Back around Christmas 2013 I found that I was feeling increasingly hollowed out by trying to juggle (and often failing to juggle) commitments to family / working / city and inner life and I was increasingly curious to find out whether a rather tired 50-something husband/dad/teacher could achieve a more balanced, possible and positive relationship with life, love, work, art and the landscape.
I set myself the challenge of trying to define a set of attributes that might enable me to better understand, and hopefully, cope with the madness and general superficiality of modern living. I identified four broad themes that, for me, begin to articulate the essence of quality of life or my quiddity of life.
Quiddity – noun
the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual
feature or features:
Philosophy. the inward nature, true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory, etc.
something that exists, especially a spiritual or immaterial entity.
in essence, essentially; at bottom, often despite appearances:
For all his bluster, he is in essence a shy person.
of the essence, absolutely essential; critical; crucial:
In chess, cool nerves are of the essence.
In philosophy, essence is the attribute (or set of attributes) that make an entity what it fundamentally is, and without which it loses its identity.
Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the entity or substance has contingency, without which the substance can still retain its identity.
The concept originates with Aristotle, who used the Greek expression to ti ên einai (τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι, literally meaning “the what it was to be” and corresponds to the wonderful scholastic term quiddity. The phrase presented such difficulties for Aristotle’s Latin translators that they coined the word essentia (essence) to represent the whole expression.
Each theme can be explored individually and in more detail by clicking on the underlined links below:
simplicity celebrating paring down and the aesthetic of the essential, enamelware, corrugated iron structures, low impact living and sustainability…
seasonality celebrating the seasons and the stories and pleasures they bring; from sharing our season’s journeying inland by boat to trees and wood; from natural history to foraging & canal-side flora; from an annual calendar of water-related events & rallies; to exploring our connection to the land through earth, water, air & fire…
savouring celebrating the senses; stillness; and the slower pleasures of life…. from digital sunshine to Sheds and whittling sticks, from family life to free-time…
silence celebrating the unspoken word; through poetry and book reviews, photography, Silent Sunday Stories
and a fair bit of walking…
Or all of the above, which can be found in the Quiddity Notebook HERE.