17.09.12, 11:35 AM

People say travel broadens the mind. But this is not quite accurate: the experiences one has while traveling do the broadening, not the mere displacement of one's body through space. But then it is the mental aspect that constitutes the benefit. And presumably this has to do with the richness and novelty of the experiences and thoughts that physical travel occasions. But couldn't one have just such beneficial experiences and thoughts without physically moving? Couldn't the mental adventure of travel be duplicated by staying put and adventuring mentally. It is said Kant never traveled from his home time of Konigsberg, but in fact he traveled very widely--in his own mind. Kant was a world traveler! Intellectual stimulation, or aesthetic experience, or moral refelction (and living), are all forms of mental travel. The dull-minded traveler learns little from hurtling through space, but the stationary thinker whose mind is free can learn an enormous amount. What broadens the mind is mind travel.

6 comments 6 comments ( 745 views )

No UserpicSarah
26.02.13, 04:13 PM
I think traveling and seeing new places that you have never seen before (other than reading about them, seeing postcards,or watching documentaries or imagining them (!) has an enourmous impact on someone\\\'s mind. Imagining a tasteful cake is not the same thing as eating the cake. I used to think that it is enough to imagine. But it is just not the case. I saw documentaries of a place or another before going to that place and thought, oh, it will be nice to go there, and I also imagined what it will be like to visit that place. But going there makes a huge difference. It is not just what you imagined, it is a lot more, the people, smell,feeling something different from that place, city, all these did not exist in the mind before going there,I could not imagine them. They are not familiar. I tend to think that we imagine things that are familiar to our mind or we make them familiar. This might has little or nothing to do with the way things are in reality.

No UserpicPauline
26.01.13, 10:15 AM
As Marcel Proust said: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes".

No UserpicMacNova
22.01.13, 03:57 AM
One word Television

No UserpicKai Welp
09.11.12, 04:39 PM
There is a third possibility. Someone travels across the whole universe in an dark, empty space capsule - he never had an experience of the world but knew everything about every elementary particle in the universe a human being could possibly know. Could he enjoy his trip or is he just a modern Space Kaspar Hauser...

No UserpicMissFern
21.09.12, 05:09 AM
As you say, the "broadening" of travel comes from the experiences of travel, from interaction with other thinking beings and new stimuli. What if we never went anywhere at all or had any interaction other than with our own mind? What would we have to work with? Could we go anywhere? And if there was some base knowledge there to start us off on our journey, would we reach a point at which no further broadening could occur - where we exhausted the reaches of our mindscape and new input was necessary to "travel" further?

Besides, might it not get a bit lonely in there? And wouldn't you miss the street food?

UserpicColin McGinn
17.09.12, 09:14 PM
Thus a brain in a vat could be as well traveled as Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus. And isn't there a case for the view that actual travel interferes with mental travel, because of all the waiting around and practical hassles? And what about all those boring travel stories people like to bore you with? Travel--greatly overrated.