University of British Columbia (Alana)

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    The Architecture of Happiness

    By Alana
    Sep 6, '06 5:47 PM EST

    My apartment and the studio are not exactly close. Maybe on a global scale they are, but it feels like I'm going to another city when I leave the house in the morning. When I told people that I'd be living a forty minute bus ride from the campus I would just shrug and say "Well at least I'll get a lot of reading done... and the studio is open 24 hours..."

    Right now I'm reading 'The Architecture of Happiness' and Alain De Botton is laying it down for me. I love this book. >

    When recieving my desk space in the studio today I felt really settled all of a sudden. That space is my space. I love that. In theory I want to believe in the notion of communal ownership of land, that the earth is owned by nobody and everybody, but in practice I feel most free when I buy, or am given, a literal space of my own. Now I can extend out into that space and make stuff. So much of my identity is caught up in the act of making.


    • myriam

      Good plug--I have Botton's "Status Anxiety" sitting by my bed but so far I haven't so much as cracked the cover. The odds of me doing that have now increased 20%!

      I like your comments on desk space... they make me think about one of the things that pains me most about myself: my contradictory belief in the value of density in cities (both its value for individuals and its value for civilization/society)...and my deep-seated desire and dream of a little square of land to call my own, just like FLW wanted everyone to have. He really wasn't wrong; people do crave little personal plots of land. But... how can I crave that if... I think the suburbs are ruining civilization??? Ack ack ack! It makes my head hurt.

      Sep 7, 06 9:07 am  · 

      Also I am glad to see an active UBC blog as I've always wanted to know more about that school!

      Sep 7, 06 9:07 am  · 

      The book "Status Anxiety" sounds like a good antithesis to "The Architecture of Happiness".
      To quote a prof this morning, who was quoting someone else... "Place is security and space is freedom." That sort of gets to the heart of the difference between the urban and the rural for me. I've spent a lot of time in both very urban and very rural places, with a childhood in the suburban, and I feel most content at the urban/rural extremes. I find that if I get a dose of both within a year, I am in balance. After a long time in the rural I crave the urban and vice versa. The urban holds me tightly in action and vanity and chaos, and I love it. The rural tickles the sublime, the calm within me. So what is the suburban then? I don't really know. To me it is the worst of both freedom and security. It is secure in a private way... which isn't really secure. It is freedom in an empty way... which isn't really free.
      I hope to post more about the school... but I'm just new here so I'm sort of waiting on that. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Sep 7, 06 5:00 pm  · 

      That's a fascinating analysis... I agree, having spent similar times. Glad I no longer live in the burbs and hope never to again. Good luck getting started up there!

      Sep 8, 06 6:54 pm  · 

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