This journey on 34 has led me to do some research on the topic of home in philosophy.
I often felt a connection to the Deleuzian concept of a body without organ, a wander dust and to what the Cynics meant when they said they where “cosmopolites”, citizens of the world. As far as we can only dwell in one place at any given moment, we also feel homesick for all the other places which only together, in their totality, constitute the worldliness of the world. So a philosopher can consider himself a cosmopolite and still feel homesick for the “cosmos”.
I had resigned the luxury of having a home for this journey, which coincided with a feeling of disconnection with the place that was my home for 10 years: London.
Interestingly it is in the german philosophers work that I found the most food for thoughts.
Many of the German phenomenologist deal with questions of home and connect it with the “uncanny, weird, creepy, spooky”- that’s because “unheimlich” apparently is connected to “Heim” which is ” home ” in German.
The word seems to suggest that everything outside of home is uncanny, weird.Hermann Schmitz, a much-neglected thinker of emotion and corporeality says in a book that dwelling has also the function of cultivating what he calls certain “abyssal feelings” or uncanny atmospheres. A home that completely lacks this cultivation of abyssal atmospheres lacks something, because it negates what is outside (the uncanny) too strictly.
Home is a place, or rather a space, we tend think immediately.
The expression feeling at home sends us back to something very warm and cosy.
Growing up I never experienced that feeling, I do not know what is to come home to a warm cosy loving home, mine was a dangerous, unsafe, tense and very uncomfortable one.Definitely “unheimlich”
As to feeling at home somewhere I developed a pattern where there are some very specific places I do feel at home, and they often have to do with places where the body is at the centre of attention, but a special attention. Where the body is put through its paces, and therefore grows and become stronger , at least feels alive! Gyms, or the outdoors are a place where we build ourselves, sometimes through destruction for reconstruction.I
remember the years where the boxing gym was more my home than where I spent, if I wasnt training there I was shooting the fighters training.
If I went to the park, it would be with my kettlebells.
I love to be around people who also take care of themselves physically and spiritually, it is a myth to think that appearances don’t matter ( I am not talking about magazine pseudo beauty here) but a certain beauty and happiness that comes from health and a healthy outlook on life through mind and body.
The body is I think our first home, this first place where we/ our soul can feel comfortable , alive grounded and secure.It is the boundary between inside and outside, on many levels. From the skin which is this surface with so many feedbacks, from the very pleasant ones to the not so pleasant ones, to our eyes, our sense of smell, our proprioception, and all the many cellular and biochemical reactions of our body and what we breath, eat, hear , taste etc etc. Thats not even mentioning all what lives inside of us, as some know we have more bacteria in us than many would like to admit.Most of them are good!
I went through a phase when I was younger and in that very toxic environment here I tried to make this body disappear , become transparent and weightless.There was also this idea of control that I could stay without any food and still continue to function, a lightness of being until a breaking point.
Then I discovered training and went through the opposite side of the spectrum and became obsessed with building strength and power. I had a military regime of training and zero tolerance for staying out of line when it came down to routines and nutrition and not allowing any of what i thought was toxic food in, I am made of what I eat and think .
This observations lead me to question one of my last attachments in life, the attachment I have in building strength, power.
I was basically building a shield, an armour, a fortress in my own body.
I had 2 consecutive car accidents a few years ago that shattered that shield completely, and led me to do a whole new journey inside.
I havent let go of this will to build a strong body and shield, but I had to deal with the vulnerability inside and I am grateful to have been able to do that.
No matter what shield you have if there is turmoil inside it is going ti affect it – just like in a home, what happens inside will affect the home and everyone in the home.
The body reminds me of the qualities of home.
Sometimes a home can look wonderful form the outside , but its foundations are shaky or inside is a real mess.
The body is our first dwelling, and maybe the most important one.
Everybody has heard at lets once : the body is our temple.
It has for me just taken a whole new meaning.