What Your Home Says About You…

What Your Home Says About You…

One of the most important and meaningful activities we are
ever engaged in is the creation of a home. Over a number of years, typically with a lot
of thought and considerable dedication, we assemble furniture, crockery, pictures, rugs,
cushions, vases, sideboards, taps, door handles and so on into a distinctive constellation
we anoint with the word home. Our homes will not necessarily be the most attractive or sumptious environments we could spend time in. There are always hotels
or public spaces that would be a good deal more impressive. But after we have been travelling
a long while, after too many nights in hotel rooms or on the beds of friends, we typically
feel a powerful ache to return to our own furnishings, an ache that has little to do
with material comfort per se. We need to get home to remember who we are. Our homes have
a memorialising function, and what they are helping us to remember is, strangely enough,
ourselves. We can see this need to anchor identity in matter in the history of religion.
Humans have from the earliest days expended enormous care and creativity on building homes
for their gods. They haven’t felt that their gods could live just anywhere, out in the
wild or as it were in hotels, they have believed that they needed special places, temple-homes,
where their specific characters could be stabilised through art and architecture. For the Ancient
Greeks, Athena was the goddess of wisdom, rationality and harmony and in 420 BC, they
completed a home for her on the slopes of the Acropolis. It wasn’t a large home – about
the size of an average American kitchen – but it was an exceptionally apt and beautiful
one. The temple felt dignified but approachable. It was rigorously balanced and logical, serene
and poised. It was its inhabitant artfully sculpted in limestone. The Greeks took such
care over Athena’s temple-home because they understood the human mind. They knew that,
without architecture, we struggle to remember what we care about – and more broadly who
we are. To be told in words that Athena represented grace and balance wasn’t going to be enough
on its own. There needed to be a house to bring the idea forcefully and continuously
to consciousness. Without there being anything grandiose or
supernatural in idea, our homes are also temples. It’s just that they are temples to us. We’re
not expecting to be worshipped; but we are trying to make a place that – like a temple
– adequately embodies our spiritual values and merits. Creating a home is frequently
such a demanding process because it requires us to find our way to objects that can correctly
convey our identities. We may have to go to enormous efforts to track down what we deem
to be the ‘right’ objects for particular functions, rejecting hundreds of alternatives
that would – in a material sense – have been perfectly serviceable, in the name of
those we believe can faithfully communicate the right message about who we are. We get
fussy because objects are, in their own way, all hugely eloquent. Two chairs that perform
much the same physical role can articulate entirely different visions of life. Le Corbusier chair; William Morris chair
One chair by the Swiss 20th century architect Le Corbusier will speak of efficiency, an
excitement about the future, an international spirit, an impatience around nostalgia and
a devotion to reason. The other, by the English 19th century designer William Morris, will
speak of the superiority of the pre-industrial world, the beauty of tradition, the appeal
of patience and the pull of the local. An object feels ‘right’ when it speaks attractively about qualities
that we are drawn to, but don’t quite possess strong enough doses of in our lives day to
day. The desirable object gives us a more secure hold on values that are present, yet
fragile in ourselves; it endorses and encourages important themes in us. The smallest things
in our homes whisper in our ears, they offer us encouragement, reminders, consoling thoughts,
warnings or correctives, as we go about making breakfast or do the accounts in the evening.
Because we all want and need to hear such The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilize and organise our complex selves. It’s not enough
to know who we are in our own minds. We need something more tangible, material and sensuous
to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities. We need to rely on a certain
kinds of cutlery, bookshelves, laundry cupboards and armchairs to align us with who we are
and seek to be. We are not vaunting ourselves; we’re trying to gather our identities in
one receptacle, preserving ourselves from erosion and dispersal. Home means the place
where our soul feels that it has found its proper physical container, where, everyday,
the objects we live amongst quietly remind us of our most authentic commitments
and loves. Please do comment, like and subscribe and take a look at our shop for more from The School of Life.

100 thoughts on “What Your Home Says About You…

  1. Thank you for your support. Tell us below what aspect of your home best reflects you? We are leaving our home in March to run an event in San Francisco, if you would like to join us, please click the link below for more information: https://goo.gl/FpLg1i

  2. I think that's a very romantic way off saying you furnish with what benefits and grows your current and wanted traits

  3. Nailed this one De Botton! I've been creating a piece about how the home tells stories about our inner and outer lives, really resourceful for me to see this!

