Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Soul finds pleasure in its material reflections

James Hillman and Thomas Moore write about soul's need to see itself in our physical environments. Two recent unrelated posts refer to Moore's observations about this need. W. Arthur Mehrhoff, academic coordinator of the Missouri University Museum of Art & Archaeology, writes, "Museum preserves cultural memory" in which he introduces his guardian angel, a terra cotta architectural feature from his childhood  – "This beautiful winged figure was created by the Winkle Terra Cotta Manufacturing Company of my hometown, Saint Louis, and once adorned the 1898 Title Guaranty Building in downtown Saint Louis." While advocating for the value of preserving historic buildings, Mehrhoff incudes:
"Psychologist Thomas Moore writes that “the soul is always searching for itself, and takes great pleasure when it finds itself mirrored in the material world.” Not everyone gets a second chance in life, so each morning the academic coordinator (that would be me) pays heartfelt respects to my own goddess of Memory.

Because of the Museum of Art & Archaeology’s commitment to preserving our cultural memory, I find my soul mirrored in its material objects through a most astonishing and inspiring alchemy. I also feel extraordinarily blessed to share the enchantment of our lavish heritage with a new generation of students and to help them reconnect to that great heritage in the wake of disenchanted development. I invite you to come to the museum and find that missing piece of your own soul …"
The museum is in Pickard Hall on Francis Quadrangle, Univeristy of Missouri, at the corner of Ninth Street and University Avenue in Columbia, Missouri.
Pickard Hall, University of Missouri

In "Back to the high street", Jane Jose writes about this fourth dimension of public space while attending a conference in Adelaide:
"The conference drew a new generation of devotees of the idea that big box shopping centres are not the key to making the places people feel good in. A young team from Adelaide, Ianto Ware and Lara Torr, who have started a business called renew Adelaide – caught my attention. Using an idea sent to them on social media they mobilised young people and found a vacant shop in Adelaide’s West End and negotiated with the owner George Kambitsis to use the property to set up a “ lounge room in the city “ for young people. The Reading Room, complete with recycled furniture, a library of books, music and games opened to a packed crowd. It was set up with a meagre budget of $500 by volunteers who all connected through social media. It’s a great example of the fourth dimension, the people stuff mattering more than the first, the property development.  It has imagination, creativity and authenticity."
Jose shares:
"It is this humanity of places that is in the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension of place making puts emphasis on people, community, culture and connection. US writer Thomas Moore’s quote from his book Soul Mates gives a useful kind of definition to the fourth dimension: “While soul is what allows us to make intimate connections and so create community – even a global and universal sense of shared life – it is also responsible for our most profound sense of individuality and uniqueness. Those two – community and individuality – go together. You can’t have a genuine community unless it consists of true individuals, and you can’t be an individual unless you are deeply involved in community.” In all my work in place-making emphasis is on the individual and his or her particular local “world”. For me the fourth dimension is really the first dimension."