Familiar Territory

Known                           -                       Unknown
Familiar                          -                       Unfamiliar
Tethered                         -                       Untethered

Celine: When you talked earlier about after a few years how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms ... I think it would be the opposite for me.

I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone.

The way he's gonna part his hair; which shirt he's gonna wear that day; knowing the exact story he'd tell in a given situation ... I'm sure that's when I know I'm really in love.

Dialogue from Before Sunrise

His tribal position was hereditary. His father and fathers before him had been subchiefs of the Shoshone.

He knew the vast Shoshone lands.

Like the typical Indian scout he knew every hill and valley, every river and stream, and the location of all the trees and plants that his people once depended on for food.

[Doug Boyd]
Rolling Thunder, p.54

The universe was a place of wonders, and only habituation, the anaesthesia of the everyday, dulled our sight.

[Salman Rushdie]
The Satanic Verses

PC: What tends to make love disappear for you?

SR: Excessive habituation ... I think its a loss of mystery - both ways round ... I think to be too well known, and to know too well.

[Salman Rushdie]
in conversation with Pamela Connolly
Shrink Rap, Channel 4

Habitualisation devours works, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war […] art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known […]

[Viktor Shklovsky]
'Art as Technique'

It is important to recognise how the Pintupi process of identification with country is situated in personal experience. In enumerating his country for me, Jerry tjakamarra listed not only his father’s “traditional country” (near Lake Macdonald), but the area around Haasts Bluff as well. These were all his country, he explained, because he had seen and visited them all.

Other men similarly considered places to be their country because they "knew" them, that is, had acquaintance with them. 

Although several forms of identification are covered in the simple phrase "my country," all derive from and indicate an emotional attachment to a place. These are expressed equally in the concepts of "knowing'' (ninti) and also "kin" (walytja).

[Fred R. Myers]
Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self, p.137

Our inner sense of our origins within the landscape has been powerfully expressed by the biologist René Dubois in his 1972 book The God Within.

Dubois compares a landscape to a human face, something that is always changing, yet is immediately recognizable. This continuity, Dubois suggests, is the spirit of the landscape, the god within who sustains the land and resides in every rock and tree.

For Dubois the spirit of a place can be so powerful that it molds, shapes, influences, and ultimately transforms the people who come to occupy it.

The Greeks had a word for it, entheos - the god within, the divine madness - which survives in our word enthusiasm, for the god can enter into us and possess us. Thus, the god of the landscape enters into and possesses the people.

It is Dubois's belief that if a new people entered a particular landscape they would eventually end up being very similar to the previous occupants.

The Haida say that they were found by Raven hiding in a clam shell and have always lived in their present location. Suppose that, several thousand years ago, a people moved into a particular landscape and came into relationship with the spirit of that place. In a sense those people would become inseparable from that land. They would, in fact, have been created by it.

Thus it could be perfectly true when The People say that they have always lived there, for it was the land that created them, gave them form, language, and customs.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.107-8