Ario on Dwelling: Thoughts on "Dwelling Place"

Ario’s poetic and thoughtful blogpost

1. The “home and displacement” conflation stems from living in a land without borders. We are told that we journey, but have “ceased to seek.” Only our imaginations occasionally cause restlessness – a real look at the sea in her restlessness will confirm our identity and show that in our means, we are reconciled to our end.

2. Whether the use of a “means/ends” logic alone is problematic – that is what I think we need to address, and the post offers some clues as to how to think about this.

The problem of merely characterizing things as “this is what I need to accomplish, this is how I get there” could be that life is reduced to a series of tasks that need to be accomplished for goals that may or may not get done. I say “could be” because there might not be anything more to life than this. “Dwelling” is usually an attempt to say there is more to life, that there may be an active preserving which is less doing and more experiencing. For serious reasons we may be dismissive of goods that are dwelling-oriented – not only does modern capitalism seem to be contradicted in its positing of “enlightened self-interest,” but it isn’t clear that the intellect can come forth without aspiring towards something.

3. We are given hints of past problems (after all, we have “ceased to seek” when starting “Dwelling Place”) in Ario’s second paragraph. The sea in its noise, other ships, stars, and obstacles within the sea: that which is heard and that which is seen do not impact us. Presumably they were major causes for worry: much had to be anticipated. Now it looks like dealing with those problems is a matter of routine.

Either that or we’re suicidal, but that’s a trivial reading and unfair to the post. Especially since the key to us is that we’re checking our compass – we’re focused on direction, not on “what could sink us.”

4. But if we’re focused on direction, then how have we ceased to seek? What looks like a dismissal of the “means/ends” logic is actually an affirmation of it – experience alone counts for a lot. All of us who have grown older know this: our minds might be a little slower, but we see more. A lot more. And we deal with issues implicitly without all the drama.

I think the last paragraph, the internalization of the depth – one drinks wine that is like the sea itself – does allude to a way the “means/ends” logic could have been less torturous, prior to the gaining of experience. We move from the water to the boat to the sky and all is silent because the end has been achieved. In the most serious sense, the end has to be achieved in some way prior to the execution of the means, otherwise we will not be sane enough to even strive. It is not possible to conceive of someone who is in no way attuned to his own higher good: dwelling is the prerequisite for action, and the place all of us need to return to, as motion depends on rest.

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1 Comment

  1. Heh. Thanks for this, Ashok. It’s kind of motivating to read such a reply at a time when I’ve felt rather fed up and frustrated with my blogging.

    I will get back to this properly time permitting.

    I agree, though, that the conflation of home and displacement is a false one. But one that seems to me – presently – to be an elementary dichotomy to human experience. Are we settlers or nomads? It obviously depends on the time and the circumstances. But my feeling is that this is often forgotten. That essentially we are both. That borders are illusionary. But, then, what are we without borders? We lose ourselves in a world without frontiers where our dwelling place, or even our home, can be anywhere.

    These were some of the thoughts that started this post. And, I am very glad that you don’t consider me suicidal ;)

    Sorry, rushed comment, I hope this makes halfway sense. Hope you are well.

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