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Getting Lost

maht91's picture

When I started reading "A Field Guide to Getting Lost" by Rebecca Solnit, I did have to read some pages more than once because I found myself getting lost at some parts. From our discussion in class today about what Solnit meant when she said on page 14: "Never to get lost is not to live," I had more time to think about it after class. I went back to page 14 and I re-read that paragraph. On page 15, she also says: "...Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves...Not till we are completely lost, or turned round...do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of nature." I agree with what Solnit is saying here because I think that people learn when they experience things they don't know. So when we get lost in our thoughts and ideas, that is, when we get lost intellectually, is when we discover our strengths and weaknesses, what interests us and what does not. During the first week of class, everybody seemed to have taken other English classes and were comfortable with engaging with the discussion. I was completely lost in the ideas that people were bringing and I was overwhelmed at some points, and I think that just challenged my thinking and I started thinking about ways to contribute to the class, so I could say in Solnit's words that I found myself and that helped me decide what to do next.  

Another idea that I found interesting is when Solnit said on page 25: "...all enquiry and all learning is but recollection." I feel that this ties back to what Shields argued in his book "Reality Hunger" that it is acceptable if you collect quotes from other people without citation because the ideas are in first place not their original ideas. Nothing is original and no one can take ownership of anything that has been said before. So as Solnit says, learning is a recollection of what you have heard/said before. 

During the map exercise today, I really liked the idea that no representation is complete, and that any place can be mapped infinite ways. I think this is true because, when I was asked to draw the map, I drew what I was feeling at that moment and what the world looked to me at that moment. So if I were asked to draw a map 5 years ago, I would have drawn it differently because it depends on how I would have been feeling during that time. So it is true to say that no representation is complete and you could draw your life from different angles (I think Shields did say at some point that you can tell your story from different angles).

One last thing about getting lost, if Solnit wants us to try to be lost, I think being lost emotionally is very horrible and it does not help us in any way. I have been emotionally "lost" many times especially last year, and it was just a bad experience and it did not help me in any way. so there are negative aspects of getting lost, specially if it were emotionally. 

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