Seven-League Dolomites.

May 15, 2024 By arne hendriks Off

After spending many summer holidays trekking through the Swiss Alps, Dutchman Roel Wouters decided that perhaps it was time to take his walking boots to the Dolomites. Upon entering the Italian mountain range something seemed out of wack. Time and space behaved differently here. Roel recollected walking for days through Swiss mountain passes, making only slow progress as he moved from peak to peak. Yet in The Dolomites it was as if his memories of Switzerland were fast-forwarding. In the Swiss Alps it had taken days to move from mountain to mountain but in the Dolomites it was as if he wore seven-league boots, passing over several mountains each day.

After contemplating this fundamentally altered experience it occured to him that the Dolomites and Swiss Alps have a very different environmental rhythm to them. Swiss mountains have greater height and size and are far apart. The Dolomite peaks didn’t reach the same heights but were cropped much more closely together. Distances between peaks were shorter, as they towered over those walking among them, confusing our understanding of scale. This condensed experience created a sense of acceleration of both time and space that triggered the estrangement Roel Wouters had felt. We call this experience of spacetime the Dolomitian Acceleration. As we as humans become taller, the planet in comparison becomes smaller, and as a result we’re speeding though time and space, having less of both.

Instead, shrinking the human species could inspire an Alpine Deceleration, defined by an experience of increased time and space.