living v dwelling


“A genuine liberal arts education will equip a person to live well in a place,” Orr wrote. “To a great extent, formal education now prepares its graduates to reside, not to dwell. The difference is important. The resident is a temporary and rootless occupant who mostly needs to know where the banks and stores are in order to plug in.” By contrast, “the inhabitant and a particular habitat cannot be separated without doing violence to both. The sum total of violence wrought by people who do not know who they are because they do not know where they are is the global environmental crisis…. Knowledge for the resident is theoretical and abstract, akin to training. For inhabitants, knowledge in the art of living aims toward wholeness. Those who dwell can only be skeptical of those who talk about being global citizens before they have attended to the minute particulars of living well in their place.” As this insignificant little piece goes live, I will be convening a class not around Bloom’s Closing but around the little-known works of David Orr, whose books I humbly commend to anyone who has indulged me thus far.

more from Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic here.