  4. I love your videos, but talking about our "soul" as though it is real has turned me off. This was the first magical reference I have heard. Maybe you meant it as metaphor, but because many actually believe we have a soul, continuing the use of the word can only encourage those of us who are reality-challenged.

  5. Athena is the goddes of war, wisdom and negotiations.
    When she was born she sprouted out of Zeus's head in full klad armor and spear.
    She favored the intelligent.
    Her devine counciling to Odysseus springs my favorite epic.

    Hestia is the godddess of hearth, home and architecture. She recieved the first offering of a new home.

  6. My home is a filthy mess like my life this has a great impact on my life 🙂 After I graduate and peruse a career. I'll establish myself as an individual. Thank you

  7. You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

  8. As a modernist and home fanatic this fab film pinpointed a lot of those issues around "identity" which creating a home fulfills. Very thought provoking, thank you.

  9. Ah frick, but I been moving houses constantly my whole life- [maybe um phht hell around 18 times idfk and I'm a teen now-] just moved this spring break ^-^ we keep a lot of house stuff, toss a bit, get a teeny more… everything always changes (but I like it that way ÙwÚ).

    So… what iS home? 🤔

  10. My home has a tendency to fill up with other people's spare furniture. This is a dangerous trend, because it avoids me doing the choosing bit. Mine has also suffered disruption from decoration – things were put away in boxes, but haven't come out again… Home is on hold. It is an expression of the mental turmoil within me.

  11. I have been bingeing on all things Alain de B or the past 24 hours now. It sounds like hyperbole, but my discovery of this genius' complete articulations of truths that respond to precisely the issues plagueing me for years has changed my life in one day. I had to stop and comment (something I have almost never done because I was sure it would never be read; and if it accidentally was read, it would be misinterpreted and open a portal for criticism. That alone might hint at the condition of my self and explain why Alain's talks have impacted me so strongly. He has done for me what I have been trying to do for the past 4 years with ever-increasing desperation. Listening to these talks restored my shattered belief that a meaningful life in which I know who I am, can be myself, work passionately, and have mutual love and respect in my relationships possible. The focus and tenor of everything I've heard so far has been the answer to some coinciding aspect of life that's been a source of frustration, shame, confusion, embarrassment, anger, fear or pain. It's astounding. Even this video! It doesn't speak to a horrific soul-wound or illuiminate a self-sabotaging behavior. No. It's about "home". It is one of what I now understand to be a large number of interesting talks Alain gives that present more complete explorations of topics that effect our lives than are commonly touched on by other Ted-casters and help-selfers. It's perfect. After a few of the ones that feel slightly more like pushing a tire up a sand dune it's nice to have a little more levity with all that poignancy. This particular one literally made my jaw drop. As an architect, set designer, and art director I have struggled when trying to comunicate with individuals who have little capacity to appreciate objects for more than how well they function.Sure, I want to help make good design accessible to everyone as much as Ikea, Apartment Therapy, and hundreds of bloggers do. I need to first demystify "design" as a luxury bourgeois indulgence. He gives a perfect and succinct explanation of design and personal style in such a way that suggests it is essential to develope and explore as other means of self-discovery and expression. Did anybody else stand up and shout "Hell yeah!" after he speaks about the LeCorbusier and William Morris chairs?! (if you did, we should talk) That was fucking brilliant. Thank you Alain de Botton for being a great example and source of more-than-truth truth.

  12. It seems to me that this video is an invitation to consume more, to shop more, to get more attached to things. I m surprised.

  13. Everytime I watch your videos, I especially enjoy the voice of the reader. It's wonderful and relaxing. Thank you.

  14. For years my home was full of old stuff–mine, and stuff inherited from my mother, grandmother and even great grandmother. Then I lost it all. My next house was full of lots of all new hand picked stuff to reflect who I had become. Then I lost that too. Since then I've been moving around, living in furnished places, traveling to different states and countries and having a great time. When I have my own place again it will be Zen minimalist as I've learned I can get by on only what fits in a few suitcases! Right now, my home is wherever I am. I am like a turtle and carry my sense of 'home' with me. I don't know where I'll ultimately end up–I've lived for significant amounts of time in 7 states (from PA to WA) and 2 foreign countries (NZ and Australia). PS sadly people get so attached to their shit they have no identity if they lose it. Who you are isn't what you own.

