Sunday, September 7, 2008

Genius Loci

The Romans had a firm belief that each place had a protector spirit. A spirit that would maintain and preserve the spirit of the place. There is in my view, a huge error in this logic. The place in its own right does not posses a spirit, rather, it draws on the spirit of the people who live, work, study, pray and die in that place.

When people whom we have known for a long time leave and travel to places far away where we cannot see them, the place should inevitably lose part of the source from which it would draw its character, however, our fondness of them, our respect for them and our adherence to their friendship does not waver, does not alter, how can that be answered by Genius Loci?

The answer is quite simple, the philosophy of Genius Loci has one chink in the chain, that namely is it places the premium on the place rather on the people, on the rock, plant, animal, architecture present, not on the soul which roams that place. People we admire, those who make an impression on us, those who make us understand life and tolerate its misfortunes are but part of our own conscience, therefore we cannot forget them for they are in essence part of us and we of them.

Alexandres Dumas, in his great novel The Count of Monte Cristo said that “Misfortune is needed to light the treasures of human intellect”. In no way could Enmand Dantes' departure from Chateau d'If have diminished his admiration and love to Faria for the old man was domiciled indeed in his heart. Edmond's departure form Chateau d'If allowed him to Having to part ways with a friend can be seen only as a misfortune, however, such a misfortune should be accepted, indeed, it is another avenue to light one's intellect so that one is deemed rich. Let wealth come not from Genius Loci, let it come from Genius Gens!!