Passive Adventuring


‘It’s necessary to establish, as law,’ Mac Orlan said, ‘that adventure doesn’t exist. It’s only in the imagination of those who pursue it and is effaced when you believe you’ve found it; and when you hold it, it’s not worth looking at.’ Mac Orlan underscored the importance of adventure in the mind, of adventure we find in reverie, in meditative thinking, in apparently useless daydream. He isn’t fond of high-tech adventures. Too explosive, he says, too chemical, too noisy; they can’t retain people’s interest terribly long. Participants have to keep moving on, have to hear louder bangs, do riskier jumps, from greater heights, make ever more hazardous expeditions, up peaks, across deserts, through treacherous jungles, over virgins lands, you name it.  It’s all distraction, all leisure, getting away from everything, forgetting, at least for a day, maybe for a week. A vacation, if you’re lucky.

And yet there exist other kinds of adventures and other kinds of adventurers: people less active, more pensive types and reflective types, who discover — and invent — adventures in quite library alcoves, down back alleys, on barstools, in front of the fire, in their interior life; maybe with a donkey somewhere, going slow, perhaps even in a field watching your tail swish about, Gribouille. Between each swish, in the blurry zone between what is real and what is imagined, we find true adventure, what Mac Orlan called passive adventuring.

–Andy Merrifield from The Wisdom of Donkeys, p 165


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