Hi Susan from another Susan Thanks for going with this topic.
I'm really slow on it. I went blank when I first read it and it's taking me a long time to get into it. It seems easy to be able to talk about it at a political level, given all the experiences of not just the current political situation but all the previous ones. And I'm really slow as I am also processing being white, colonialist, middle class, city based, etc, etc and conscious of being able to step into a big pile of doggy doo just like that ... ... so anyway giving it a go and looking forward to having people telling me that I better have the nose peg at the ready .... .... what is not easy for me is how to talk in the actual sense of words (spoken or written) about a sense of place. i am struggling with this... i'm noticing that I want to talk about a "place identity" rather than a national identity .... a place identity (and identity is not the word either) that somehow in the influences of land and people seems to have a particular flavour or evocation of memory that sways and changes at the same time as particular markers of place - smells, quality of light, colours, landscapes, sounds, feel of air on skin, tastes, lots of things - seem to stay constant. .... i'm wondering about a different thinking where identity may be a mix of social/psychological interplays with "the land" as a shaper of identity. This is clumsy but I can't think of another way to say it. And I am conscious of my western approach to this, and just being outright dumb on this issue. .... can anyone help me out on this? ... i'm interested in how those markers of place play out in the dreamlife of a person. ... i think I am going blank around the topic of national identity because I know that I can get easily pulled into a discourse on politics, what are the roles, what's needed to change, the personalities, etc - all maybe necessary parts of being engaged within a social/political environment. I am resisting this as this path for me. Whilst I can see that it is a necessary part of change, it means that I need to keep on engaging on each new front as it appears, each of which only seems to change the country and the names of the players. I keep on feeling that I need to support the younger people around me take up this fight but ohhhhh I am so tired of the taking up the fight myself. ... and yet if I go with thinking of a "sense of place"as an alternative to national identity it is also hard to work with - how many of us are migrants into the countries we live in as first, second, 100th. etc generation, how many of us are struggling with coming to terms with the destruction that our generations' or or ancestors migration have wreaked on the original landscapes and peoples. And how many of us deeply love the place that we have come to, at the same time as being drawn to the patterns of memory from this lifetime or other lifetimes that also connect us to other places as parts of our identity. For me this is the dialogue I am having internally about national identity. ... i am wondering how other people feel about the dreaming space within the land they live in/have lived in and all the other lands that have connected to their lives. What are the non-consensual, sensory experiences that connect us in such a way that a tendency emerges within us for saying that we feel connected to a <name of country> identity. What are the non-consensual tendencies of a place that have it vibrate in such a way that we get an overwhelming sense of the uniqueness of that place. Is it like falling in love when we meet a place that vibrates with all the signals that make us want to keep on being there even in the toughest of times. ... what is the space of love that we respond to .... Thanks for the space that you have opened up Susan. I am slow on this topic; I have wanted to write in before this but am finding it difficult to respond quickly - needing space and some silence to let it filter through. I want to thank you for asking the question. Warmest wishes, Susan