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.