Monday, 21 March 2011

Habitat and habitus

From "The Solace of Fierce Landscapes" by Belden Lane: "Aboriginal peoples traverse the sacred landscape by following invisible songlines, singing - as they walk - the songs first sung by their ancestors in an ancient dreamtime beyond memory. They name (and 're-create') every characteristic of their hard and thirsty land - rocks, caves, desert brush, and waterholes - through the habitus, or ritualised way of perceiving reality, they bring to it. The know that to 'dwell' in a place creatively over an extended period of time is to conduct oneself according to a custom or habit that draws meaning from the particularities of the environment." In our post-Enlightment technological society, we have no connection "between habitat and habitus, where one lives, and how one practices a habit of being. Our concern is simply to move as quickly (and freely) as possible from one place to another. We are bereft of rituals of entry that allow us to participate fully in the places we inhabit."

In some small way, observing the environment and writing this blog is one ritual of entry into Mucknell, for me and I hope for the members of the community who read it. Lane quotes Ortega y Gasset: "Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I will tell you who you are." In his guest post, Philip described another ritual, that of reciting the Divine Office several times a day. This week I am ringing the bell to summon all to Office, perhaps also the whole of the estate to join us in our offering.

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