I have always found the 4 hours it takes to drive my commute between New York and Syracuse an exhilarating platform upon which to think out projects. I think it’s because the motion and perspectival-shifts mimic and stimulate reflection. But ideas for large projects come in and out of attention. I jot down the ideas lest I forget. The main thing is to stay alert.

Jewish Philosophy Place (JPP) is a new project. I hope it will add creative mental focus to the commute, and a heightened visual dimension to the mental process. In a state of prolonged motion, I catch sight of sights and think out a thought, commit it to paper, form it into a longer sequence, and save it for later. Attending to the sight as it comes into and out of view, the thought moves along and I stay in the lane and stick to the road.

What would JPP look like if I commuted by subway, bus, train, or plane? Or if my drive was only one hour each way, twice a day –instead of a full four hours once a week and then another four hours at the end of the week? I imagine the sense of place would look different.

Is the car a site of modern alienation? Not in my experience.

Inside the car, it’s like Plato’s cave.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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2 Responses to Road/Writing

  1. palmsundae says:

    Drive safely! Careful with the camera and note taking.

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