More and more walls are rising in our world.
All sorts of walls: brick, stone, identity, geographical, ideological, and economic. There there are social barriers of race, sex and physical abilities. Roles and social affiliations are other forms of demarcation. So are rules.
We often 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 barriers 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 protections. 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 barriers 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 more than 7 billion people on the planet, they are being questioned by some in a more serious way than ever before.
Walls are meant to protect us when we need protecting. They are not meant to just keep others out. Walls and boundaries are not the same thing. There is a distinction. Walls are a closed and fixed structure; boundaries are more open and flexible.
The Limitations Of Walls
Sometimes barriers 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 all kinds of barriers more so than others:
- 7 billion people all with their own walls is unwieldy.
- we have always needed to cooperate. However, the complexity of our current human systems and the demands on them require a more skillful interdependency.
- 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.
What to do?
Changing the closed structures of the human race is a big task. The barriers 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 on 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 the world where people see that they do not need them.