Monday, January 14, 2008

Helpful Sacred Space Terminology

Throughout this recent survey, several terms have become very helpful in understanding place. Topoanalysis is Gaston Bachelard’s systematic psychological study of the sites of our intimate lives.[1] Rather than focusing on time, we need also look to the places of our memory to understand them. He suggests that we cannot relive duration, but we can return to place where memories become fixed.[2] Topoalanysis is the hermeneutics of place.

Topocosm brings together ideas of “place” and “cosmos” thereby suggesting the constitution of a cosmos as a well ordered world, place has a significant role to play.[3] Casey also uses the combination of cosmogenesis (ordered making or creation) and topogenesis (place making or creation) to describe cosmogony (world making). Casey would like to see creation story’s interpreted cosmologically and not chronological.[4] It is a matter of elemental matter not just time. Cosmogenesis is the creation of the world, but also a world or perhaps world view. Topogenesis is the creation of places in that world, it is a constituent of order within cosmogenesis. Topogenesis, apart from its original creation context, can be used to describe those things such as memory, rituals, virtues, people that provide orienting places for our lives. Without topogenesis and the creation of place, the loss is ontological and epistemological.

[1] Bachelard, 8-9.
[2] Ibid., 9.
[3] Casey, 5.
[4] Ibid.