home | house

(The Dazzle Dream and I have been discussing this recently...)


DD doesn't like the idea that marriage is an institution - that's the way some like to describe it - and part of a discussion I'm having with the Brown Paper Bag crew about institutions and asylums.

Marriage is about a relationship. It is relationship, She says.

Then why did we get married at all? I ask. Since we could've a relationship without the formalities of marriage (as understood by any of the vested institutions - the government, the church perhaps, and even our broader family).

My thinking here is that any answer will be an institutional answer. We got married to be recognised in the eyes of family, state and the divine. A public show.

And it becomes harder to untangle such a relationship. Easier to end a De Facto than get a Divorce. She adds. But the reasons that this social glue exists as a sticky inertia are all institutional factors. I reply. The legal, financial, social, bureaucratic hurdles exist only because it the institutional frames in which a marriage exists.


We turn out attention to the family. To home and house.

We come up with the idea that 'house' means all the physical and social management that goes into providing shelter, clothing and food for those in the house. House is the hard and soft infrastructure, which can be managed well or poorly. That's actually the original definition of economics. The good management of the house.

But house speaks nothing of relationships. Or nothing beyond relationships of management and resource exchange. We want to run a good house, to provide the resources and materials we think are needed and desired by those in our house.

Without a house, of any sort -- and clearly house does not need a suburban dwelling or rural property or urban abode -- there can be no home. Because without the resources to live and function there is no material basis on which to have a relationship. House is the agricultural, sedentary form of eating-sleeping-making-babies. Camp is the mobile, nomadic form. Nest the insectile form.

But home is not the house. To think of house as home is to ignore the relationship for the institution. To mistake institution for relationship. To think that institution is all there is or should be or can be. But the concentration and distribution of resources for a constituency is not all there is. There is home.

Home is the relationship of the human creature in burgeoning love with one another. Love being the making of room for the becoming of our being in whatever flow happens to happen. Making room includes making room for one another and thus any making room is always a negotiation of multiple becomings and flows. It's not like anything goes, but a space in which the possibility of anything going is present as a question to determine.

Home can't happen without some form of house. Home needs house.

So we come up with the idea: that house is for the home. Not the other way around. When house becomes more important than home, home disappears, house rules and love is gone. Thus, bad.

One can thus feel at home in many different houses, and feeling not at home in the house they spend most of their time in.


Consider the kitchen-dining-table. The pantry-fridge-cupboard-table is an institutional space. It is the set of physical vessels for the concentration of eating resources (food, cutlery, crockery) which under the management of those who operate the kitchen come to be distributed to those eating in the house. A family meal ensues. But imagine the house ruling over the home. Eat up! Finish your meal! Or else! Follow the rules, whatever cost! Suddenly the desire of the creature to live and grow and flow with appetites and hunger and taste is replaced with being managed.

(The conversation continues online...)


DD and I were chatting about related stuff soon after, and were coming up with the phrase: 

Caring through form, but not about form. 

Form is house, and caring about house (over home) is not caring, yet caring (home) can only happen through form (requires house)... also, a friend of mine also suggested home as 'haven' which I liked too...


The Bright Monk: 

If a house cannot provide all the physical needs of existence then this deprivation can lead to deprivation in love and home.A house can set the boundaries for our emotional securities.this is no matter what kind of house. house is made home by phyisical and emotional imprints. home is also made house by these things.what we bring to a space and what we take from a space is crucial to understanding our relationships. in home i take emotional safety and contentment in house i take food and physical safety. house is only managed by the manager as much as home is. to live more for the house is denying truths in the home. to live more in the home can also deny truths in the house.for example: to much emphasis on cleanliness can make life rigid and over controlled denying fun and spontaneity. But not enough cleanliness can cause the stress of being unable to find things, illness and worry with physical clutter. But that is also personal and dependant on what we bring to our house and our home.

Double Blue Flame: 

Bright Monk, I like the first sentence; well summed as "in home i take emotional safety and contentment in house i take food and physical safety." Also really like: "to live more for the house is denying truths in the home. to live more in the home can also deny truths in the house" But regards house setting boundaries for emotional securities, what do you mean there? Also, I'm thinking that only house is 'managed' and that the relationships, love and emotional connection of home is something that cannot be achieved by 'managing'. House is the outcome of (good) management, but home is the outflow of (good) ........     And what is this ........ ?



RELATIONSHIPS | ASSOCIATIONS ... Associations are the lesser simple form of relationships - things/houses have associations - people/homes have relationships

Double Blue Flame:

That's nice, Thor. you seem to have intuitively come up with a schema that is, now that I think about it, much like the phenomenologists, esp dear old German Heidegger. Human being lives 'in' the world differently to things existing 'in' the world. Human being is an involved-in (ie, what you mean by relationships) and things exists as contained-in (physical containers, expanse etc - maybe what you mean by associations). Later in his life he is very concerned about the modern condition of technology (one could also say an increasingly global capitalism) and the way it treats everything as resources. To marrying this with the home|house idea, he would be saying that the earth, which is our ultimate home (dwelling, earth, well-spring) is come to be managed as a set of resources to use simply for human ends forgetting it as a home in the process.


Earth is a house also... Actually you do know relationships are the whole point of our existence? God wanted other than just compliant angels to exist alongside etc.

Double Blue Flame: 

Yes, earth is house also not just home. Probably the problem for Heidegger (and many others no doubt) is when earth is treated just as house, and not home. What's more, a house with an unlimited pantry! (as opposed to earth as having finite resources, barring the sun's radiation, which is more-or-less infinite, since it will be around for millions of years)...

As for the whole point of our existence. This is where all this discussion, and all the dyads (of positive difference | negative difference) leads to, should lead to. What you are saying, in mono-theological terms is: Home is the point, not house.

I'm keen like you to also consider other scales of existence, like our cells, the earth, brains, rocks, mountains, galaxies, clouds whatever. But not sure that 'cell's are where the human creature resides. Of course we have cells, but it's not the relationships of our cells that 'we' have relationships (cells-and our bio-mass more generally are the house for the home our of being?)

Or ask it like this: what is home|house at the level of cells?