In the eighth chapter of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, on “inadvertent actions”, Freud recalls two occasions on which, visiting a certain building, he climbed a floor too high; the verb he uses is versteigen: “to become lost while mountaineering”. On both occasions, he deduces, a professional daydream was to blame: the first time, a feeling that he was travelling ever onwards and upwards; the second, a fear that he would be accused of “going too far”. The anecdote functions as an allegory of psychoanalysis itself: like Homer, Augustine and Dante before him, Freud knows that we get lost in order to discover ourselves, but also that sometimes we go looking in order to lose our way. Both Rebecca Solnit and Jenny Diski ask what it might mean to get lost in a world where those insights have hardened into cultural cliché. Can we still get lost without being forced to find ourselves too soon? Or stay at home and still stray far enough to remain interesting?

more from the TLS here.