit hours... and as our travel agent says, in light of recent events, a great bargain! "The exchange rate is obviously quite good right now... great time to go – good value for money."Au revoir! jpo
==
Postscript, Aug.12. Frederic Gros is wrong, walking is a sport - in the Olympics. It was on just this morning. This pace is probably not conducive to philosophical reflection, though. 3 mph is still better for that.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Pokémon No

I went for a walk the other day and didn’t bring my phone. I am trying to wean myself off Pokémon Go so I travel to the Stone River Nation Battlefield and walk among the trees and limestone rocks and think about the people who died and what that may have been like. I also think, un-wantonly, about all the Pokémon that I am not seeing amongst the trees and rocks. I force it from my mind as I walk early in the morning to avoid the heat. Instead I think of the peripatetic philosophers that make walking their life. Especially the Cynics. Upon first discovering the Cynics and their view on hardship. It reminds me of the Buddha and hi desire to rid himself of all material possessions in order to have more tranquility, more peace. Diogenes watching a child scoop up water with his hands only to proclaim that he had been outdone, tossing his wooden makeshift cup aside. Now that he had one less thing to lose, one less thing to carry.

One less burden...

I am often burdened by the things that I have, as well as the things that I do not have. Perhaps more by the things that I don’t have. AS I walk I think of the Native Americans or perhaps my own distant relatives the Scottish Picts. How even into the English Enlightenment they lived like nomadic “savages”, herding sheep and living off the land in a subsistence lifestyle. I recall reading that during the developing of the United States, many of the English that moved to America where trying to build farms and shops in order to establish themselves financially. During this exact same time the Native Americans and Scots and Scots/Irish that settled in the Appalachian mountain range were still living subsistence lifestyles. Having no need nor desire to build wealth, but to live simply and simply be left alone.

I continue walking along the path. I see no one and am seen by no one. The animals chatter in exited tones about the trespasser in their midst. I don’t need anything while I walk. I carry nothing. This time not even my phone. I remember before I had a phone. I remember before anyone had a cell phone. They existed then, back in the early 1990’s. My father had one and no one knew what it was and assumed he was talking to himself. Now I find myself addicted to it, Pokémon Go only exacerbated this issue.


I come into the final stretch of the battlefield. It’s the worst part of the circuit. It is a road with nothing alongside of it except the occasional tall grass. Is this similar to not possessing anything? Do I not now possess less visual landscape? It’s a confusing situation that find myself in quite often.

Walking

I was going to make a post about A Universal Theory of Science and Religion as provided by Herman's book. It ended up looking like this, 

    "Origenally" I had mentioned that there must be two types of knowledge. Since, this book is almost the same density of the Bible that might be why my subconscious mind perceived it as reading religiously, which after about 600 pages of reading, I guess it actually was read as such. However, there is a lot of discussion about Christianity and Ontology, “or the existence of God” in this book. Chapter 2 is “The Soul of Reason”, Chapter 3 is “The Mind of God”, Chapter 10 is “Christ is Come: Plato and Christianity”, 19 “Secrets of the Heavens: Plato, Galileo, and the New Science”, and 25 is “The Scale of Nature: Darwin, Evolution, and Aristotle’s God”.So, my initial impression wasn’t too far off from reality.
Rereading my posts, I came across the question I derived from the book about, “Would a God necessarily have to be a “supreme geometer,” (95) committed to an ordered and rational creation? What if the creator had a preference for disunity and a messy creation? This was from Euclid’s Elements, and then there is the Timaues that says that God’s creation plan was outlined by utilizing strips of “soul stuff” organized by a musical scale of (4:4:2:1), and laid them crosswise into a +. God then bent the two lines at right angles and this created the heavens. Then there is Newton’s theory that God is between the comets."
    Then, I sat indoors of Starbucks and wrote some more, but upon returning home to continue working on this document, my computer started to act weird and now I can't access Miscrosoft Word. So, given my new understanding and reading's of philosophy and walking, I decided that I would in fact, go for a walk. On my walk, I tried to imagine what I would write for this post. "do I want to make it complex or simple" I said to myself. As i'm sitting down, I think i'll describe my thoughts while walking, in praise of the newfound coping skill.

