Wednesday Quotes
Knowing the Place We Call Home
June 17, 2015


“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

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  1. This reminds me how important it is to distinguish between what I’ll call my employment and the work of my life. My employment takes place largely in some abstract digital neverland. My working life takes place in my home and my city.

    1. A. Soroka, I think you have expressed your point very well. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I think this also applies to taking “vacations” away from our day-to-day lives by “escaping” to tropical islands, exotic resorts, and luxurious hotels. While such breaks from the ordinary may be necessary at times (for both physical and mental health), I think it is dangerous to stray often from the place we call home. How can we expect domestic happiness from the place in which we live if we try to escape it so often?

    1. Discipula, You have a provocative assertion here. I think you are pointing to something very important. It seems there is a balance, and a proper approach to vacations in which they are not so much an escape but rather, when done in moderation and done well, an enhancement to how we live at home. Thanks for the thought.