Helpful Lessons & Directions

Why is India a good place to walk, Tyler Cowen asks Paul Salopek as he retraces the steps of the first human migration.

India is good, Salopek says, because the people there have walked the walk.

“Whereas in motorized societies — and I’ve written about this — it’s pointless to talk to somebody in a car — if you’re on foot — about directions because the scale of their sense of landscape is limited to these strips of asphalt that are a few meters wide that wheeled vehicles can go on. Beyond that, it’s just this moving tableau that’s an abstraction.

“In India, people can tell you shortcuts. They can tell you where the best tree is to take a break, where the best temple is to sleep at night, where the next jug of water waiting the foot traveler lies ahead. India was marvelous. I felt among a brotherhood and sisterhood of walkers there.”

Paul Salopek, Conversations with Tyler

Our This Time is Different is about understanding this idea. Walkers and drivers travel through the same physical space but travel through different temporal spaces.

When there are different rules then this time is different.

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