Friday, May 9, 2008

The philosophy of train travel

I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on trains these days, and so I've started to plan my reading schedule around two-hour trips to Toronto. With two hours on the train and about half an hour waiting in the lounge, I can safely expect to read a 150-200 page book and still have time to gawk out the window while I'm in the train. The only things in my library that fit comfortably in that page range. however, are plays and philosophical treatises. Which is how I found myself reading Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy on a train ride this afternoon.

I am deeply ambivalent about travelling, and so began creating a Boethian model of the ups and downs of train travel. As I wait in line, toting my heavy knowledge, I am consoled by the knowledge that Fortune's wheel will turn around again and find me inside the train, reading in air-conditioned comfort as the rugged Ontario scenery zips by. At the end of the train ride, however, I will find myself crushed beneath the wheel, pressed in by throngs of angry commuters as I struggle to make my way to the subway station. Turn therefore from vice: ensue virtue: raise your soul to upright hopes: send up on high your prayers from this earth. If you would be honest, great is the necessity enjoined upon your goodness, since all you do is done before the eyes of an all-seeing Judge.


Heather said...

haha This post is too funny :)

diplomatizer said...

"Rugged Ontario scenery?"

As far as I'm concerned, "rugged" Ontario doesn't begin until Algonquin Park or so. For me, the London-Toronto train ride is about farmland, urban sprawl, and decaying industry.

Not to be a wet blanket or anything =P

Osbert Parsley said...

Ah, but the decaying industry has a certain ruggedness of its own! There's a special tragedy to the abandoned open-pit mines.

Not much in the way of natural ruggedness, it's true, but there are some very nice views across escarpments and things before you get to Brantford.

Dr_Aryan said...

Appreciate your efforts of writing as elusive as a Philosophy of train... But just to add value to your efforts I wish to recommend you enjoy journey on train in different countries to understand pulse of a Countries progress...

Dr. Ankit Sura
Foundation Chairman of Community Welfare Foundation
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.

france pope said...

Great post! Very informative.
Thanks for possibility to write on your website,
it's great!
I’m still hoping there will be more posts on this site.
Thanks a lot!

train travel to us