Bill Frisell: "Throughout"
Ikiru and Living

For Once, I Am a Trend-Setter

Well, I guess that's not technically accurate. To set a trend, one must not only be enacting the trend, but be seen doing it. Nobody apart from my immediate family and my neighbors know that I'm doing it. And I'm pretty sure that they are themselves not trend-watchers who have noted that I'm doing it and informed the fashionable world. If my obscurity and ignorance don't give me any claim to setting the trend, I can at least truly say that for once I am well out in front of it. 

I'm referring to the trend of "silent walking." I only know about it because Rob G sent me this link: 'Silent walking' is going viral. What is it and what are the benefits?

"Silent walking" is walking without some electronic device piping music or talk into your ears. That it now seems unusual, an exception to a general rule, is amusing. That people feel the need to have it explained, justified and prescribed by experts--psychologists, doctors, the author of a book on "mindfulness"--is very amusing, in a not altogether enjoyable way.

I'm tempted to quote from the article, but it should be read to be fully appreciated.  

As for my own participation: I walk for twenty or thirty minutes several days a week, and have done this off and on for years. I've tried listening to music or spoken word--talk, or audio books--while walking, and I just don't like it. "Distracting" is not an adequate word. It puts me into a sort of foggy confusion, in which I'm attentive neither to my surroundings or to whatever is coming through the headphones. To say that I don't like it is really an understatement--I soon came to hate it, and gave it up entirely a long time ago. 


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I don't know, that silent walking sounds a bit dull -- I think I’d rather go in for "vibrational-based living". That article you linked to takes us to a book about it: "Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power."

And there's not just a book, but an online school that provides "Instant Access to tools & Support TO VIBRATE HIGHER. Rise into your sacred power and highest embodied self with VHD Membership. Our unique offerings, curated by certified spiritual practitioner, spiritual writer, and higher embodiment guide Lalah Delia, provide you with the tools and guidance you need to transcend blockages, navigate life's energetics, embrace your power, expand your life, and become your highest embodied self."

I have so many questions...

I saw that link and didn't follow it. I thought it might be more than I could cope with. I clicked your link cautiously and scrolled far enough to see the list of media that have talked about her. I sort of wonder if they all took her as seriously as she apparently does herself.

"highest *embodied* self" made me think, for the first time in many years, about this Mothers of Invention song from the more or less anti-hippy album We're Only In It for the Money. Zappa disdained hippy mysticism. "Discorporate and come with us"

Also, in case y'all missed the link to the Galactic Federation of Light which someone posted in the comments several weeks ago:

The strange(st) thing is that it seems to be a clothing company. Click on the "shop" tab.

I also silent walk, mainly because I want to hear the car before it hits me and have a small chance of getting out of the way.

Q. What's a hipster's favorite kind of dog?
A. A trend-setter!

Jokes aside, I also feel a sense of detachment from reality when I walk with headphones on. Weirdly enough, I feel like I actually have worse vision, although that's probably an illusion.


I can believe you would actually have worse vision. Might be a psychological/neurological phenomenon, but not an illusion.

Stu, yes, that's a very down-to-earth reason to "silent walk".

I've never been tempted even once to walk with earbuds in or headphones on. I truly, literally, do not see the point. That's part of what made this article so funny to me.

We're in a sorry place when even quietness has to be planned and arranged! As something I read a few years back said, it's almost as if modern life has been designed to prevent us from contemplation.

The only argument against that is that it mostly hasn't been designed at all. Most of us seem to want it that way. Way back before the current level of saturation I was always puzzled by people who kept the tv on when they weren't watching it. With my difficulty in dealing with multiple simultaneous streams, I find it very difficult to carry on a conversation if a tv is on, and nearly impossible if the sound isn't muted.

But of course most of what we volunteer for is there because one way or another somebody is making money from it, so in that sense it's designed.

I think some of it has to do with feeling alone, which is not a comfortable place for a whole lot of people.

That leaving the TV on all the time reminded me of how my favorite aunt took to doing that when her husband died when she was still fairly young, middle 50s, I think. It was not something she'd ever done before, but that she continued doing for the rest of her life.

Oh yeah, I've heard several people say explicitly that they do it for that reason. I can't remember exactly how they put it but if my memory is not playing tricks on me at least one said something like "for the company." I can sort of understand that although it doesn't appeal to me. But I was thinking more of households where there are at least two people, maybe more. That seems odder.

"so in that sense it's designed"

Right -- the quote says "almost as if designed..." To me this implies the idea that it could hardly be worse if it were actually designed.

For me, walking and thinking my own thoughts simply must go together. I have never been tempted to walk while listening to something. Seems unnatural!

It definitely is.

Marianne, much as I enjoy solitude in large quantities (provided I have sufficient socialising) I can definitely understand your Aunt with the TV. If that happened to me I would probably listen to a lot of music, but also might want the radio or TV on instead.

After many years home-schooling, we have sent the younger boys to school. It is truly weird to be home by myself during the day. It's not unpleasant at all, but the amount of quietness is still not something I am used to.

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