Walls: Why Do We Create Them?
This morning, I saw a squirrel trying to scale a wall of my house.
too, love to climb the walls as they scamper after tiny flies.
The walls that link together to house something form the embracing arms of security.
A wall that stands alone, however, arouses curiosity.
Do you ever look at a wall
and wonder what is hiding behind it?
Robert Frost said in the "The Mending Wall":
“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall...”
"Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What was I walling in or walling out
And to whom I was like to give offense..."
Walls have had an immense influence on mankind since the dawn of civilization. The
first walls were the cave walls. Man left his first traces of existence on the cave
walls as the first hint of his soul and imagination, since he created art despite
his new and unfamiliar status on the planet earth.
Ever since, the walls have become mankind’s showcase. Man has made his walls out
of a myriad of materials: wood like knotty pine, teak, cherry, mahogany, oak, sticks,
tree trunks or logs, dry stone, cement, brick, glass, metal, plastic, hay, flesh,
suspicion or sensitivity.
He has filled these walls or left them hollowed. Then, he has painted the walls
drab gray or in all colors or whitewashed them. Sometimes has kept them in their
natural tones; he has wall-papered them not only with paper but with plastics and
other invented materials; and he has paneled them with wood and synthetic materials.
On top of these walls, he has hung tapestry, billboards, lamps, neon lights, flower
boxes, paintings, mirrors, signs, inscriptions, advertisements, manifestos, photos,
writing, and even poetry.
Then, after ivy climbed the walls of some of his schools, the man has made those
schools above and beyond the reach of others, calling them Ivy League Schools.
As if all this wasn’t enough, man has invited the wall both in concept and expression
into his language. Man walls in his feelings, walls out the unwanted, and stonewalls
someone else’s offer of progress. He keeps four walls around himself, and when this
becomes too much to handle for him, he climbs the walls, making off-the-wall comments.
When he can’t proceed or his mind is blocked, he runs into a wall. He smirks at
girls who are wallflowers standing on wall-to-wall carpeting. If he is too drunk
or gets an ophthalmologic illness, he becomes walleyed.
Man has given the name "wall" to natural structures and phenomena like
the canyon walls, sea walls, the eye wall inside a hurricane, walls of time, the
cell walls inside his body, and many other things in his universe.
Sometimes man’s imagination and extra sensory perception take over for him to see
apparitions drift through the walls. For possibly the similar reason, when he is
afraid to tell his secrets, he’ll whisper to say, "the walls have ears,"
personifying the walls. He even gives four walls to his Pandora’s Box. Then, as
a masochist, he opens that box.
Occasionally, man reveres what a wall represents, as in the case of the Wailing
Wall in Jerusalem and the black granite wall of Vietnam War Memorial. Sometimes,
man brings down a wall constructed for one reason when its purpose has run out of
fashion or it doesn’t serve his purposes anymore such as the Berlin Wall. Some nasty
walls like prison walls are visible. Others may be invisible, but their malicious
effects are felt deeply inside the humanity's psyche like the Iron Curtain,
the Walls of Prejudice or Bias, Walls of Revenge, and Walls of Anger.
Man attaches walls to everything in his life. He is the mason who builds the walls,
only to protest and whine about them. Then, he tries to break through these walls
or to bring them down, and for that, he spends more effort than erecting them.
This getting rid of the walls business has to be carried out with caution, without
banging into walls, hurting oneself, or hurting anyone who is walled in by one thing
or another. Especially in the case of an inner child who is trapped inside the man’s
being, one has to break down the walls gently but with firm hands, since inner children
are especially sensitive.
So, why does man build a wall? Probably, to challenge himself, since challenges
employ and entertain. If only man wouldn't scrape his skin while climbing or
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