Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fences

Looking around, I see fences. Some are fences to prevent children from falling into the deep creek bed. Some shield playing children from the eyes of those who might not wish them well. There is a little one that seems to only be there to keep the wildflowers from spilling over onto the walk. One is designed to keep deer from eating someone's fruit trees: it's too high to jump, but it doesn't block the view. The last one, however, is to keep everyone away. That one is high, sturdy, and conceals everything except a sliver of the front drive way.

For most of us in the Western world, private ownership and the right to exclude others from access to the land is a right. This is ingrained in our laws, in the very fine.we of society, and it has creepy into our products do much so that we treat anyone who doesn't see private ownership of everything as normal as if they are deeply flawed and dangerous. The idea of community property, especially the idea that something shouldn't be owned, strikes fear in the hearts of most Western peoples.that fear is the reason Karl Marx is so reviled. Yet, many societies had very limited ownership of the land. A few went do far as to claim that we more tightly belonged to the land than the land to us.

Ownership of the land enables us to chop landscapes into patches addicted together by the boundary lines of fences. Fences, at the very heart of their purpose, exclude. They are designed to prevent access in one direction to the contents of the land. Even if the owner claims that their fences are decorative, they are also declarative statements: this is not yours.

I wonder about what chopping things, any thing, does to that thing's energy. We've all heard that sometimes, a thing is greater than sum of its parts.  If land and its energy is like that, then each time we fence off an area, we weaken the energy and the total value (value as in to the world, not in terms of money) of that land.In a novel I read years ago, called "The Seventh Heart" by Marina Fitch, the personifications, the spirits of the land, changed each time the land was divided.  This caused them to become unstable and unhappy.  What if this really happens?  What if our desire to own, to contain, to control is a perversion of the natural order?  What price do we pay for that?

What if we are like that?  If we fence off parts of ourselves, it has to have an effect of every other part of our psyches.  If we keep in some things and keep out others, we are blocking energy and prevent the natural flow of that energy.  I'm looking at my fences, both the physical ones and the metaphoric ones and wondering, do I need these? What I am keeping out, and what do I keep hoarded away from the rest of the world? Does protection deny us anything that we might need?  I don't know yet, but i think, when the answers to these questions come, they won't be what I expect.

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