Alain De Botton On Habit Summary

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In "On Habit", Alain de Botton observes that a "traveling mindset," to which receptivity, the notion of being open to new objects is the key to the release of latent layers of value in our accustomed surroundings. In Gregory Orr's "Return to Hayneville," "receptivity" seems to be the key as Orr returns to Hayneville, 40 years after what had been the most tumultuous time of his life. Orr, traveling with his 2 other companions, tends to give them a recount of what he actually had to go through in Hayneville, and how his emotions get the better of him when they reach Hayneville. Orr's essay gives an indication as to how his past and present interact on the road to Hayneville, reflecting back to it in a rather amusing way, how the past experience…show more content…
By "Connecting Imaginatively," he suggests we use the process of responding to new sights and sounds involving a creative ability to process the perceptions of the sense using imaginations. Orr tends to "Connect Imaginatively" when he implies that "and close up, as close as the arc of a swung billy club, I had discovered that for every martyr whose life was resolved into a meaningful death, there were hundreds of others who were merely beaten, terrorized, humiliated"(Orr,223). This quote pretty much sums up Orr's situation. He realizes there will be more and more martyrs that will eventually win as they welcome death, but also for fighting against injustice. Orr realized the difficulty of situation, as he ought to be a martyr, and for that, he need not fear death. However, he realized hundreds of them were humiliated and terrorized too for absolutely no reason, just like how they were being at that point. Despite knowing the intimate reality of violence, Orr was keen to take on the challenge of participating in the movement. Similarly, Orr "connects imaginatively" when he says "As we're leaving and I pause in the cindery parking lot with one hand on my car-door handle, taking a last look at the old jail, a single word comes to me: joy"(Orr,229). He looks at the jail, which is nothing but an abandoned building now. Standing there, he realizes how at one point 40 years ago, he was on the cusp of death, his life about to be taken for expressing himself and wanting a change for a good cause. Now here he is, standing in front of that old hell, living the life which was awaiting to be lived that time. He laughs at how as a child he was willing to give up his life by participating in the movement, and how he's given a far more complex life now, which he's certainly joyous

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