“He who intends to practice economy aright ought to be fully acquainted with the places in which his labor lies…” Aristotle, Economics
Aristotle often provides us with simple, practical insights. In words redolent of the works of Wendell Berry he directs our attention to place. Place matters. Too often we try to live our life in abstraction from the places—the homes, the neighborhoods, the fields, the bodies of water, the woods, the mountains—in which and from which we live.
Human life is always in some place. It takes its character and sustenance from that place, and leaves its mark, for better or for worse, on that place. Aristotle directs those who practice ‘economy,’ or household management, to be especially cognizant of the places in which they labor, in which they make a home and make a living.
Wherever we live and work is our place, our home. We belong to it, and it belongs to us. A fitting summer resolution, in the spirit of Aristotle, is to invest ourselves in the place we call home, beginning by getting to know it better: its plants, animals, history, topography, soil types…
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The work cited, ‘Economics,’ is attributed to him, but might have been authored by his students.
Image: Carl Larsson