    I parked my car, set my two feet down on the asphalt at Stones River Battlefield. I changed into some ore comfortable shoes and began placing one foot in front of the other. I was reminded of the feeling of being grounded to the earth as I felt my feet spring up from the cushion of my shoes. I was reminded of the thought of dominating nature as I walked. Suddenly mother nature became the subject to be viewed.
    I began to slowly feel myself adapt into nature in a sort of transcendental fashion, something I have constantly been thinking about this semester. I had written a poem when I was younger, that I am always reminded of when i'm in nature. Being slightly musically inclined and playing instruments since I was young, (my step-father's dad was actually the guitarist for Kenny Rogers) I would always imagine the wind blowing through the trees as a sort culmination of notes, as if mother nature was blowing through a reed. The complex, and softening rustle of the leaves made me think mother nature was singing a song, albeit a faint whisper. Today though, there was a storm rolling into town, so mother nature spoke a little bit louder than usual. 

    As I walked, I felt my mind moving quicker than my feet, but as the journey continued the two became syncopated. I realized just how fast pace of a society that we live in. That even trying to walk as slowly as possible is arduous. Almost as tough as running. Our minds and body are constantly forced to perform under pressure and at a heightened pace. 
    Intermittently during this walk, the "existential dread" as I like to call it, kicked in. I would feel myself plagued with insecurity and self-doubt. "Did I really mean what I told that person today about what I wanted to do with my life, do I really know?" My next foot struck the pavement. I slowly blocked the thought out of mind and was reminded of my path. In the same way that one chooses a direction to walk with ones feet, so does someone choose to navigate with their life. Life paths. The asphalt road turned into a forest trail, rocks, roots, and the like were encompassing my environment. I suddenly became a little bit more aware of myself, since I needed to think about what was in the woods. A squirrel quickly scurried up a tree. I felt a new sense of confidence as I looked up at the branches and leaves. My head held high, muscle memory set in, my feet on autopilot. As I approached the final stretch of my walk, my eyes fixated on a guy on a bike, trying to keep him focused in my vision as he went further an further down the trail in front of me, a fellow park-goer, a runner greeted me. My eyes went back to the biker. There was so much thought in that simple moment though. Too much to be able to type. 
    In summation, I have walked away from this class with more than just a new comprehensive knowledge of philosophers and an increased reading and analytic ability. I have been able to learn a new way to think, to interact with the world, and a new way to Philosophize. 

Stroll to Remeber pt 2


            “It is our habit to think outdoors – walking, leaping, climbing, dancing, preferably on lonely mountains or near the sea where even the trails became thoughtful a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science( Philosophy of Walking).”

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! These numbers entered into my life with a whole new meaning at the age of 11. Each number not only represented the tempo of the routine but also a dance movement. It was exciting spending hours and hours rehearsing and choreographing numerous dance routines. Each count and dance movement added fuel to my heart’s desire while releasing my passion for performing arts. It should come as no surprise that the two topics that stand out me in Nietzsche’s quote are walking and dancing.

Walking and dancing correlate in so many ways. According to Webster the word walk means to move at a regular and fairly slow pace by lifting and settling down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once. Dance means to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps. The common thread between dance and walking is the concept of picking up one feet and sitting it down rhythmically. Since moving to Tennessee I’ve been working for a non-profit organization, Moves & Grooves, Inc. where we infuse a perfect blend of education and dance. This summer I was brought on as a dance teacher. In my role as a Dance Teacher I used my talents to inspire elementary through middle school students to create for themselves, discover, learn and grow through the arts.  They learned Salsa, Caribbean, Hip-Hop, Bollywood and African. My favorite memory to date was watching the students perform at their Summer Showcase that was held a few weeks ago. What a freeing experience! “The freedom in walking lies in not being anymore for walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life (Philosophy of Walking.)"

