to become a philosopher, start by walking very slowly.

Nicholas Taleb.

I do not have a favorite book, nor a favorite album, nor a favorite work of art. I do have a favorite city, Venice. And I also have a favorite film: The Great Beauty, which I have written about before.

The protagonist of the film is also my favorite; Jep Gambardella. Jep is a man of inaction. He displays his inadequacies with aplomb. He would never explain, nor regret. He truly wishes those around him well, while acknowledging with a fatalistic smile that the very same people would like nothing better than to see him fail.

But above all else, he walks slowly.

Watch each of these two clips from the film. Watch how Jep walks.

In the second clip, a trio of professionals run past on their morning scripted exercise before they go to their office. The disparity with the unhurried Jep is telling. They inhabit different worlds.

Jeb’s walk is characterized by a very slight nodding tilt of the head. He absorbs that which is around him. He is letting his brain relax and do its work. He is an observer in more ways than one.

In an age of mindless rush, of men jostling for position on the sidewalks, it is more than enough to take pause and go with the flow while remaining apart. I have practiced slow working. You will be surprised by what you see. And by what you come up with.

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