Thursday, September 11, 2008

Xeroxed Landscapes

Thomas Moore, one of my favorite writers and philosophers says the following about Place in his book The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life:

"A peculiarly modern way of violating a place is to construct homes and businesses without regard for traditional local forms of building and decorating. Some architect working in an abstract building on an abstract street comes up with an efficient plan, and then the plan is copied all over the world. In the 'Xeroxed' landscape, where all people and places look alike, we can't find our way, but worse, we have no signs indicating the spirits that give a place its soul. We patronize cloned restaurants and clothing stores, but the individual shop with an independent owner perhaps speaks more fully to the soul. If a place doesn't have its own spirit, we can't enter into dialogue with it, and so we treat it as a lifeless object, and it treats us, too, as an abstraction -- one customer among many, a subject, a number."


Anonymous said...

Hi Marilyn,
Thank you for bringing this Thomas Moore quote to our attention. If you'd like to explore this topic further with people interested in Thomas Moore's work, please check out Barque: Thomas Moore Forum, at, a free network (registration required)associated with a blog called Barque: Thomas Moore, dedicated to Moore's writings at .
All the best,

Our Founders said...

I certainly will do. Thomas Moore, perhaps more than any writer I've read, captures why "Place" is so vital to human well being. I admire him tremendously.