In “Walking and the Suburbanized Psyche, ” Rebecca Solnit, an art critic and author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking, argues that suburbanization has fragmented the connection of our body, the world, and imagination that was created by walking. The diffusion of cars and suburbanization have led our society to devalue walking. Solnit believes that if walking continues to be devalued by our society, we will be unable to interact with others and part away from the good. I disagree with Solnit’s claim that the devaluation of walking would lead to a loss of imagination, our body, and the world. Walking is not the only activity that can foster imagination, the world, and the body.
If walking continues to be devalued, Solnit claims that there would be a loss of imagination. There are certainly other activities than walking that can help you imagine. Going to the gym to work out, enables me to reflect on myself and have deep thoughts. Running on the treadmill relieves my stress and boosts my imagination. From my experience, drawing and painting gives me the same benefits. There are no limitations of how one can imagine. Any activity can help you imagine and it is incorrect to say that only walking does. Solnit needs to take account into those that are disabled. Are they not able to imagine? Not everyone is able to walk and traverse. Solnit’s basically saying that those that are disabled don’t have the ability to imagine. This contradicts her claim that if walking were to be devalued, our ability to imagine would be lost. There are certainly other ways that can help us imagine rather than walking. Solnit needs to take into account of various factors before saying that walking is the only way to foster imagination.
Solnit argues that walking should be more appreciated in our society. I feel that there is nothing to appreciate about walking as it is what all of us do. It is something that is a part of us that cannot be taken away. It is not a special activity nor something that is extraordinary. Solnit states that people should try to walk more. She talks as if no one walks or hardly ever walks. We all walk in some shape or form whether if that is short or long distance. There are two different types of walking: voluntary and necessary walking. Voluntary walking is where you walk somewhere out of your own will while necessary walking is to go to class or to work. Solnit also states that there is a lack of natural space in our communities. Cities such as Los Angeles and New York have a high population density. There is barely enough space for the increasing population and demand. Asking for more natural space is nearly impossible in these areas. Also, in these areas, the sidewalks are not walkable due to cars pulling out from the sides. Sidewalks in Los Angeles are cracked and propped open by tree roots making it virtually impossible to walk. Solnit should take into account that walking is impossible depending on the walkability of the terrain and the surrounding areas.
Solnit states that the reduction of walking would lead to a loss of our interaction with the world. In other words, it means that we will lose our interaction with others and our society. Walking doesn’t necessarily lead you to have conversations with strangers. It won’t make you find a date or a new friend. I walk about six miles a day, back and forth from my classes to my dorm. Strangers that I have passed by walking to classes didn’t become my friends or acquaintances. In today’s standards, talking or approaching strangers are deemed as weird. Instead of being willing to talk to others, they will be creeped out by the fact that a stranger is trying to talk to them. This is due to the widespread of crimes in our communities. Our inner instincts have shifted to ignore people that we do not know of. People are unwilling to walk out of their homes in fears of getting robbed or even kidnapped. With police violence and other violent crimes, people are steering away from walking due to the risks. Solnit’s idea of being able to walk out for leisure only exists in safe, rich neighborhoods. There isn’t necessarily a link between walking and the world. Going to clubs, volunteering, or any other recreational activity is where you can socialize and meet new people. Therefore, Solnit’s claim that not walking would lead to lose our interaction with the world is false as there a lot of ways to approach and interact with the world. The world that we interact with is not limited only by walking. There are many ways that can help you interact with the world.
Cars are another part of Solnit’s argument, where she claims that the diffusion of cars have significantly reduced the amount of walking. She suggests that instead of driving, one should incorporate walking into their lifestyles more. Some travel 30-50 miles to get to work every day. Does she want them to walk that much of a distance back and forth every day? People know for a fact that walking is beneficial but we have to get from Point A to Point B in a set time interval. If people were to walk more instead of driving, it will take forever to go work and cause more foot traffic. Our metropolitan lifestyles simply cannot enable us to walk everywhere.
In conclusion, Solnit’s claim that the devaluation of walking would lead to a loss of imagination, the world, and the body is incorrect. Walking isn’t the only factor or activity that can help boost our imagination, help us interact with the world, and our bodies. Activities such as working out and yoga helps us imagine. In terms of the world, there are local events such as sporting events that can help you socialize with others. Our bodies don’t rely on walking entirely. Again, there are a plethora of factors and activities that can suffice walking. Solnit needs to take account of those that are disabled, high crime rate neighborhoods, and various other circumstances, before saying that not walking would lead us to part away from the good.
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