Monday, July 14, 2014

Odds 'N Ends - An Alienating Home

A Generational Difference
The phrase "An alienating Home" comes from David Pearson's, "The New Natural House Book" as a way of describing how much different we live than our parents did. Except in the early urban environment, where solid masonry, flat roofs, hot pavement and no trees prevailed, our parents were more in tune with "climate, land, indigenous materials and traditions". Simultaneous with the migration from country to city was a dependence on fossil fuels for year-round comfort and a shift in culture from "being" to "having" whereby one's "identity and status is through material wealth".

Pearson's words speak loudly for me as one who has been there and done that and is now "retrogressing" to a simpler lifestyle more in tune with my upbringing.  So much so, I am repeating his words verbatim for the remainder of the post on the chance that they will resonate with you as well..  I only wish that I had a few decades left to enjoy the new lifestyle instead of only a few years.

Loss of Individuality
The home can become a microcosm of this new society, displaying all of its alienating tendencies.   At the extreme, it can become merely a repository, a place of status; a place where the kitchen becomes the end processor of convenience foods; the living room a furniture showroom with TV and stereo.  And a garden can come to represent a ritual weekend tidying of nature with noisy polluting machines and the destruction of wildlife with a barrage of pesticides and herbicides.  

Each room in an alienating home is a sterile space filled with mass produced furniture and standardized objects that lack a personal history and increasingly are made of "dead synthetic materials".  Of the origins of these objects and of the people who make them we know less and less.  The influence of media advertising and current trends and fashions are so strong that our own needs and preferences are suppressed.  We have little time or inclination to create anything for ourselves and the loss of confidence in our own abilities to make and do things is also a loss of individual power. Relinquishing creativity in designing and furnishing our homes "to experts" diminishes and weakens us to the extent that our homes are no longer expressions of ourselves - no longer homes at all.  

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