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“He who intends to practice economy aright ought to be fully acquainted with the places in which his labor lies…” Aristotle, Economics

Aristotle often provides us with simple, practical insights. In words redolent of the works of Wendell Berry he directs our attention to place. Place matters. Too often we try to live our life in abstraction from the places—the homes, the neighborhoods, the fields, the bodies of water, the woods, the mountains—in which and from which we live.

Human life is always in some place. It takes its character and sustenance from that place, and leaves its mark, for better or for worse, on that place. Aristotle directs those who practice ‘economy,’ or household management, to be especially cognizant of the places in which they labor, in which they make a home and make a living.

Wherever we live and work is our place, our home. We belong to it, and it belongs to us. A fitting summer resolution, in the spirit of Aristotle, is to invest ourselves in the place we call home, beginning by getting to know it better: its plants, animals, history, topography, soil types…

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The work cited, ‘Economics,’ is attributed to him, but might have been authored by his students.

Image: Carl Larsson

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns

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John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.