Cory Leonard

Touring for Pleasure, Traveling for Knowledge

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Literary Excursions - NYTimes.com

The writer Chris Wallace reviews a pile of travel books to discern the difference between mere sightseeing and a transformational trip:

In other words, I was touring, to use Paul Bowles’s classic distinction, rather than traveling — seeking enjoyment rather than experience. I had failed to abide Camus’s dictum that the trip ought to be the highest form of asceticism. “There is no pleasure in traveling,” he wrote in his notebooks. “I look upon it more as an occasion for spiritual testing. If we understand by culture the exercise of our most intimate sense — that of eternity — then we travel for culture.” One imagines he is using the Bowlesian distinction here, meaning capital-T Traveling — to find communion with the universal and, ultimately, with the deepest, “most intimate sense” of oneself. Camus goes on to say: “Pleasure takes us away from ourselves in the same way as distraction, in Pascal’s use of the word, takes us away from God. Travel, which is like a greater and a graver science, brings us back to ourselves.”

via Literary Excursions – NYTimes.com.

 

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