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For every hour in front of the screen, we should spend an hour out in the real world. Otherwise our primary place of belonging becomes, more and more, the “no-place” called virtual reality, which reduces all of our experience to numerical data. Since we can’t escape the screen, let us at least use it as a window on the world instead of as a substitute for reality. And let us take care to deepen our connections to those living places that engage all our senses – our homes, our surroundings, our country. Our equilibrium – indeed, our very humanity – depends on it!


We come to a place by chance; we become of a place through the power of culture to overlay things and events with meaning and memories. Emily Carr’s paintings, for example, have the power to strengthen British Columbians’ connection to their mountains, their sky and their sea; a line of poetry can bring dead leaves to life. See that tree next to your house? You didn’t know what kind of tree...


“The home is one’s very first universe, one’s cosmos. If life begins well, it is because it begins by being enclosed, protected, wrapped warmly in the heart of the home. Before being thrown into the world, the newborn is laid in a cradle, enveloped by warmth. So it is no wonder that home ever after appears in our dreams as a great cradle of well-being, in which to be is truly to be...


How should we think of our bodies: as a bow? A sail? A harp? The bow is bent by an act of mind and will, the sail fills with the breath of desire, and mind, will and desire all act in harmony to produce the music of the harp. When the body can’t resonate to its internal music, it shrivels and shrinks into itself like a wounded plant, and the happy, active being in the world turns into...


The word “life” has two quite different, and inherently conflictual meanings. There is life as fact, something we can study objectively and scientifically, and life as quality, which we can only know subjectively, through lived experience. Academic discourse tends1 to focus on the former, reducing life to a series of measurable and predictable mechanical processes. But used colloquially, the...


Work can be a source of living connections. But not just any type of work. The work that connects is the kind we can throw ourselves into: work that fully engages our being and our talents and that contributes to the common good. It is work that leaves room for initiative and creativity – work that makes you want to sing! At the other extreme is task-oriented work that is dominated by...


As the roundness of early granaries and enclosures reminds us, the town was originally conceived of as female. A place of conviviality and of plenty, its inhabitants were nourished in body and soul, with food for the stomach, warmth and beauty for the senses, and conversation to stimulate the mind. It was also a place of safety that kept the hazards of the wild at bay. But what of our towns now...


Can we live without knowing that at least one person in this big, wide world cares for us, wants us to be happy, and would fly to our aid in times of need? We all need at least one unconditional relationship. Relationships come in two sorts: given and chosen. Given relationships, determined by birth and place, were the rule in traditional society. They were largely unconditional, but they...


Humanity – or post-humanity? We can belong to one or the other. Humanity is given to us, by God or by nature, but it comes with imperfection. Post-humanity – humanity enhanced by chemistry and technology – is something we choose, in the hope of bringing us closer to perfection. But it comes with a risk. By opting for perfection, we risk creating a world that does not tolerate imperfection...


When you lose a loved one, the whole world feels empty. And the reverse is also true: when you feel disconnected from the world, your connections to loved ones begin to wither. All our connections – to the world and to others – flow from the same gentle opening of our heart and soul. What you find in me that makes connection possible is our shared sense of wonder at the mystery of being....


Associations or teams are created to accomplish specific tasks. Communities, on the other hand, are where we are born, live and die. They are places of being more than places of doing, and are threatened when doing takes precedence over the simple joy of being together. And those who are likely to suffer the most are the most vulnerable members of community. A good indicator of the quality...





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Jacques Dufresne's

The editor of L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora and well known newspaper chronicler and philosopher, analyses actuality through the looking glass of Belonging.
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