Selfie: Icefields Parkway, Alberta Hwy 93, Canada


"To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher." Pascal, Pensees, Sect.1

Another of Pascal's remarks, written only a few paragraphs after the one quoted above, states, "People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others."

To engage in the act of discovery, I say, one must travel -- either literally or in the imagination.

Travelling "literally" can be expensive and time-consuming. On the other hand, observing from afar, using the tools of picture or words or thoughts, can cost almost nothing and may even suspend time. The Internet and all the resources available to our senses (phones, watches, pads, computers, even cushioned toilet seats) make the "virtual" effort of discovery easier than ever. So we are likely to stay in one place and tend to get fatter.

Now if I could persuade everyone to get up and go to the national parks of Canada and the U.S., those places today, in good weather, would be even more overcrowded than they already are, with vehicles and humans jostling for choice spaces to park themselves. The aggravations do accumulate merit points to the health of gawkers like me but scare away the animals and stain the pathways through nature. It is a trade-off and the future does not bode well for the aesthetic experience supposed to be associated with the endeavor.

There is no real solution to resolving nature's survival dilemma as the world's populations expand and become more capable of moving from place to place both literally and virtually. Bikers use the hiking trails, tourists are more focussed on their "selfies" than tasting the blackberries, and now drones lurk in the sky and woods (so far without evil intent maybe).

Practically, from my own experience, the best moments (time) for