Saturday, May 04, 2013

Treadmill

Growing up in small-town Kalmar on the east coast of Sweden, running always meant to follow the shoreline and the seasons. These days in twenty-million Seoul, I run in an air conditioned basement on a treadmill. On the treadmill, if I raise my head, I can see a golden sign commemorating the visit to HUFS by Barack Obama and, in the mirror, Korean students struggling to bring discipline to their bodies. You do not have to be Slavoj Žižek to see that there is something fundamentally unnatural with this kind of environment.

Call it a “temporary dive” but today was worse than usual, I struggled to extend my sense of motivation, to make it last through those six kilometres and 30 minutes. My mind flickering like a television screen between channels, from morning windows high above lower Manhattan to Türkenschanzpark in the 18th district of Vienna. Fifteen minutes later it all turned black. Not miserable noir melancholy black, but simple emptiness, void. Yet, I am too much of a hobby psychologist to not be at least a bit fascinated by my own emotions; the fact that I do not normally feel like this. So, I kept running, the meter reached 6 km and I stepped down. The void was no more but it made me think again of social ontology, how the world actually appears to other people and to what extent it is only “broken” in an epistemological sense. Maybe I should go to church tomorrow to renew my faith in one possible set of answers to these questions.

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