Before reading this, I recommend quitting your job.
This took ages to write. I actually opened this blog for this post. I can’t remember any of the things I wanted to say. I also assume this will be an evolving piece.
All of our perceived reality lies in layers. The layer people are most likely to call “real”, or to place in the top of the ontological scale, is the physical world, but that too is no more than a perceived layer. In its pure and most wonderful essence, wandering disregards the compelling nature of some layers, viewing all of them as temporary, arbitrary, and as both “perfect individually” and “insignificant unless they are part of an unknowable Kantian thing-per-se”. The wanderer defines the world arbitrarily each moment, with no coherence or premises.
The wanderer moves from place to place, that is the basic act of wandering. A place is not a physical location, but the “Gestaltian sum” of all possible layers in a singular point in time and space. In a matter of speaking everyone moves from place to place all the time, but the wanderer relates to these places as they are, instead of coercing a narrow narrative upon them, and then dwelling on the question “is this the right narrative?”. The reduction of places to these narratives creates the illusion of continuity, coherence and sense people feel comfortable in.
People are socially built to constantly create limitations and constraints for themselves, as a contrast to the basic striving for freedom, which could undermine society, if not channelled to fight the same limitations and constraints created by themselves. The wanderer, free of these limitations and constraints, is free to experience all the layers in each place, while knowing he is limited by his own non-singular nature to experiencing almost none of them. Wandering therefore, is not about quantity, nor quality – it’s about potential and possibility.
The wanderer must be a reflective being, his moral perception remaining the only non-reflective part in him, since it’s so deeply scalded into his personality, that any reflective moral action will mimic a moral pattern he adopted. It’s not a coincidence that the earliest reflective experiences of a child are moral in essence.
In that aspect the wanderer is a “Nietzschean Übermensch” in nature, but he differs from him in that his moral character is not in the center of his existence. Wandering is not a moral imperative, in the sense that it is not the right or wrong thing to do, it lacks a moral value. What defines and motivates the wanderer is his curiosity.
Curiosity is often mistaken for “truth-seeking”, while radically curious people deny both the singularity of truth and the moral obligation to seek it. Curiosity is also commonly mistaken for diligence, which is another deep misconception, and based on the false manipulative capitalist premise, that the harder one works, the more he achieves. The curious wanderer strives to know everything, while his path constantly leads him to inevitable un-knowing of everything he thought he knew.
In the act of wandering, the wanderer redefines knowledge as socially constructed, ever-evolving and ever-disintegrating, collaborative while inherently subjective, life experiences. Embracing idiosyncrasy, in all its infinite forms, instead of aspiring to impose one shared meaning, is the key to this redefined knowledge.
True wanderers are probably scarce, but wandering as a deconstructive act of construction, can be done by many, and mobile accessibility makes it even more feasible. Furthermore, in a post-industrial world, wandering is the only alternative to “excluding ideologies” for inducing radical social change.