Night Drive (“Primitive Physical Delight In Motion For Its Own Sake”) (Serial Form)

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I like the night drive home going fast east on rt. 80 towards New York City. You’re joined up in the groove along a string of red light, with strings of red lights and strings of white lights zipping past. Driving in the left lane, the white lights opposite shoot by the corner of your eye at an even velocity.

Writing against old, dirty technologies, Lewis Mumford wrote in Technic & Civilization (1930), “Apart from the primitive physical delight on motion for its own sake, this acceleration of the tempo could not be justified except in terms of pecuniary rewards” (p.198).

I could not believe my eyes. Of all people, Lewis Mumford could not understand that “acceleration of tempo” and “primitive physical delight in motion for its own sake” are their own reward?!

Happy to be alive, in serial form, swinging to new music by Popo Vazquez and Pirates Troubadours as they play Hebrew, Gypsy, and Arabic scales on the radio. Sometimes, you discover for the first time a bit of music unexpected and it just clicks in your head if you’re moving at the right speed.

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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