Even though the rhythm of dancing is faster than walking I like how Gros explains in chapter one that walking releases a suspensive freedom. “You chose to leave the office behind, go out, stroll around, think about other things. With a longer excursion of several days, the process of self-liberation is accentuated: you escape the constraints of work, throw off the yoke of routine (Philosophy of Walking).” This stood out to me because dancing does that for me! When I dance it’s a way for me to escape the stresses of life. It’s a time for me not to be a student, a teacher, a daughter, a friend but Angel. A time for me to be selfish and get to know myself better as I experience different challenges.

When dance is not available to me I also enjoying walking to have me time. Mood doesn’t matter when it comes to walking. I’ve walked when I’m mad and happy. Gros makes a statement that in order to make progress when walking anger is needed. I disagree that anger is needed to make progression; however, it can be an outlet for anger. I took into consideration of all the happy walks that I’ve encountered so far. I wrote about this in a previous post.

At first glance I was in agreement with the statement “Anger is needed to leave, to walk" but after taking some time to think about it I disagree. I like to think of myself as an optimist so I almost, ALWAYS, find a positive outlook on situations. I agree that walking can be an outlet for anger. It’s common to hear people say “I went for a walk to blow some steam or even to clear my head.” Walking could actually deescalate a hostile situation. Chapter 5 mentioned how Rousseau wasn’t walking to escape the world and horrors. Walking could be used for this purpose. When my kids have a conflict with one another I make them take a walk before we sit down to resolve it. This gives them time release anger, frustration and even figure out a resolution. So yes, I agree that walking can be an outlet to release anger.



 I also agree that walking can be a time of happiness and celebration. Some examples of this are: a bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom, a college student walking across stage receiving their degree or a nice family stroll through the park spending quality time together. Walking can also generate creativity as it did for Rousseau. “Rousseau claimed to be incapable of thinking properly, of composing, creating or finding inspiration except when walking.” This week I had to choreograph an African dance number for the student’s end of the year showcase. On my stroll through the neighborhood, movements immediately came to me. Now this was easy to do because I didn’t have any distracts. Being outside was peaceful and I enjoyed it. It was like having the best of both worlds. Enjoyment and creativity all at once while walking. For me life is about balance. I like schedules when it comes to certain things and certain times. I also like spontaneity when it comes to certain things and certain times.

This comment also reminded me of the many walks that took while exploring in the Big Apple.   May of 2014 I moved to Brooklyn, New York. I had no job lined u. I don’t remember the exact amount of money I had but it was less than $100.  The only thing I had secured was a place to live and 6 months of paid rent which was a last minute graduation present.  When I arrived to New York I knew I had to hit the ground running to secure employment. I printed out resumes and walked Spring Sreet in Soho dropping them off at clothing boutiques. I arrived to New York on a Monday, I landed an interview on Friday and I began working Saturday. I’m sure you all know that I spent a lot of time walking! Walking the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan for one year and 3 months taught me a lot about myself spiritually, mentally and physically. I even gained some experience working at a production company! My mom always uses the phrase “You found yourself there” in which I refute “Finding myself would imply that I’m lost which I am not. I was being spontaneous!”

August 2015 was the end of my expensive walking days in New York. I decided to move to Tennessee to figure out my next plan. The idea of grad school was the plan; however, nothing was concrete. After a few months of some dead ends here I stand. Attending school has put a hold on my spontaneity for sure. Living the routine lifestyle has been productive; however, I am missing the gratification of spontaneity. As stated earlier, it’s all about balance. Who knows where my walks will lead me after graduating. I hear California has some nice hiking trails!

I’m looking forward to the strolls that are in my future and where they will take me. I am also excited to see who I will meet on these strolls and the many doors that will open and close. I will keep in my memory bank all of the exciting and complicated things I’ve learned in class and somehow someway apply them to my everyday life. I would love to stay and write more but it’s time for my daily stroll!!