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‘On Foot’
Considering the Ambling Perspective: 12/2/2022
© 2023 James LaFond
JUN/23/23
Yesterday, as I listened to Beowulf, for perhaps the 50th time, I received the following text that should be addressed, according to the superstition governing this buffeted mind, in the light of that great and ancient poem. [1]
“Watching an interview with great filmmaker Werner Herzog and he says, “the world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.” Could not help thinking of my brother from Baltimore. Hope you are well.”
-Mister Safrano, G-String, New Jersey, 12/1/2022
Although the larger study of Аrуаn history is deeply intertwined with the horse and hound, the earliest tales lack these, speaking to their grand antiquity. Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Samson, Herakles, Odysseus, [2] Jason, these heroes journey by foot and by boat and even swimming. They do not ride. The pace of these tales is kept by the foot and the oar. The most touching conjunction of these is at the end of The Odyssey, when Odysseus must repay the deity his patron, by walking with an oar so far inland that men mistake it for a farming beam, and there he will find the place of his ancestors to commit his obligation.
Thus, Beowulf, a foot and oar tale, committed to paper at about the same time as Roland, the grandest of horse tales, reveals its superior antiquity. Like Gilgamesh, Enkidu, Samson and Herakles, Beowulf fights on foot. Further, the pace of the rowed boat is rhythmic and man-powered at the crucial moments when the oarsmen enter the narrative. The sails take the hero on the whale road, like the gods casting his fate, and also take the dead beyond this life. [3] From Jason’s goddess-built ship, to the swan-like quality of the sailing boats of Aeneas, Ajax and Odysseus, wrecked and marooned by god-sent storms, the sail of the heroic boat is his fate ordained, the pulling of oars, his and his mate’s mortal will cast like dice into Time, spitting into the titanic wind.
Before Beowulf is named, upon the strand of the Danes, watches a warden on a horse, spear in hand, keeping watch for his king. This man, my favorite character in Beowulf, challenges the prince and escorts him, coming and going in haste, like life passing the liver by. Likewise, messengers and funeral actors ride horses and grant a sense of Time flashing by the hero. But the hero fights afoot.
In my own life, as a pedestrian, I noted a few things in the hostile matrix of Baltimore.
When a new job required a new bus route, riding it in a vehicle did not inform me accurately of the nature of the area to a pedestrian. The driver misses most details and I his passenger missed many. Without fail, when a city bus was detoured, the driver never knew the way and would always ask one of the passengers, pedestrians all, for directions. On foot, the additional time it took, deepened and broadened my view of the place and put it in context.
My experience as a pedestrian on foot, as with other footmen in Baltimore, compared to the motorists that we lived and worked with was one of adventure. While our coworkers and roommates who drove were almost never attacked, those of us who walked were attacked often, two of us [Big Sam and RJ] killed, all but me were arrested or robbed. All of us who were not killed were driven forth from that small area of Northeast Baltimore that spanned Hamilton, Gardenville and Cedonia.
I have noted that walking at a quick stride, often times prevented my being attacked, as 5 miles per an hour is faster than my ebony enemies thought, or was not enough time for the acrimonious minds to agree over whether I was a worthy target or not.
I would note that the term “pedestrian,” being used to indicate lack of notable or interesting activity is a semantic reflection of the Greater Lie of Modernity, that speed is the greatest value. Much has been made by high thinkers of how the most violent and inconsiderate people in our society suffer from “a high time preference.” Time and again it has been noted that when a European or Asian child is given the choice of having two candy bars, if he declines to eat the first candy bar right away, that he will opt for two bars over time. Meanwhile, the African child will eat one right away and then pine for his second. Outside of clinical circumstances, this translates into the African spending all of his money on pay week, and robbing the Asian at the end of the month when he is starving.
However, our entire modern construct has been raised upon a high time preference, with the result that we all spend more time suffused in “now” and less time to ponder the past and reflect those lessons on the mirror of now to arrive at a reasoned expectation of the future.
Perhaps this is why we now worship Negroes as a national cult? Our consumption based economy is fueled by commercial graphics. Every single commercial aimed at 100% of Americans contains at least one person of the 13% as the dominant positive focus, with the highest time preference. Thus, ultimately, the mindless babble of Afro-urban America is highly congruent with high speed industrial ethics having evolved into high impulse emotional pseudo-thought.
The pace of movies have sped up to the point where young people today cannot view a movie made before the 1960s, and have difficulty enjoying a movie made before the 1980s. With Modernity having made all of us into now-focused negroclones we have become fleshy epigrams branded with ideological time stamps.
When one considers that the greatest mind of Civilized Mankind, Aristotle, conducted his classes while he and his students walked and talked around the academy, under the covered track called a Xystos, that circumscribed the area where the combat athletes trained, that he called his school something like the “perimeter walking” school, then we get a hint.
A hint of what?
Into mesmerism.
Aristotle, an investigator, was regarded as The Philosopher for ages. But in Modernity, he is put aside for his teacher Plato, who did not investigate, did not practice science, but instead proposed ideological perfection, a reverence for Forms. This is of interest, in that we are submerged in ideology to the point where it is even called science.
So, the Modern mind lacks perspective because it is vested in still form and inhabits a high speed society.
The mind that works from a perspective of moderate active [not passive] motion works better, as for most of humanity we thought on our feet as hunters and farmers, rather than keeping up with machines in factories and offices. Also thought occurring in rhythm with motion grants a mobile perspective of the still form of Ideological Man as he is subjected to the rapid mechanics of modern society.
The effect of stationary people living in an accelerating society is mass mesmerism, as when an auctioneer or whore house barker influences us with his rapid banter.
I think then, that my fear of machines that kept me from driving and that keeps me largely unplugged, has assisted me in following Aristotle around and trying to learn those ancient lessons open to those who move no faster than we think and do so under our own tiny power. For a man walking besides a highway or walking up onto a train platform as these massive machines—these dragons—roar by, understands in his vibrating bones that he is not powerful. He intuits too, that he does not weave upon the loom of fate, that his vote does not make a difference, bringing him to understand, like Beowulf, that monsters watch and slumber all about, and that fools who witlessly lumber will wake them to our throats and souls to feast and plunder.
Notes
-1. I regard Beowulf as our oldest extant story and am of the opinion that it pre-dates even Gilgamesh in oral form. The evidence for this I find in the thematics and cannot support it outside of Michael Crichton’s theory that Grendel and his mother represented Neanderthals. This is not called Crackpot Books for nothing.
-2. I suspect that the tale of Odysseus, in many of its elements, predates the story of Troy.
-3. Gilgamesh journeys beyond the land of the living upon a boat he is not able to control.
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