I get lost in my own inner philosophical world when I ride my bike. I don’t know, maybe it’s the scenery. Maybe it’s just all that fresh air rushing by, or the pulse of blood through every inch of my body. It gets me thinking, whatever it is.
And today, as I rode, I thought about motion. Have you ever tried to stand still on your bike and maintain balance? One might think that standing still is the safest way to be, that moving on a two-wheeled bit of aluminum at high speeds is the danger. But the truth is that you only have stability when you’re moving. When you stop, no matter how hard you try to stay upright, you’ll be putting a foot down to stop the fall eventually.
Maybe life is a bit like that. Standing still is deceptively comfortable, but it’s really the most unstable state in which one can be. Movement, motion, forward momentum–those are the soul’s lusts.
I tried to imagine a world with no motion, and it came to me that all of our senses–sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing–all of them require motion to convey anything to our minds. You only feel what moves against your skin. You only smell what wafts your way. Sight is light mercilessly barraging your eyeballs and hearing is vibrations and pressure changes stroking your eardrum. The chemical interactions that produce vibrant flavors is taste to your tongue. All of it requires motion.
So motion gives us stability and knowledge of the world. And attempts to stop motion are frowned on by nature. Inertia compels us in the directions we move. When I ride the switchbacks to the river my brakes remind me the whole way down how much work they do to stop my forward motion.
It makes me feel unstoppable and free, and I think that is something humans need to feel often.