View Full Version : Superhighways vs. backroads

08-10-2004, 01:46 PM
Actually I'm speaking of the blue highways of the mind. Now in the educational institutions of our culture we are encouraged if not pressured to follow a linear logic route in our writing, thinking, and speech. We are told that meandering is bad. In order to be clear and concise we are told we must follow the straight path to our destination. I was once told by one of my first English comp professors that I took too long to get to my point.

However, in the same way that there are rewards and beauty off the beaten path in geographical traveling, could there be in mental journeys as well? Is wandering onto tangents anymore disagreeable or wrong than taking the exit ramp off the interstate and wandering through the countryside?

Years ago people in the south used to sit on their front porches and have conversations that digressed onto a plethora of topics. These were easy going, relaxed conversations with no purpose in mind other than enjoyment of each other's company.

Now if one is writing a thesis this sort of meandering may not be constructive. However, there are those who adhere so strictly to linear rationality that even casual conversations seem to require pure logic. To many the idea of talking about politics or sociology in a less than linear way is forbidden.

Yet in the same way that traveling a winding country road can be rewarding perhaps a wide ranging and less focused discussion of important issues might also be rewarding. Now even blue highways eventually get you somewhere. Sometimes the destination isn't what you expected. However there are surprises around every curve. What I'm proposing isn't dispensing with order in discussion. Rather allowing the flow of conversation to take you to places you might have missed had you stayed on the straight and narrow path. There is a vast hinterland off the beaten path which holds treasures we would do well to experience.

08-10-2004, 01:52 PM
I agree entirely. A straight line keeps going and going, but a circle brings you back to the starting point. :)

Edited: I guess theoretically a even a straight line curves but ... :D

08-10-2004, 01:56 PM
As a proud rambler, I think taking conversations off the beaten path is the best way. Otherwise its nearly like a template, and each conversation becomes the same conversation.

08-10-2004, 02:36 PM
I don't like being strung along only to find out that the person with whom I've been conversing actually had nothing to say that was worth listening to.

This also applies to murder mysteries and television documentaries.


08-10-2004, 02:58 PM
I reply to your topics John but you never seem to reply back.

Be open and blaze your own trail you might be surprised at what you find along the way.