Monday, January 5, 2009

Effort & Magnanimity of Spirit

In reading this blog, Harlan Finnemore identified an underlying theme, and his eloquent comment is worth highlighting because it helps distill other aspects of Place and our individual role in creating it:

"Our sense of place is directly proportional to the effort we as individuals exert to that end. Good examples of that are your recent quotes by John Ruskin and Eli Wiesel. I thought of this as I looked at the photo of the trim painting of the Union Jack Pub, which exhibited a love and pride in one's work. Show me a person who hates their job, feels lost in their community, or does not feel a part of their world, and I will show you one who is directing their thoughts and energy inward. [Whereas] a person who diligently directs their energies to helping others, improving their own lives, and doing a good job at whatever they set their mind, are creating PLACE. The place they create is directly proportional to the energy, direction and effort they devote. It is proportional to their magnanimity of spirit, their love for doing not just for themselves, but for the world at large.

It may be reaching, but our war of independence would not have been possible without a generous quantity of this spirit. Common cause between the colonies, volunteerism as evinced by fire departments, libraries, and self help societies (espoused by Franklin) as well as the postal service (also Franklin), societies like the Masons and others. The accepted thinking of the time held that those most fortunate had a moral obligation not just to themselves, but to benefit society at large."

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