Tag Archives: Solnit; A Field Guide to Getting Lost


I am reading an extract from Rebecca Solnit’s “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”:
“Not to find one’s way in a city may be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance-nothing more,” says the twentieth-century philosopher-essayist Walter Benjamin. “But to lose oneself in a city-as one loses oneself in a forest-that calls for quite a different schooling.” To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography. That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost.

Urban Void; Action in the bed of the river Kifissos. Noisy march. 1999