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Rebecca Solnit - Aerobic Sisyphus and the suburbanized psyche

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Industrial revolution, as a reason of suburbanization, led to the absurdity of mankind of the way of its culture has come. Walking, before, was almost you could say “their life”. It was a monotonous indoor and outdoor struggle to live their lives and to earn for it. “Sub-urbanization has radically changed the scale and texture of everyday life, usually in ways inimical to getting about on foot”. An improvement in cities and an invention of sidewalks created safe streets to walk, yet people were discouraged by the improvement and they felt unsafe: such as threat of acquainted people and industrial pollution.

Solnit also mentioned: "The most perverse of all the devices in the gym is the treadmill (and its steeper cousin, the Stairmaster). Perverse, because I can understand simulating farm labor, since activities of rural life are not often available - but simulating walking suggests that space itself has disappeared. That is, the weights simulate the objects of work, but the treadmill and Stairmaster simulate the surfaces on which walking takes place. ” where she points out that walking nowadays are done indoors only. Unlike in the past centuries where it has freedom to be, walking nowadays tend to be more like it had been taken away of its spacious freedom; it has been limited indoors and people seemed to be having no time for walking as part of culture but is limited only as part of attaining a physically fit body. As a result of suburbs, the countryside way of living had faded.

It had been replaced by new ways. People tend to do things upon depending on technology; they tend to live as simple and as dependent as they could.

They ride cars or motorcycles because they want to get in a place fast. It may have given positive effect, saving time, but as far as culture is concerned, as what most Solnit’s arguments are all about, it left behind culture. The measurement from a place to a place afar changed. Today it is time. The distance from a place to another is measured by only how much time you will be consuming on getting or traveling there, different from the old culture which is measured not only by “how much time”, but also the space, the landscape to see, terrain to pass by, and excitements to experience as you are traveling.

This she uttered Schivelbusch’s writing: “The speed and mathematical with which the railroad proceeds through the terrain destroys the close relationship between the traveler and the traveled space. The train was experienced as a projectile, and traveling on it as being shot through the landscape--- thus losing control of one’s senses… The traveler who sat inside that projectile ceased to be a traveler and became, as noted in a popular metaphor of the century, a parcel. ” Thus she wrote: “If there was a golden age of walking, it arose from a desire to travel through the open spaces of the world unarmored by vehicles, unafraid to mingle with different kinds of people. ” The work, industry, and how the lifestyle of the people was lived are also covered.

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preview essay on Rebecca Solnit - Aerobic Sisyphus and the suburbanized psyche
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Unsorted
  • Level: Masters
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