9 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
TO TRAVEL IS TO THINK, 31 July 2002
The sensitive, the indulged, cannot bear the harshness of vacuous reality when one has an imagination that can take you to places beyond reality. As a method of easing his brush with reality, which seems infinitely more painful for him, than for others, AdeB cites Chamfort's dictum that a person should swallow a toad every morning to be sure of not meeting with anything more revolting in the day ahead.
In fact most of this book refers to and quotes philosophers, thinkers, artists, poets/writers and not enough of AdeB original thought. The book encapsulates the Keatsian idea that the pleasure is in the anticipation rather than the participation fused with the simplicity of the Shirley Valentine reality. He says 'If we travel to induce a shift for the better in our equilibrium, to suddenly find happiness then of course we may be disappointed.' Hardly rocket philosophy is it? And I had expected something rather more stirring than 'things being as quiet as a library!'
However there is an honesty and realism in his spat for control of a crème caramel, plus a heavy dose of the SB (spoiled brat) as we become intimate with his bowels, head and other holiday ailments. There is a derisory tone towards the mundane, as if possessing an artistic temperament is the preferred state. So is it not cruel irony that artistic temperament channelled scientifically has produced the tools of travel, such as the aeroplane and the petrol to fly it. So who is better balanced, who has the more capacity to be fulfilled? Those with a purpose, a real purpose or those who imagine their purpose?
I liked the reference to Xauier de Mastre's journey around my bedroom and the indication that it is indeed the mindset with which we travel rather than the destination we go to. And why have holidays got reflect reality anyway? AdeB follows in Wordsworth's Lake District footsteps to impart to the reader 'when divine wisdom eludes human understanding, the righteous are made aware of their limitations by the spectacle of sublime nature and must continue to trust in God's plan for the universe.'
There is much to interest, philosophise and with which to disagree. This is the third AdeB book I have read, the others being Consolations of Philosophy and Essays in Love. I wait for Consolations of Loneliness. This text refers to the hardcover version.
PB North West