Walls Do Not Make Us Safe

Wall Street © by Manu_H

The walls are up in our society.

All sorts of walls: brick, stone, identity, geographical, ideological, and economic.

There there are physical walls of race, sex and physical abilities.

Roles and social affiliations are another form of wall.

So are rules.

We can’t live with them and we cannot live without them.

Why We Have Walls

Walls are not intrinsically a problem. However, after thousands of years of creating walls to protect ourselves we are now drowning in them.

Rules, roles, customs, conventions, expressed expectations, unexpressed expectations. There are a lot of ways to create walls. We humans have been very creative about it.

And of course we all have our personal walls including our habits and personalities.

Many of our walls came into being when we needed them when our species was younger and more defenseless. They became a part of our reality out of necessity. Now with 7 billion people on the planet they are being questioned in a more serious way than every before.

Walls are meant to protect us when we need protecting. They are not meant to just keep others out. There is a distinction. Walls are a closed and fixed structure; boundaries are more open and flexible.

The Limitations Of Walls

Sometime walls are contrived and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they help and sometimes they do not.

There is a reason why, however, at this particular point in time we are in need of a rethink about walls more so than others:

  1. 7 billion people all with their own walls is unwieldy.
  2. we have always needed to cooperate. However, the complexity of our current human systems and the demands on them require a more skillful interdependency.
  3. our problems are bigger. There are too many of us for the resources on the planet. Our walls are making it harder to solve our big problems and we cannot shut ourselves off from the needs of others.
Walls are what we have when boundaries fail, when we cannot find a way to negotiate our differing needs and claims on mutually shared resources. They are what we create when we do not trust.

What to do?

Changing the closed structures of the human race is a big task. The walls cannot be simply brought down. Instead we need to ask ourselves a new question.

What does a human society look like with cultural institutions built on the basis of and for the purpose of creating trust? Trust is something we create just like anything else.

Perhaps at one time survival was more important than trust. Well, we survived!

Now we have to repair the damage and figure out how to create a different kind of human society built around trust and sustainability.

Structures create results. Now we need new results so we need new structures.

It is time for an overhaul. Let’s bring the walls down by creating a world where people see that they do not need them.

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