The Geek Anthropologist on the multivorld
When I think about our relationship with worlds, I tend to have a concept that Martin Heidegger developed bouncing around in my head. “Dwelling,” in Heidegger’s vocabulary, is the human way of being in the world. For a more relativistic, anthropological phrasing we might want to say “’a’ human way of being”, although I think he struck on something that’s pretty widespread in human culture. For a geekier, more multidimensional phrasing we might want to say “being in ‘a’ world”, instead of “the” world, to include the idea of secondary worlds (i.e., subcreations, imaginary worlds). So let’s say that dwelling is a human way of being in a world. There’s a cool implication there that other, nonhuman ways of being in a world exist, like a rocky way of being or a coastline way of being. I don’t want to delve into that too far here, except to put in context this idea of a “human way of being.” We don’t “be” in the world in the same way as rocks or shorelines; there are distinctive features of our way(s) of being. What Heidegger claimed is that “dwelling,” the human way, is inextricably linked with building. By building, he doesn’t just mean construction, like building a house. He also means cultivation, like tending a garden. In tending a garden, we can come to experience it as a second home, a dwelling.