  15. The chair that aesthetically speaks to my soul is not necessarily the chair that feels the most comfortable when I sit in it. Comfort and efficiency is much more important than style. Does your household actually work for you or is it just something that exists to reflect your inner self?

  16. I still live with my father, but if I had my own place it'd be filled with the same stuff my bedroom is… Figurines of pagan gods (who I don't believe in) and comic book characters and Halloween decorations…

  17. ''Let's go home" is probably the phrase most often uttered in movies. I never feel/felt particularly good or comforted by the idea of getting home after a trip/work. As a matter of fact I remember sitting in the train station for an hour before finally making up my mind to complete my journey by going home. No matter how comfy, well and pleasantly decorated my home is, I'd rather be on the move or elsewhere. Home is not where the heart is.

  18. Hone is safety….love…memories….cosy…there no place like homexxx….my heartbreak s..for homeless 🙏🙏🎆🎆🎇✨✨🙏🙏💜💔💜

  19. More than the chic of the furniture, the materialist calling, home is where you nurture and make experience on your own. Probably my furtniture say something about me, but rather spending money on fancy things, I tend to think that the warm and cracking fire, the smell of the encent or the few books on the corners have more things to tell. This is the experience of home, that brief calm that I'm seeking for.

  20. I definitely agree! I guess process of how you design your home also says a lot about one’s personality then.. Last year i moved with my boyfriend and it took me months to settle down, buy all the furniture etc. Bc I couldn’t decide on anything at all.. What does this show then? My personality is not fixed yet or so? 🙂 we broke up after a year.. home is where i feel i belong to, well, some kind of a feeling; family…

  21. My soul must be small. I dont like looking for things,I like finding them where I left them.I can make my bed while Im still in it.Clutter irks the shit out of me as does waste. Light colors to high light dirt and cleanliness is under,over,and behind. The consummate minimalist.Waste not want not. In spite of these habits,Im not much for saving money,even when I had alot of it.I'd probably save 10 % Experiences are expensive.

  22. Home is where the heart is and it’s a nice feeling and sentiment to call somewhere ‘home’. Having somewhere to call home is so intrinsic and profound to who we are! I sincerely hope everyone has somewhere to call ‘home’ .

  23. I wish I could like this video more than once. I would honestly put 10 more likes at least if I could. I can SO MUCH relate to the content of this video… Ever since my late teens I've always felt strongly that the space I made up for myself tells more about myself than anything else. Funnily enough, in the recent months, I've been spending more time at my girlfriends flat than my own place. But my flat is always (and maybe now even more than ever) the place where I go whenever I'm going through "identity issues" or need to "sort things out"… Both expressions often being synonyms of one another in my case :/… To answer your question below the video, I'd say the general aspect of the main room would be what reflects me the most : There's just enough room to circulate through clearly subdivided and identified parts but one can easily tell it's oversaturated with information… And probably too many books and documents to read. Even though most of what's there looks tidy and "at its place"… It's almost impossible to find a sense of coherence or unity to it all.

  24. i am sure i have cycled through thousands of objects in my lifetime, identifying with and describing myself with each precious thing… my home was in a constant state of acquisition… with most everything pre-owned, lost, rejected, thrown away, orphaned… i hoarded and anthropomorphized, feeling sorry for and protective of each possession… i had things i had owned for decades and then, suddenly i was near homeless. that lasted for a couple of years and i felt i lost a lot of my identity along with the things i had lost. i've maintained an apartment now for the last 3 years. i've been building myself up again with the objects i surround myself with. i am simplifying the psychic and emotional burden, though. i buy mostly new objects and things for myself, things that only i have ever known and used. i stick to a strict color scheme. i have control. household items are mostly utilitarian now, no history, no obligations, no feelings of pity for inanimate objects….
    in case i lose it all again, i guess, at least i won't lose myself….

  25. I love this concept, I always knew environment is important but to think of having your own home as a space to help reflect your beliefs and experience is golden. Great motivation to have my own place. Nice video!

  26. With the idea of "Home" being so chaotic right now, I'm surprised you're making such dogmatic statements. Maybe you watch too much TV?

  27. My home has evolved to be full of things that my kids can't brake. Maybe when we are empty nesters we can put some thought into what we purchase

  28. It's weird, I really don't care about the stuff in my home. 98% of what's in my room is just stuff that has been pieced together that I've gotten for free or for very cheap. It all seems to match in a sort of shabby chic way but I could really care less about any of it.

  29. My home is full of stuff I have made myself and (slightly) disorganized accept for my bedroom and my mini gym 😉

  30. Wow this video conveys so well why I want a certain type of rug and not just any rug from home depot; something my husband just doesn't get.

  31. This is a nice idea in theory but isn't it sort of materialistic to get your identity from your possessions? did fight club teach us nothing?

  32. Your home reflects all the above-mentioned aspects brilliantly. Though your home is your haven of security and comfort, it is also the place where personalities are developed and explored. It is also a place where the choices you made in your life are reflected. Home is a place for self-reflection, for identifying with the kind of lifestyle we lead and so on.

    Anyways, read the below. This might help.



    Sourav Basak

    Namaste UI

  33. Man, i teared during this video. No idea why. I guess i keep seeing the intense beauty in alot of things, and it keeps overwhelming me. Guess i have alot of dopamine receptors or something.

  34. I love decorating a new home, but it's important to try to have at least a few key things you can carry forward from your previous homes. I love looking around myself now and seeing things from all the countries I've lived in our even visited, and also the US states I have lived in too. Even though I've moved a lot, and my current home has only quest room and foyer furniture from the home that felt most like "home" to me, I can find "the comfort of the familiar" in things like the leather journal cover that I've had for decades that I loved enough to cart with me across 10 different moves.

    Still, there is sometimes something unsettling about having newly furnished a place, especially after longterm travel. I was thinking the other day that I feel like I'm living in an Airbnb right now, even though it is my home, because I bought all new furniture. I'm already used to where everything is. I'm just not used to WHAT everything is.

  35. Step back…objectively view your home as it right now…and you will see what you need to work on inside yourself

  36. That's not why they built temples. Temples were used to create a sacred place to worship the god to appease the god so thet would protect the city.

  37. Very true. Which is why we like things that we like. But only if you have the money to be able to 'craft' a home. These videos are very true but they always aspire to the ideal. Which is what you might do when you're no longer struggling. So they appeal to rich people. I'd be more grounded to have a series about how to get yourself out of a cycle of poverty for example. Not sure this company would be able to tackle that in neat idealized videos

  38. You are what you own. I guess so, In a certain context, sure, why not.? Obviously judging people by their virtue (ancient ethics), or by their devotion (medieval ethics), won't cut it anymore. Consumer ethics!

  39. Home is not where you live, but who you live with.
    When my wife and i were traveling, the longest we ever stayed in one place was like 4 days. We slept in new beds almost every night.
    But since we were together, that felt like home to me. When we came back to our actual house, i didn't feel like we were "coming home" because i had been home the entire time we were in other countries.
    "A house is made of brick and stone. A home is made of love alone."

  40. Our assets can only indicate which social group we belong to. But, our true inner self is something more than that.

  41. It’s funny how I’ve been in a few friends places that feel more like houses or apartments than actual homes.

  42. There are other perspectives. Not all wanderers are lost, neither to themselves, nor to anyone else. I was born into a nomadic tradition, so I don't feel the same way about the boxes we sometimes live in and keep stuff in.
    When I am alone, even when lost in a foreign land and with no sure future, I am still very much at home.
    "No matter where you go, there you are." – Buckaroo Banzai
    I am so glad that most people are not like me though. The tendency of my family and friends to stay put and build physical homes affords me the luxury of knowing where to find them.

  43. I'm clearing my home of clutter. Feeling better each day that I see less and I give away things. Having everything is the end all be all. God, love, nurture, bonding, peace, and simplicity is what is needed most importantly.

  44. What does it say about you if you have nothing decorated in your home? No pictures, no decorations, no plants….just walls and a plain table and bed?

  45. A video for Baby Boomers. Millennials can typically only afford whatever furniture is cheapest, not what “best conforms to their identity”.

  46. I live in a Manorial Estate with staff.I lead a
    busy life,attending Meetings,Social Functions
    and Events.It is nice to have Family and
    Friends to visit,especially for social
    occasions.Lord Colin,KT(UK)MRSSG.MRI.

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