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The Concept of Home - Is It Spiritual, Physical or Tribal?

Updated on September 12, 2010

The word 'home' when used in everyday conversation usually means a town or city or a building where you live. It represents a place of security, a base for living and a storeplace of physical objects. It oftens reflects the owner's personality and taste and in some cases it is a showcase to display the owner's wealth and status. I do not believe that is the true meaning of 'home' but a description of a house which is something completely different.

The tourist industry promotes visits to ;'stately homes' and the visitors bring in much needed revenue but it would be fairer to call them stately houses or buildings of historical interest. While it is true that some of these houses are inhabited, perhaps not by choice but through inheritance, they do not convey a real sense of home when they are open to the public scrutiny and that is perhaps why some owners prefer to make the their 'real' home in private establishments away from the public gaze.

I am sure that most people will have visited a house and been made very welcome and yet still not felt 'at home' and in other instances visited a place with which they have no obvious connection and yet feel that it is their personal 'spiritual' home and are immediately drawn to the people of that place.  The question then arises of whether man has a tribal or racial memory. Why do we seem to have affinity with certain places when visiting for the first time, a linking to a stranger on the first meeting and perhaps a rudimentary understanding of a language we have not consciously learned?

Nomadic people do not have a settled place to live and so the sense of home is drawn from the community in which they live and thus is tribal. Some Romany people even when settled for three or four generations have no conventional sense of home in my personal experience and compensate in some small way by gathering together at horse fairs etc when the old way of living can be pursued . Fires are lit, food is cooked outside and stories are told and all present feel truly 'at home'.  Immigrants into any foreign country create their own communities within the broader community and this should not be misconstrued as an unwillingness to integrate but rather an attempt to find a sense of home away from the native home.

A house is constructed but home is created and the adage 'home is where the heart is ' rings true in many cases.





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