The worst part of travel is the traveling. The destination is my goal, the journey the unfortunate cost. I lose two days of a precious week's vacation to airplanes, car rental counters, and waiting in traffic on freeways. The chore of changing locations compels me, against my wish, to do my traveling all at once: to cram four cities into five days, to rise earlier on vacation than I do at home, to choose exhaustion over the regret of slowing down. I wish I could travel like I eat, in small regular meals, not once-a-year binges. I daydream of a network of machines that would atomize my body at my origin and reassemble it from other atoms at my destination, so I could visit Russia over my lunch hour or take my evening walk in Rio. Absent an atomizer, give me the bullet train of books, which whisk me across continents in an instant without suitcases or jet lag. I want to see too many places to wait for matter to tag along. A traveler packs too heavy if he takes his body with him.
Mind and Body
By a confused instinct, depressed people often overeat. Their mind is empty and hungry, but the only food they have is for the body. The body gets fat because the soul is suffering a famine.
The idea of the sea whets our imagination. The ocean's complexity mirrors the mind's own depths. Just as consciousness conceals the unconscious, the sea's sunlit, glittering surface masks an underworld of mysteries and monsters. How flat and fathomable solid land seems, compared to the murky world beneath the waves. Thus land-dwellers pile onto boats in search of mystical, primordial encounters with earth's liquid wilderness. Instead, many spend the trip puking their lunch over the rail, their stomach in mutiny against their mind's romanticism.
Our souls get sick for, our bodies sick from, the sea.
Everyone seeks their soul's good, even in seeking their body's pleasure. Hedonists hope their material enjoyment will reach inside and touch the marrow of their being. Is this not what saints are seeking, by alternate experiments? A middle-aged rich man in a red convertible, cruising the Amalfi coast with a model half his age, is merely another kind of monk, whose spiritual discipline is indulgence. Every mall is a monastery where the initiates seek beatitude, not by selling everything before they enter, but by buying everything before they leave.
On a ship there is both more room and less room than on land. We can see to the horizon but cannot walk past the ship's rails; we have wider thoughts but stiffer legs. The mind's very spaciousness exacerbates the body's claustrophobia. On land we accepted working all week in a cubicle, because its walls obscured the world beyond, but now that our eyes extend to earth's edge, a ten-story ship feels as cramped as a clam shell. Our souls would surf the hemisphere of waves, but matter shackles us. At sea I see why Plato cursed the body.
Inlanders going to sea are like shoppers looking at catalogs: we were happy before we knew how much we wanted.
Mr. Stanley’s Aphorisms and Paradoxes are outstanding examples of the long-form aphorism... inevitably studded with discrete individual aphorisms that could easily stand on their own.
-James Geary, author of The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism