Transcendence and the Flanuer

In his exploration of the ‘imagined city’, Benjamin assigns particular importance to thresholds. Ancient peoples had access to numerous rites of passage, transition points and triggers for being jolted from one state of consciousness to another; from reason to myth.  Modern people have grown poorer in this regard, but Benjamin saw the perambulations of the flâneur as a contemporary equivalent; the practice of flânerie, in other words, can facilitate a way through significant psychological and spiritual thresholds.  In the same regard, Benjamin also referred to the power of advertising and its dreamlike quality; its capacity to link commodities with the human imagination.  Thus, in entering the world created by advertising, one passes through a threshold, thereby achieving a form of transcendence:

Modern idlers attempt a kind of partial transcendence – imitating the gods – that temporarily overcomes the shock experience of modernity.

Peter Buse, Ken Hirschkop, Scott McCracken and Bernard Taithe, ‘Benjamin’s Arcades: An Unguided Tour’

Seal, B (2016) Psychogeographic Review. Available at: http://psychogeographicreview.com/baudelaire-benjamin-and-the-birth-of-the-flaneur/ (Accessed 29/12/2016)

I believe this notion to be true, and my research touches upon this concept that modern people are less connected with a higher consciousness and that my pilgrimage will serve to reinforce and develop this connection with the natural environment. I don’t agree with the concept of advertising helping to achieve transcendence however, in fact, I would argue that advertising bombards the viewer with ideas about what he or she needs and how he or she should look, taking the viewer further away from reality thus further away from the ability to transcend.

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