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439: Ideal Space

A Thousand Things to Talk About
439: Ideal Space
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What’s your ideal living space look like?

Full episode script

In several past episodes, including one in the 60s and one much more recently, we’ve talked about how much living space someone may need, what the legal requirements for bedrooms and living space might be, and even how the spaces people call home might be personalized. If you’d like to look deeper into any of these, then I’ll list those episodes in the notes.

There’s something else that I think is really ripe for some exploration here – and that’s how the very idea of ideal plays out when it comes to our living spaces.

The whole concept of ideal comes from late middle English, and is usually used to refer to the “Platonic ideal” – Plato’s whole discussion that everything we see or interact with or create is simply a reflection that we hold in our head to identify everything around us that is close but not quite perfect.

In other words, the true Platonic ideal isn’t ever really reachable, because everything in the physical world, by definition, isn’t quite perfect.

When it comes to our living spaces, that creates an especially interesting tension. Living spaces are usually, by the way humans tend to construct them, not a momentary or extremely temporary thing. They have some temporal weight to them – they stick through more time than not in our lives, even if we aren’t the ones living there.

And even if something comes close to an ideal for a few moments or a short period of time, human beings don’t tend to be static, and our lives certainly don’t tend to be static. Decisions are made, things change, and therefore what may fit us perfectly or be the Platonic example of what would work well for us also ends up changing.

As Kat Bern wrote in her blog:

Making your home perfect for you is a process. And at no stage will your home ever be ready to stay that way forever, because we, the people who live in it, change. And so our home needs to adapt to the new behaviors, hobbies, and routines.

In other words, it’s more about what the ideal living space for you, right now, in this place in your life, might look like. It may not ever get there, but hey, we can all dream.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.