Rebecca Solnit argues “Walking and the Suburbanized Psyche”, an article by the art critic and the writer of Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Solnit argues that the suburbanization of the world has broken down the connection of the mind, the body and the environment that was made possible through walking. Our society has devalued walking due to the proliferation of cars and suburbization. Solnit thinks that devaluing walking will make it harder for us to connect with other people and to do good. Solnit’s statement that walking is devalued will result in the loss imagination, of the body, and of the world, I do not agree with. Walking isn’t the only activity which can enhance imagination, our body, and our world.
Solnit says that if walking is devalued further, there will be a loss in imagination. Walking is not the only activity that helps you imagine. I can reflect and think deeply when I go to the gym. Running on a treadmill boosts my creative imagination and relieves me of stress. I have found that painting and drawing both give me similar benefits. Imaginers are not limited. It is not true that walking alone can make you imagine. Solnit should take disabled people into consideration. Do they have a problem imagining? Not everyone can walk or traverse. Solnit basically says that disabled people don’t know how to imagine. This is contrary to her claim that walking would lose its value if it were devalued. It is true that there are many other ways we can imagine than by walking. Solnit would be wise to consider other factors than walking as the only way of fostering imagination.
Solnit says that we should value walking more in society. Walking is something that we all do, so I don’t see why it should be appreciated. It’s something that we can’t get rid of. It’s not something special or extraordinary. Solnit claims that people need to try walking more. She acts as if people don’t walk or only rarely do. No matter how short or far we walk, it’s always something. Walking can be voluntary or necessary. Voluntary walks are those that you do out of the goodness of your heart, while required walking is for school or work. Solnit argues that natural space is lacking in many communities. Los Angeles, New York and other cities have a dense population. In order to meet the demand and increase in population, there is hardly enough space. This area makes it nearly impossible to demand more space. There are areas where the sidewalks can’t be walked because cars are pulling to one side. Los Angeles has sidewalks that are twisted and distorted by the roots of trees. This makes it nearly impossible to walk. Solnit must consider that the terrain, and surrounding areas can make walking impossible.
Solnit believes that a reduction of walking could lead to the loss of human interaction. We will also lose contact with our friends and society. You won’t always find yourself in a conversation with a stranger when you walk. You will not find love or new friends by walking. I walk 6 miles daily, from class to dorm. Strangers I passed on my way to class have not become friends or acquaintances. Today, approaching or talking to strangers is considered weird. They will not be willing to speak to strangers, but instead become frightened by their presence. The crime rate in our community is a major factor. We have developed a new inner instinct to ignore strangers. Many people are afraid to leave their houses for fear of being robbed or kidnapped. People are avoiding walking because of the dangers. Solnit believes that walking for leisure is only possible in wealthy, safe neighborhoods. Walking doesn’t always mean you are in the world. You can meet people and socialize by joining clubs, volunteering or doing other activities. Solnit is wrong when she says that not being able to walk would cause us to lose contact with the wider world. There are other ways of interacting with it. Walking isn’t the only way to interact with the world. You can use many methods to interact with your world.
Solnit also makes a case for cars, claiming that car diffusion has led to a significant reduction in walking. She says that people should walk more instead of driving. Some drive 30-50 miles daily to work. Does she want to make them walk back and forward that distance each day? Walking is good for you, but it’s important to be able to travel from A to B within a certain time frame. It would take a long time to get to work if people walked more. They’d also cause more traffic. Walking everywhere is simply not possible with our modern lifestyles.
Solnit is wrong in her claim that devaluing walking will lead to a loss imagination, world and body. Walking isn’t a factor or an activity that helps us boost our creativity, interact with the outside world, or our body. Working out and doing yoga help us to imagine. Sporting events and local events can be a great way to meet people. Walking is not the only way to exercise. You can walk for a number of reasons and through a variety activities. Solnit has to consider the disabled, those in high-crime neighborhoods, as well as other factors, before she can say that not walking is bad for us.
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