Holy Side of Space: Human Experience of Sacredness and Meaning

  April 05, 2021   Read time 2 min
Holy Side of Space: Human Experience of Sacredness and Meaning
Space plays a meaningful role in creation of the sense of holiness in man. The Sacred reveals itself within the context of space and it is through the space that man can touch the holy side of life. Holiness is the source of meaning for many years now.

The stories that articulate the meaningful value of a particular locale are a dimension of the travel practices that make places. An important element in the itinerant nature of all places is the travel practices that make places possible to begin with. The undifferentiated expanse of space undergoes its transformation into distinct places in the human itineraries that experience the landscapes they traverse and then narrate those experiences to themselves and to others. Places thus emerge in human practices of travel. Travel practices encompass all sorts of human translocal movements, as the author has discussed elsewhere. These include migration, pilgrimage, business and trade, tourism, military deployments, research excursions, family visitations, and many other manners of travel. The practices that constitute these movements go beyond actual travel itself. Certainly travel practices involve various modes of transportation, most commonly airlines, trains, buses, and automobiles. But they also include communication networks that facilitate travel, including telecommunications and the Internet, as well as media that make travel desirable and feasible such as radio and television broadcasts, newspapers and magazines, and other forms of mass communication. Modern travel practices also include banking facilities that allow convenient and trustworthy currency exchange; accommodations for lodging and food services; and any other services or products that meet the needs and desires of modern travelers. Yet travel practices go beyond modern infrastructures and services that make global travel possible, convenient, and comfortable. They include any practice, discourse, or circumstance that either necessitates translocal movements or that generates desires for and encourages people to travel. In the context of market capitalism, the construction and promotion of travel destinations constitutes important travel practices. Making a locale desirable for travelers to visit or settle there, and participating in discourses of place that travelers pay heed to, all are part of travel practices in the modern world. Likewise, the exclusion of populations deemed undesirable, both resident and transient, must be counted among modern travel practices. Thus, border controls and the policing of sites qualify as well. Like other places, religious sites that host tourist visitors are sustained with travel practices. But although religious adherents and non-adherent tourists both occupy the same site at the same times, their respective practices and resulting interpretations of its significance make distinct places of it. Thus, religious sites of tourism maintain what Bremer has called a simultaneity of places. Neither their religious quality nor their touristic character can make a total claim on these places – they remain both religious and touristic, occupied by both religious adherents and other tourists whose respective experiences of the site are quite different from each other. True, the experiences of particular individuals may cross between the religious and the touristic, as when tourists participate in religious activities or when religious followers indulge in the touristic attractions of their sacred precinct (pilgrims, for instance, often indulge in touristic practices in the course of their religious journeys). Yet the hybridity of these sites does not allow a seamless blending of the two; careful observations reveal clear distinctions between the places of religion and the places of tourism, despite the very real overlaps that inevitably constitute religious sites of tourism.

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