Walk to think

Great thoughts come from walking

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Drawing of a man walking while thinking I walk therefore I think
I walk therefore I think sketched thought from my drawn hiking notes today

“I think therefore I am” said the french philosopher Rene’ Descartes, but other philosophers saw it differently: They walked to think

A few examples: The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844 –1900) wouldn’t trust any thought that didn’t come from walking, he walked for hours most days, sketching up his notes, and thoughts, as they appeared along the way. And as Nietzsche famously proclaimed:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”
Friedrich Nietzsche

The Greek philosophers took it a step further… (A step further – our language and thoughts are filled with these walking metaphors – with good reason )

One of the first higher education institutions in the world – in ancient Greece, more than 2000 years ago (founded around 335  BCE by Aristotle )  were called: “Peripatetic schools” – which can be translated to “of walking” or “given to walking about” – and that is just what these wise old philosophers did more often than not, and how they tought: They walked to figure out reality and occasionally talked about their findings,  maybe because they realized it was the smartest and fastest way to understand and gain insight, beyond learning.

Diogenes was a more or less barking mad old Greek celebrity philosopher (412 or 404 BC – to 323 BC.) and one of the most famous  examples of how walking can be used as an answer.

Diogenes drifted around Greece and other places around the Mediterranean Sea most of his life, wondering about this world and what he experienced, sleeping and eating where-ever he happened to be – He even made up the word “Cosmopolitan” according to the legend, to describe himself.

When confronted with thoughts about what was real ( Zeno’s paradoxes )… Diogenes famously just got up and started to walk away… and maybe, seen as an answer, that might be considered one of the earliest documented examples of “Show it, don’t tell it”

Drawing of Einstein like character philosopher walking with backpack. thinking "I walk therefore I think"
Einstein walking – I walk therefore I think

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