Volume 1, Issue 2, Fall 2009
Feet Forbidden Here
This essay argues that in constraining travel to specific motorized vehicles, the Interstate Highway System’s transportation hegemony alienates humans from both mythic and existential dimensions of lived experience. By separating humans from encountering the environment through their indigenous connection to the earth, their feet, the highway system alienates them from what it means to dwell intersubjectively in a place. This alienation includes the loss of cultural memory rooted in place: the emptying of meaning that mythic symbolism and rituals create in habituating humans to dwelling in place. Freeway alienation severs human cooperation with the constituents of the environment that is necessary for creatively maintaining a healthy mutual habitat.