the foot philosophy

 

I made a lifelong friend when I first moved to New York in my twenties.

He was a self employed printer then, living on modest means. He lived simply and was unassuming in appearance and manner.

He never cared about externals and has always dwelt, all day long, every day, in the realm of ideas. All of his ideas are his own, although he reads avidly, partakes of religion, and draws on inspiration from others, both in books and his circle of acquaintances. (He no longer lives in New York, but we keep in touch.)

He believes absolutely in the spiritual, in mysticism, and in bona fide psychics such as Edgar Cayce.

 

 

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As I have said, or at least implied, above, my friend lives by intuition. Once, in the 1970’s, we were in Albany together. My friend was staying with friends of his living in a small town nearby. We were taking a walk together and had just started to cross a large recently completed bridge with a pedestrian walkway. My friend turned around. “I don’t feel right about it, walking over this bridge,” he said. There was no discussing the matter with, no gainsaying, him.

My friend told me once or twice about how he used intuition — or mental processes of a non-rational cast that were even more elemental — to make spur of the moment decisions when in a quandary.

Say he couldn’t decide which bus or train to take, whether to go to a museum or the cinema, whether to walk uptown or downtown. He would go wherever, instinctually, his feet took him, follow his feet.

“I call it the foot philosophy,” he said with a smile. (He has his own philosophy and will develop his own vocabulary as necessary to go along with it. He calls cats “fur people.”)

 

 

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I had an experience today that brought the foot philosophy to mind.

I was going downtown on the number 4 train. I was intending to get off at the last stop in Manhattan, South Ferry, and take some early morning photos of New York Harbor.

The subway car was pulling into the City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge stop, which was three or four stops before my destination. I’ll get off here, I suddenly thought. I don’t want to go all the way downtown. I’ll get off here and walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. I exited and started walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, with the intention of walking both ways.

About ten minutes into my bridge stroll, my wife called my cell phone. She wanted me to be available for an activity she had forgotten to tell me about the night before. We hooked up in Brooklyn and took care of a task that needed to be taken care of, at that moment. We spent a pleasant and very productive morning together.

My friend would call it ESP.

And be pleased.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

  September 9, 2017

 

 

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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