Reclaiming Distance

Blog by Chris Chadburn

I've been thinking recently about how each of us enters into a unique set of distance relations - those between ourselves and other existing things. I realise that might not make sense but it should become clear in the next few sentences.

These distance relationships can be literal (the spatial distance between me and object a) or figurative (Ideological, spiritual, emotional, etc.) distances. Even our language has been shaped to describe these relationships - 'I feel really 'close' to you at the moment' or 'you seem really distant'. So this is what I've been thinking about, 'how we relate to things is measured through distance'.

I've found that we (read I) feel increasingly as though we (I) have little or no power to determine distance relations. Social media, mobile phones, cars and the internet mean I can never 'get away' from things, I lose the power to control my distance relations.

Possessing the power of control over these relations enables us to use distance to our benefit. We can put harmful things at a distance or bring ourselves closer to beneficial things and if we feel we lack this power our sense of freedom and agency is impaired. A perfect example of this in action is being 'tied down by one's job'.

The prevailing ideologies of our time also play into this scenario. They are so pervasive that we feel we cannot escape from their influence- we cannot 'put them at a distance'.  We feel as if this causes us to act/think in ways that do not accord with our true values and this hinders our sense of freedom to determine our own identities (which is rubbish!).

Due the unprecedented ease of accesibility to stuff we may also feel as if distance itself has become scarce- as if there is no distance to put between ourselves and bad stuff.

This is why I run!

The act of running remedies this sense of disempowerment by reminding us of our inherent power to alter distance relations. By using nothing other than the power of our minds and bodies we are able to substantially alter spatial distance relations, which by association makes us more confident and aware of our ability to alter distance relations in general.

Running also remedies the problem of the perceived scarcity of distance by enabling us to appreciate the true (rather than apparent) distance between places. Similarly in cases where we genuinely think or act in ways that go against the prevailing ideologies there exists real distance between ourselves and those ideologies, regardless of appearance.

The 'moral' of this story...

Simply, in being able to move, we possess the power to affect the distance relations in which we are constituents. The cost of moving may be so high that we choose not to, but the option is always open to us.



The full blog and thoughts of Chris can be found here:

A marathon isn't enough for Chris, instead he is taking on an ultra run to raise funds for SPEAK. You can check out his progress and donate here: