The World Within

Read in ‘Cities in Evolution’ (1915) of Patrick Geddes:


Old stuff. Got a copy of Cities in Evolution (1915) of the Scottish biologist and planner Sir Patrick Geddes in my hands again. In the appendix I found the explanation of his diagrams. I love the one on ‘The World Without and the World Within’. It’s from his sunday talks with his children. It’s very useful stuff to read now that we’re preparing a children’s program for the People’s Industry Palace (Volksvlijt 2056), to open this spring in Amsterdam. The Out-World is a world of facts and acts, the In-World a world of memories and plans. Geddes explains that you can only go from facts to acts via the In-World. You have to think first, to ponder, to create a rich In-World before you can start working. Dreaming is the Passive In-World. Planning is the Active In-World.On school you only learn facts and acts.

Then he explains why educated people have difficulties with acting and working. Their In-World is a world of memories, not plans.  And science looks mainly at the Out-World. Geddes: “those who stay behind, in the house of memory, may become more and more learned, but they will never do very much. That, in fact, is what is wrong with too many educated people; that is why they feel paralysed, and can neither speak nor act though the occation calls.” So we should all learn to climb away up into the skies of thought, and away down into its strange dim depths. Geddes refers to the angel who took St. Peter out of prison. Anyone, he adds, could be liberated by an angel. So we need them both, the Out-World and the In-World. Geddes: “Not only to enjoy more but to do more, plan more, carry out more.” It’s the circle of life. Or better, it’s a spiral, a growing spiral. Great men are only children of larger growth. “Life is like childhood – it can’t be still.”





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