What Your Home Says About You.
One of the most important and meaningful activities we’re ever engaged in, is the creation of a home. Over a number of years, typically with a lot of thought and considerable dedication, we assemble; furniture, crockery, pictures, rugs, cushions, verses, sideboards, taps, door handles, and so on, into a distinctive constellation we anoint with the word home.
Our homes will not necessarily be the most attractive or sumptuous environments we could spend time in, there are always places like hotels and other public spaces that may be a great deal more impressive. But after we’ve been travelling a long while, after too many nights in hotel rooms, we tend to feel a powerful urge to return to our own furnishing, an urge that has little to do with material comfort per se. We need to get home to remember who we are, and to be ourselves. Our homes have a memorializing function and what they’re helping us to remember is strangely enough, ourselves.
Our homes remind us of who we are
We can see this need to anchor identity and home, in the history of religion. Humans have, from the earliest days, expanded enormous care and creativity on building homes for their gods. They haven’t felt that their gods could live just anywhere out in the wild or as it were, in hotels. They’ve believed that they needed special places to be their homes, where their specific characters could be stabilized through art and architecture. These homes for the gods where dubbed temples.
Our homes are to us, what temples are to the gods
The temples have always felt dignified but approachable, rigorously balanced and logical, serene and poised. The ancients took such care over temple homes, because they understood the human mind. They knew that without architecture, we struggle to remember what we care about, and more broadly who we are. Just putting in words what the gods represented, wasn’t going to be enough on its own, there needed to be a house to bring the idea profoundly and continuously to consciousness.
Our homes stabilize our character
The same as it has always been throughout history for the gods, is true for our personal selves, our homes are our places of sanctuary, they define who we are; they are temples to us. We’re not expecting to be worshiped like the gods, but we’re trying to make a place that, like a temple, adequately embodies our personal values and merits.
Our homes embody our personal values
Creating a home is frequently such a demanding process because it requires us to find our way to objects that can correctly convey our identities. We get fussy because objects are in there own ways, all hugely eloquent. Two chairs that perform much the same physical role can articulate entirely different visions of life.
Putting a signature to your home
One chair, by the 20th century Swiss architect Le Corbusier, will speak of efficiency and excitement about the future, an international spirit, and impatience around nostalgia and a devotion to reason. The other by the 19th century English designer William Morris, will speak of the superiority of the pre-industrial world, the beauty of tradition, the appeal of patience, and the pull of the local.
Identifying the contents for your signature
An object ends up feeling right, when it speaks attractively about qualities that we’re drawn to, but don’t quite possess enough of, in our everyday lives. The desirable object gives us a more secure hold on values that are present yet fragile in ourselves. It endorses and encourages important themes in us. The smallest things in our homes whisper to us, they offer us encouragement, reminders, consoling thoughts, warnings or correctives, as we go about making breakfast, or do the accounts in the evening.
Contents are determined by our personal qualities
The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilize and organize our complex selves. It’s not enough to know who we’re in our own minds, we need something more tangible, material, and sensuous to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities. We need to rely on a certain kind of cutlery, bookshelves, laundry, cupboards, and armchairs, to align us with who we are, and seek to be. We’re not boasting, we’re trying to gather our identities in one receptacle, preserving ourselves from erosion and dispersal.
Home: The physical container of our authentic selves
Home means the place where our soul feels it has found its proper physical container, where every day, the objects we live among, quietly remind us of our most authentic commitments and loves in life.
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