Wednesday, 10 October 2012

“What teachers and the administration in that era never seemed to see was that the mental work of what they called daydreaming often required more effort and concentration than it would have taken simply to listen in class. Laziness is not the issue. It is just not the work dictated by the administration.” ― David Foster Wallace, Oblivion

We travel to places. Places of overwhelming beauty- 

or sacred seclusion-

these are places to which we travel with our legs, and which are catalogued by our senses. These are journeys for our body. But a "journey" need not be limbs meeting land; a journey simply means an exploration. A journey is not founded upon a monotonous movement of foot following foot. Photographer Thomas Hoepker chose not to publish the below image in a book of 9/11 photography because of the paths it would present to the mind- a trail which led to the belief that the young people pictured below are reacting (or rather, not reacting,) to their backdrop with indifference. Although the Americans photographed later came forward to claim they were, in fact, in a state of disbelief and shock, on initial absorption of the image, the viewer travels to a very different conclusion. 

This train of thought gives rise to another question: although the studious pupil is often thought to possess the tamest of minds, and least rebellious of urges, could this be quite the opposite? Just as an image can say a thousand words, can too words breed a thousand images? Are journeys of the mind more accessible, more dangerous, and more exciting, than journeys of the body? Literature is naively viewed by many as a puristic pursuit, but it is literature (such as Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road', D.H.Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterly's Lover', and even the infamous '5O Shades of Grey') which provides an individual with the largest, and most exposing, of journeys.


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