we’re bone-heavy creatures…keep close

I wrote yesterday in Sunday Life about going retro with my work habits…that I write out things longhand and that I’ve taken to using index cards to map out ideas before sitting down to a computer screen. It gets me closer to my creativity and slows things down to the pace at which I create and think.

By Neil Stewart

So happens I was reading David Malouf’s essay The Happy Life in The Quarterly Essay yesterday. He writes longhand, too. Then types. And he discusses – beautifully –  the idea that part of our unease, our contemporary unhappiness, comes from having so much our life occurring at a speed that our bodies are not aligned with.

He writes that it is integral to our happiness to be curious and to delve and to investigate. And that our bodies are our reference point, to determine direction.

“We start always from the body, and relate all thing back to it.”

And indeed everything about our bodies are in relation – think of Vitruvian Man (Da Vinci’s figure that shows every bit of our body is  proportional and symmetrical.)

But life goes so fast now.

“These days we can travel around the globe at hundreds of kilometres an hour and project ourselves into space at several times that speed; but in some part of ourselves we are still bone-heavy creatures tied to the gravitational pull of the Earth, lumbering along as our great-grandfathers did…at four hundred paces, and tiring.”

Yes, and tiring.

The question,  he writes, is:

“whether emotionally, psychologically, we can feel at home in a world whose dimensions so largely exceed …what our bodies can keep in view.”

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