Place, Experience, Meaning

A reader sends in a story of people rediscovering the importance of community:

While a lottery and crowdfunding are not the same financial mechanisms, both funding models ask the public to invest financially and emotionally.

…The opera house has come to define Sydney’s identity. It illustrates the potential for culturally significant buildings (including heritage places) to be anchors for communities formed by psychological bonds to places and their stories.

Sociologist John Urry suggests communities are formed by attaching “conceptions of communion” to topographic spaces. Social media have influenced and arguably accelerated this process of community formation by enabling psychological links between people, places and associated ideas and stories.

This presents two points of the triad: places, experience and meaning. The “conceptions of communion” refer to the idea of social importance to places, but this must extend further to the third point, which is that social importance must invoke culture, and culture in turn points toward greater values for which one might sacrifice, which is the experience of meaning for human beings.

Our older concept of “blood and soil” mentions the concept of meaning through culture as connected to place. The blood is the root of the culture; the soil is the place where it arose; from that combination, the third leg of the triad can be derived, which is meaning, which returns the thought process to the individual: meaning gives guidance and purpose to individuals, which is why they need these things.

Modernity is defined by being essentially an individualistic time, arising from the declaration of The Enlightenment™ that “human reason” was replacing natural law and hierarchy of ability, which meant that the individual was more important than reality as a whole, or society as a whole. Too late we are finding out that this stripped meaning from us, and leaves us fumbling to reconnect.

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One Response to “Place, Experience, Meaning”

  1. -A says:

    The midlings are trying to revel in the meaninglessness. They are trying to find as many other people as they can to agree with them. It is a depressing last stand of their ego investment. Personally, I put more value in beautiful architecture than pseudo-mysticism. Anybody who has sentimental feelings about the place they grew up knows. I would think that everybody does and for one reason or another try to suppress or kill it. Whenever I visit where I grew up, the air itself just seems sweeter.

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