The Art of Flânerie

4 Nov 06

Flânerie is about walking. Walking without a purpose. Or at least without a rushy-rushy, getting-from-A-to-B purpose. It is about observing, noting, drifting, reflecting… feeling. Feeling what is around you and where you are. The flâneur, the practitioner of flânerie, is a philosopher and an experiencer. She is a human tortoise. A human sloth. A human snail. He is outside of the world and yet intimately aware of his position within it. She is an author, a creator, and yet adrift on a rudderless raft bobbing along on the sea of humanity. He is a god.

Flânerie can be practised on a beach, a country lane, a busy high street. It is walking, strolling, ambling, rambling. One can also be a Flâneur of the Mind, strolling through one’s thoughts, letting them float by like clouds. And then there is that most modern of phenomena: the Internet Flâneur… Do not search for a new bank account, a place to go on holiday, a house to buy. Do not even “surf”… Surfing is too fast! Drift through the Information Superhighway. Release yourself of purpose. Find, or rather happen upon, a website about the mating habits of iguana. Read. Move on. Play a little online chess. No, not chess… too much thinking! Checkers, iSketch or any of the beautifully simple games of Orisinal. Pop into a forum. Speak about your favourite pudding, write a poem, exchange a few words about cheese…

Flânerie is about slowing down. It is about throwing away your ‘To Do’ list and going with the flow. It is about putting one foot in front of another… or one thought in front of another. It is about living.

Related links…

The Idler

Wikipedia on ‘Flâneur’







One comment on “The Art of Flânerie

  1. yan says:

    so it’s not about shortcrust pies then. Practising Flânerie can be a wise cover for hunting magic mushrooms. “hello, hello, hello, what have we here then? Young, long haired man in technicolour bobble-hat found shoe gazing in cow pasture? Not foraging for psilocybe are we sonny?”
    “No sir – flanerie!”
    “As you were.”

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