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Dùthchas

January 14, 2009

I think I have found the Scottish equivalent of Cynefin. This article from the Times uses it in the paragraph I have extracted below. It’s part of a well written article that shows the power of aesthetics in creating what I call reflective meaning, the ability to has an awareness or poise which leads to action. The meaning of Dùthchas is listed elsewhere as the place of one’s birth; heredity, spirt or blood; visage, countenance; hereditary right. Its not exactly the same as Cynefin (the place of your multiple belongings) but its similar.

“Reculer pour mieux sauter”, as the good folk of Wester Ross and Morocco say. Nothing begins or ends at once. Pull at a thread in the word “landscape” and it will take you the rest of your life to find your way home; for example “scape” meaning “a view of scenery”, “escape”, and also, pace Defoe, “a transgression due to thoughtlessness” (1681). “Land” is even more prolific. Then the two together . . . . Enough to say that all three senses of “scape” given here form significant strands in this spirited project. But not the most telling, which concerns dwelling and Dùthchas, what in Welsh is cynefin, and for which the English language has no word.

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