That’s how we came to start a school called HOME. When people ask us what kind of school it is, the first answer has always been, ‘It’s a school that starts from the conversations that happen around our kitchen table.’ It matters that it’s the kitchen table, because these are the conversations that happen in the room where the cooking and the washing up get done. ‘When people start to wake up to the assumption of separability,’ I remember Vanessa Machado de Oliveira telling us one time around that table, ‘there’s this desire to rush out the door of the house modernity built, into the garden, to feel connected to all the beauty of the living world.’ But there’s something missing here, she went on: a willingness to feel our connection with what is going on in all the other rooms of the house of modernity; not least where the dirty work is being done, who is doing it, and the ways it has been kept out of sight.
And as I write this, I think again of Eno’s definition of culture and see it from another angle. For in some sense, all human cultures are riffs on the same theme: living and dying, eating and getting eaten, the feast and the funeral. Comedy and tragedy cycling like night and day. For a while, we rolled out street lamps and sat in front of screens at all hours and the stars hid themselves, like animals retreating into the forest from our noise. We outsourced the growing and making of food and kept the dying out of sight lest any of these things spoil our appetites. But when the street lamps start to go out – as they did in many European cities this winter – we find the old rhythm still there, however much damage we have inherited, and so we have to find a way of adding our variations to all the others that humans have come up with in all the times and places where we have been human together.
Superb little essay by Dougald Hine in his newsletter.