But now, using GPS, we’ve interrupted that old rapport between our bodies and the earthly sensuous. We’re no longer noticing the patterns of the place we are in, registering the sounds and the smells and the shape of various landforms as we pass them—because we’re synapsed to the smartphone, taking directions from a device that’s taking its directions from a complex of thirty-two satellites orbiting the earth twelve and a half thousand miles above our heads! We no longer know where we are anymore without GPS to tell us; indeed, we no longer really inhabit our places, since we spend so much time living via satellite. That is painful, and sad—the forfeiting of something so primal, so precious, so intimately a part of us that we hardly notice it slipping away.
Sadder still, by using GPS we no longer experience the delicious delirium of getting lost in the woods or the mountains. And so we no longer experience the great heightening of our animal senses, the keen synaesthetic attention to the land’s every nuance and subtlety that is triggered by getting lost.