Friday, May 15, 2009

Evenings

"The best way, while dreaming, to catch the afternoon in the net of the evening is to make plans"

Or so says the flaneur according to Walter Benjamin. In my critical theory class we are studying The Arcades Project, which has turned out to be brilliant. Benjamin did a archaeological/anthropological study of the Parisian arcades during the 19th C., examining the rise of consumption and capitalism and their perverse affects on culture. Anyways, I've been thinking a lot about this particular quote in relation to my own existence, mostly because things in my life have been relatively static as of late. I feel that this quote speaks to the concept of taking life by the bridle and milking it for all it is worth. Benjamin views the afternoon as this idle time of day, most people, or at least the flaneur, are experiencing a mental lull. The solution to this, he says, it to make plans. Obvious? Perhaps. Simply? Well, not so much. Planning takes time and effort that we often can expend, and while I value my very structured days, sometimes we are side swipted by what we weren't expecting. I would also argue that Benjamin's interpretation of night and day is reversed. Evenings are usually less structured, and it always seems that anything is possible within them.

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