Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Third Places - Part 2 - Leveling

A Third Place is a Leveling place.

"A place that is a leveler is, by its nature, an inclusive place. It is accessible to the general public and does not set formal criteria of membership and exlusion."

A third place is not a country club. It is not a church. It is not the PTA. A third place is free for all. At the third no one is greater than anyone else. A third place is inherently democratic (in fact the coffee houses of Europe were the womb of democracy in the Western world). Your boss has no say over you in a third place, nor do you over anyone else.

This leveling brings a joy that is not available in any other way. Because "worldy status is not the only aspect of the individual that must not intrude into third place association. Personal problems and moodiness must be set aside as well." If only for an hour or two the problems of work and home are irrelevant. One's purpose is to have fun and enjoy the company of others.

So maybe it's not a bad thing to go from work to a pub before going home. Rather than moving from one set of problems and hierarchies to another, one can have a respite. Ok, so I'm not advocating people spending hours and hours away from home and family, nor am I saying that it is good to drink to avoid problems. I'm just trying to re-examine the vilification of 'going out'.

How do you find leveling in your life? Do you find it at all? Is it all it's cracked up to be?

9 comments:

tabitha jane said...

is the internet a third place? because it sure seems like one to me . . .

James Wood said...

Even though Ray Oldenburg would disagree, I think that the internet can have a lot of third place aspects. I will get to some things later (stay tuned) that can't be done on the internet that define a third place. Mostly it has to do with face to face interaction within a community.
I think the internet can be a third place when you are yourself online. If you hide your identity or pretend to be something you're not then the internet is just a masquerade.

Mrs. Andrea Wood said...

Going from work to "out" to home sounds great and like it would be helpful to a lot of people. Is it still a third place if you take your spouse/family?

I would think that if it is a place where you meet with friends, then to have your best friend (hopefully that is your spouse) with you would make it better. Maybe kids would be a bit much because if you are a good parent, there is a heirarchy there and that shatters the third place, right?

Mrs. Andrea Wood said...
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Tanya Kristine said...

Hmm...3rd place. yes, pubs good. alcohol has that ability to makes ones mood stable and level. well 3 drinks and under do. 4 and above makes people do the darndest things!

Rebecca said...

The first thing I thought of when reading your first post was Cheers or Central Perk for Friends. I just think it has to be somewhere that you frequent consistently and can count on seeing the same people when you go. I would like to have a place like this. Paula and I were working on making a coffee shop down on Stark a third place. I guess it still could for me but it was more fun with a friend.

spcpeters said...

well, the internet is a third place in this current use, We all are community here united by friendship and a common bond of years together, some more than others, and blogging is free of any regulation. Shoot right now its my only third place. Though its missing those who are new and different... One reaon i see little third places is that there is no cheers or what rebbeca said about friends because real people don't act like that, imagine the tab of a three beer per night everynight, so unless your ted danzen you can't afford that, I can imagine a place where beer or coffee flowed and intellectual albeit comical conversation flowed as well, this seems to be similar at least to what C.S. Lewis ad with his scholor friends, at the pub they frequented.

spcpeters said...

I also wanted to point out that a third place is hard to come by because as soon as it became cool someone would patent it and market it and consumerize it. But for you all of you again(marketing tone intentional) there will be a tird place starting at my orphanage in 5 years all invited bring 19.95 and you next three visits are free

James Wood said...

So, like Starbucks has made it their goal to be a third place.