I did the 7 mile hike in a few hours, without a podcast or a song. About 20 minutes in, I forgot that I wasn't piping audio into my skull, and it turned out to be one of my favorite hikes. Made me realize that 1) I'm probably addicted to podcasts, and 2) these kind of activities are more enjoyable if you're _really_ present for them. I spent the rest of the day without my AirPods in, and I wish I did that more often.
I guess it depends on what you mean by present. I've done many 3-10 hour hikes and being "present" usually just meant, "God, how many fucking thousands of feet more do I have to climb? My body hates all of this."
I like walking. I walk a lot. I've never in my life worn headphones while doing so.
There’s also the subreddit /r/imaginarygatekeeping for bizarre refutations of non-existent arguments like this one.
Why does HN always do this? They'll see that the article is an opinion piece and instantly go on the defensive. Inferiority complex maybe?
I wouldn’t have that issue if the title were “why you should ...”
Edit: furthermore, there were times and places where “just taking a walk” was taboo. (See the Ray Bradbury short story  or the Mad Men episode where they freak out at the woman who says she does it.) So I chafe at the false implication that we’re in such an era, if the author isn’t going to back up such a claim.
I think this has a prerequiste of being well adjusted mentally. I never walk without headphones, my mind wanders into a panic attack thinking about all sort of things. So much so that I fear walking.
Be 10X. Always Be Doing. Hustle. Have a Side-hustle. Be More than You Are Or You’re a Failure. How Not To Be An Introvert. Influencers.
The Casey Neistats of the world who seemingly are productive and marketize in their sleep (example only, he might be an OK guy).
So, no one seems to outright say “walking in silence is bad”.
But they sure imply it.
1) you may not hear vehicles, people, animals that pose a risk. If you're in a bad part of town, some bystanders may take you as a target.
2) listening material is a distraction. Whether books-on-tape or music, what you're listening to can effectively distract you. Ergo the occasional earphone user who walks onto an open manhole.
Best to stay in the here-and-now. Earphones are just like drinking or taking drugs as far as safety is concerned.
It is unwise for at least two reasons:
3) beyond that, the listening material is a distraction. Whether books-on-tape or music, what you're listening to can effectively distract you. Ergo the occasional earphone user who walks onto an open manhole.
Best to stay in the here-and-now. IOW earphones are just like drinking or taking drugs as far as safety is concerned.
Driving while wearing headphones is outright illegal in France,  and some US states .
 (PDF) https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-saf...
People who do that know it is extremely bad, but it’s “this or something worse”. At least in the immediate time.
Of course I’d love if people actually had the solidarity they pretend to have, but they don’t. The world is not a kind place. And so, there are many people like me, who appear kind and peaceful and well-mannered, and who work constantly to calm their internal boiler. So no reason to try to make me remove my headphones (unless one addresses me on the street - there are politeness rules)
Also, it is very frustrating when people “try to give you a lesson” by walking towards you as if you didn’t see them. It’s headphones, not a blindfold. People don’t do that when I have a book while walking.
As a summary, my life is pretty much like the movie “Her”. I’ve tried not to be lonely and faced with people being insanely frustrating/angering. So I’ve embraced loneliness and mobile phones. It’s like drugs, slightly better because I still work efficiently.
Before covid this bothered me immensely at work, where it was that much more difficult to get someone’s attention in common spaces.
In my day job we use slack as the primary means of communication, sometimes the person at the desk next to you will set themselves as away/sleep notifications and pop on headphones - this is usually an attempt by them to focus on a problem. I think it's particularly common with more senior employees that tend to get lots of questions where, for me at least, I have no objection to questions but I want the freedom to handle them in my own time (usually within a half-hour or so, not days later) since that allows me to maximize my personal productivity.
So I very much empathize with folks who occasionally pop on headphones at work - even if they aren't listening to music but just using it as either a visual signal or to leverage sound canceling.
As a dev I'd often pop on headphone when working in the office even without music when I was working on a serious chunk of logic - I'm on the senior end of things and get lots of questions and sometimes you really get into a groove and want to focus.
Common spaces are kitchens, bathrooms, lounges, etc. Places where in-person interaction will likely be necessary for physical coordination and sharing purposes.
I agree with your sentiment pretty strongly then.
I would argue that every non-targeted activity still has some end, however unconscious or hard to measure. If your goal is to be a good father, doing a puzzle with your toddler is one tiny piece of that goal, however mindless/mundane it may feel.
Sometimes I think that our brains are like rock tumblers, and that even something seemingly worthless like zoning out in front of a TV can serve a purpose to take a particular edge off one of the rocks we've got tumbling around. The trick is figuring out when we're done wearing that edge and should spur ourselves to do something else.
What would count as evidence against this position? (Nothing, seems to me.) I mean, if someone believes the contrary, what could you or they conceivably do to decide the question?
Running around in circles.
Just live your life so that you can eat and sleep well. Everything else is just a scam.
All of us who have to walk in the concrete jungle and deal with the nonstop cacophony of ambulances, construction, and speeding cars zooming past the sidewalks can just get fucked, I suppose.
If that's true, you may need to reconsider your goals.
(ie making love has "no goal"? what kind of relationship does this describe?? end goal for sex for some people is orgasm, for others it's to make their partner happy, for even others, it's to bond and have a closer, more intimate relationship, for others, it's to work out physically and have fun)
I'd do a puzzle with my toddler since my goal is to make my baby interested and happy.
I'd play a piece of music to entertain the idea that my goal is to be able to read sheet music.
There is nothing without goals. The goals this person has needs to be reconsidered.
There is no wrong in doing things “just because I want to”.
What a dreadful way to live.
I personally think that the philosophy of action comes down to desires in every case - any act you take is taken because a tally board in your brain weighed a number of alternatives and came out with that act as the winner. That tally board isn't observable and may contain a lot of factors that you would never consciously place there (see, for instance, physical ticks) but at the end of the day the machine known as you decided that that action was the best to execute.
> So I’ll heed Pascal’s advice – and ditch the AirPods during my next beach walk.
but the author is advocating against that. That was just an example of how people try to make everything productive. It is actually in favor of atelic activities.
Have to say I really don't like the writing style where every paragraph consists of a single sentence. There seems to be more and more of this style going around, but it hinders readability. It's not as bad as a wall-of-text article that uses too few paragraph breaks, but it's still poor style.
The most liberating moment was when I learned to say "I don't care about that" to people with flyers, while keeping on walking