For the next six months, my teenage son and I are traveling to all 50 states in the United States filming for a new cable television show entitled The Looking Glass, which explores how people have converted spaces into meaningful places. From natural preserves to repurposed structures, we are visiting a plethora of places and intentionally engaging in a variety of experiences challenging ourselves to philosophically reflect upon the relevance of place in living full and flourishing lives.
The Ancient Greeks had two concepts for place: topos and chora. Topos singles out a particular place from the general place of chora. Our current franchised restaurants and stores provide an excellent example of what the Greeks meant by topos. Even though there are many Walmart stores, no one Walmart is profoundly distinct from the next.
In contrast, chora refers to a choreographed dance with place. Once people intentionally interact with place through some sort of ritual or meaningful activity, the place itself takes on deeper meaning for those individuals. Chora, then, is a place rich with relevant meaning and experienced stories.
Come join us on our ‘choreographed dance with place’ across the United States by following our blog and sharing your comments and favorite places.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton