Protecting our Grasp of “Home” and “Self”
by KJ Hannah Greenberg



One nonrhetoric that we behold is “home.” This construct is a key position in time-space that we handle to represent who we are and who we are not. Seemingly, every place in which we “dwell” is “home.” Inversely, every place in which we do not dwell is “elsewhere.” This well-used path to self-identity can be accessed when we abide by the margins imposed upon us by our locations and by the mortals who occupy them. We integrate these prescriptions and accept the environments that they devise.


Sometimes, our “homes” are tangible. Other times, they are transcendental. Either way, grasping the qualities of our homes requires intentionality. Said differently, the stances that we maintain regarding the strength and vitality of our earthly “homes” are often taken for granted. Furthermore, our fervent convictions about our “homes” in the World to Come include opinions that aver that our supernal homes will perform as more than terminuses. When we manipulate language to put together our highly specialized, narrowly focused, messages about our “homes,” likewise, implicitly and simultaneously, we are apprising ourselves of the nature of “homelessness;” no one among us wants to be without their ultimate loci.


During the pandemic, e.g., our shared outlooks shifted. “Importance” was no longer assigned to glittery objects, but to flesh and blood. “Esteemed” ceased to be relegated to citizens with “the most toys” and became neighbors who were commited to preserving life. “Worth” no longer took its denotation from communal superiority but from harmonious relations. Overall, we became exceedingly conscious that our “older strands of social connection [had been] abraded - even destroyed - by technological and economical social change” (Putnam 382) and that we would be abetted when we re-evaluated those codes. To wit, we multitudes recognized the degree to which we had been distinguishing ourselves visa via artificial topoi instead of by organic starting points.


Another of our most dynamic concepts is “self.” Whereas “home” informs “self,” “self” does not necessarily define “home.” More exactly, on occasion, we glance beyond our domiciles for our identities. We might count on scripts that we’ve prepared, regard our dreams, hang onto our calculated visualizations, or reach toward our aspirations. In addition to our homes, these founts can notify us who we are and who we can be.


Alternatively, when we insist on having faith in liaised doctrines, we increasingly comprehend ourselves as impotent, as slaved to media minders. This emphasis of ours on outward appraisals leaves us skunked, explicitly, leaves us searching for disparities among ourselves — causes us to categorize each other. Our subsequent stratification, in turn, evokes anxiety, which, itself, fuels consumerism/false bases for self-respect. Under such conditions, we remain “confused about who ought to establish the heuristics for our moral agendas, [and] we mistake the essence of public moral agendas for the essence of private moral agendas (and vice versa)” (Greenberg 2005, 5).


Sadly, in our marketplace (of ideas), vendors’ axiomatic tosh has become widespread, even popular, fare. It’s of little wonder, therefore, that the immensity of “home” and “self” in our lives has been reduced such that they have become mere cognitive Band Aids. When we reflect on the unconscious, unspoken stimuli that guide our attitudes, we find ourselves pondering a composite scarcely made up of tradition, constituted by unremittingly negotiated existent roles, and comprised of questionable future prognoses. Nowadays, we’re more likely to espouse the advantages inherent in conserving the status quo than any derived from challenging it.


No matter the type of framing that we rely upon to delineate “home” and “self,” we stay limited by the moral deliberations promoted by our bounds. One impact of our contemporary languor is that too often we are more concerned with competition than compassion. Answerability for civic insensitivity, as noted by decentralized, organized efforts to protest incidents of viciousness and other (demographically driven) aggressions, teeters given our fragmentation.


Our filtered explanations of merits make our collective principles oscillate and make our mutual sense of indispensable discernments range from pitiful to reprehensible. Among the most shameful deeds that stem from our morass of apportioned scruples are the degree to which we vacillate in treating the homeless and neurologically divergent souls. Inasmuch as we keep on being ethically lost, we sidestep empathy, consequently, allowing our brothers and sisters to get rehomed in temporary settlements. Self-reassurance that we want to improve their plight is rubbish as long as we fail to utilize inclusive meanings for “home” and for “self.”


Humankind’s “ideal” endures as removed from its experience. Whether it’s the aforementioned, hit and run accidents, deceiving insurance adjusters, taunting the elderly and the infirmed, or engaging in other tolerated conjoint past times, our conduct has become akin to that of schoolyard bullies; our unwillingness to take responsibility for our chief tenets has resulted in our sacrificing being a functional public. We’re not at all helped by limiting egg-throwers’ liberties, but not restricting the circulation of anti-hate discourse.


We’re poorly epitomized by constraints that curb unsympathetic actors at the cost of concomitantly decreasing benevolent folks’ freedoms. Bring to mind that the opposite of “suppression,” historically and incorrectly, has often been  “expression.” However, “censorship’s” actual counterpart is “emancipation,” viz., is the presence of self-determination, the practice of critical/creative thinking that enables groups to fabricate their own gist of “home” and of “self”


Moreover, our possession of and access to pooled scruples is rare for the reason that we have lost reliable community, religious, and professional organizations. Over and above, fluctuations in our cultural symbols, in our rules for behavior, and in our officialdoms have become complicated because of our dearth of interconnectedness. When we insist upon assuaging talking heads, we leave our own heads emptied and detached.


Another problem with our present-day semantic referents is that they are often grimly ineffable. Our words create barriers. Lexicons with “normative” measures of assessment tend to mandate that we fashion obstacles, fuel ideological incommensurabilities, reinforce unbalanced strata, and bolster the separating of “us” from “them.” According to those parameters, “home” becomes not a place of the heart, but one devoid of acquirable attributes. In parallel, those strictures establish “self” as whomever we perceive ourselves to be in the context of remediable flaws.


Weigh depictions of “home” in movies like Martin Rosen’s Isle of Plague Dogs and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Think about depictions of “self” in recent reports of governments pulling apart families at national boarders and in fresh narratives of workplace harassment. Suddenly, “hominess,” especially the comfort of “home,” is as suspect as “independence,” the autonomy of “self.”


Since our websites and our other instances of convergent communication impart our custodians’ philosophies through the electronic dissemination of their accepted wisdoms, currently, “home” has become more than a structure where we spend vast amounts of time. This understanding has mutated into “the places where we take comfort/feel safe.” Similarly, “self” has transmuted from “a person’s requisite being” to our “concern for others’ regard of ourselves.” Just as “home” has metamorphosed to indicate more than the singularity of any spot, “self” has transformed to stipulate more than the distinctiveness of any denizen. Truth, as it is screened through arbitrated thoughts, words, and actions bears upon us and shifts our organization of our rudimentary perceptions to the extent that most of us conceptualize “home” and “self” contrarily to our ancestors. This tweaking is worrisome.


Fortunately, a minority of us disavow the layering of our identities upon peripheral cruxes of validation. It’s desirable for us, if we want our compulsary paradigms to be credible, to do something about hurtful events, to reject archetypes advocated by particular documents, and to question certain statutes.


We need to renounce influencers and of kindred parties who sponsor not only brands of living room furniture and imported face masks but also dictates for “home” and “self.” We have a duty to refute fourth estate attempts, regardless of how “altruistically” they are branded, to push us toward portraying our abodes and our individuality as contingent on economic incentives or other taints.


Still others of us arrive at our senses of “home” and of “self” by synchronously leaning on both internal and external instruments. In spite of everything, linguistic ploys craft and sustain hierarchies. It follows that the ways in which we interpret life’s nuts and bolts can originate in assembled elucidations. Imaginably, morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics are best employed interdependent with common sense proofs about language’s usage. Namely, we can “authentically accept, at the highest levels of abstraction, the possibility of the existence of our [experiential] diversity” (Greenberg 2003, 24). That is, our generalizations must be sufficiently flexible to span our array of perspectives. Attendant incongruences among us should be able to find at least partial acceptability.


When we trust outlying agents to prescribe our ethics, we have trouble addressing our core obligations as those go-betweens render “home” and “self” as exclusive entities. They perpetuate double-bind filled messages and muddy cultural epistemology. If, as a replacement for that conduct, we embrace private methods for developing arguments or topoi taken from a combination of personal and public referents,  we create parsimonious exchanges about the makeup of “home” and to “self,” and lend clarity to our civilization’s theory of knowledge. In the latter case, as was the veracity of our forbearers, “home” and  “self” are heartening notions.





Greenberg, KJ Hannah. “The Social Status of Pregnancy Loss Rhetoric: Little Truth; Lots of Falsehoods, Secrets, and Fantasies.” Eastern Sociological Society Convention. Washington, DC. Mar. 2005.


Malek, Amy.” Memoir as Iranian Exile Cultural Production: A Case Study of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis Series.” Iranian Studies. Sept. 2006. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2019.


Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon & Schuster, 2000.


Vasquez, Zack. “Isle of Plague Dogs: The Animated Works of Wes Anderson and Martin Rosen.” Crooked Marquee. Mar. 21, 2018. Retrieved Jan. 11, 2019.



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