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  • When we imagine where in the world we’d be happiest, were often prompted to imagine

  • places filled with people; a cosy home with family, a party with friends, a busy office

  • or bar, well-lit streets teaming with cheerful facesBut defining happy places in these

  • terms misses out what can be the deep appeal of far less publicised and distinguished sorts

  • of environment: locations that are starkly downbeat, empty, melancholic, architecturally

  • compromised and isolatedbut where we nevertheless experience a deep pull, coming

  • to feel, perhaps, that we belong here far more than in the gaiety, elegance and colour

  • of familiar vistas. We may have an instinctive sense that we are true natives of the isolated

  • motorway diner at 11pm. Or of the open road, under a boundless sky in which a billion stars

  • are starting to appear. Or of dusk at the container portor of night under the shadow

  • of vast electricity pylons marching across the landscape to an unknown city whose eerie

  • orange aura glows over the hills. In these lonely, isolated places, we have an opportunity

  • to meet with bits of ourselves with which the routines of daily life don’t allow us

  • to commune. We are keeping an appointment with a disavowed side of our characters, and

  • can have internal conversations of a sort that are drowned out by the normal chatter,

  • the smiling and the casual enquiries of our regular lives. We are recovering a sense of

  • who we are, turning over memories and plans, regrets and excitementswithout any pressure

  • to be reassuring, purposeful or just (so-called) normal. The bleakness all around is a relief

  • from the false comforts of home. We don’t have to pretend any longer. The environment

  • supports us in our wish to own up to a sadness we have had to hide from for too long. The

  • fellow outsiders we encounter in these lonely places seem closer to offering us the true

  • community we crave than the friends we should supposedly rely on. In their sad faces and

  • grief-stricken eyes, we recognise the most sincere, bruised bits of ourselves. They seem

  • like our true brothers and sistersalso unable to accommodate their characters within

  • the strictures of the ordinary world, outcasts andin their own wayvisionaries.

  • There can be something almost beautiful about the ugliest kinds of lonely places: plastified,

  • brightly lit, garish, cheap. The lack of domesticity, the pitiless illumination and anonymous furniture

  • offer an alternative to ordinary sentimentality and good taste. It may be easier to give way

  • to sadness here than in a cosy living room with wallpaper and framed photos.

  • If we are defined by the places where we feelat home’, some of these may have nothing

  • at all to do with homeliness as we presently conceive of the term; and yet they may comprise

  • our truest and best homes nevertheless.

  • Our wisdom display cards explore what it really means to be wise and how we can strive to become more enlightened in our everyday lives.

When we imagine where in the world we’d be happiest, were often prompted to imagine


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B1 中級

寂れた場所の魅力 (The Appeal of Lonely Places)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日