Thursday, March 11, 2010

Think outside the box. Color outside the lines. Undo the shape of civilization.


From the time many of us are born upon a rectangular table in a room on a floor of a square building on a street of a city grid until the day we die and are placed in a rectangular box and our remains lowered into a corresponding pit in the ground, we are forced to interface with shapes that deviate from those found in the natural world. A natural world doesn't contain much that is sharply angular, square, rectangular, or boxy.

The spring equinox is upon us, and we natural humans have long associated this season with fertility. When we think of fertility, we see roundness. The belly and breasts of a pregnant woman. Eggs. Nests. All these have arising from acts of pro-creativity.

Most food that comes from earth, herself spherical, has a roundness to it. Apples, eggs, nuts, peaches. We are naturally nourished with rounded objects, more than just physically.

Now take a look at our civilized existence.

As mentioned above, many of us have been born in harshly angled and lighted hospital rooms, our mothers lying upon a table. We are cleaned and placed in little cubicles, later to be driven to our cubicle home in a box on wheels and placed in a rectangular crib.

We go to school and are forced to sit in rows in rooms full of children who are steadily having their natural affinity to roundess squashed by scoldings about coloring outside the lines. This regimentation and induction into civilized society is not accidental, and the desks and rooms serve to separate us from our wonderful, round, nurturing world. Later in life, we may have to work in lines at a factory or sitting in a cubicle looking at a rectangular computer screen.

While visiting with a lovely pregnant friend a few days ago, her little 6 year-old boy alternately ran outside in the rain and dark or drummed a steady beat in the next room. He is attending an alternative school, and one of my first questions about his classroom was, "Do they make the children sit in rows?" "No," mom replied, "they just sit at tables wherever they want." It's a good move away from the strictness of sitting in desks in rows.

When I look at the city in which I live, I see layers upon layers of rooms, apartments, and offices. Humans have gone to great lengths and heights to stack themselves efficiently, but this only serves to further separate them from a world of beauty.

It seems that the layering and boxing of our existence began with planting food in rows instead of eating primarily the food which grew wild, or which could be hunted. This practice of agriculture made way for storing excess food produced, which in turn allowed increases in population. With the additions of artificial light to prolong our waking hours and petroleum fertilizers to produce megacrops, combined with a popular myth from a book that teaches that humans were ordained to "be fruitful and subdue the earth", we have reached an unsustainable world population.

Bring more roundness into your life. Try to look at life and time as circular instead of linear. See how one event feeds into another and then eventually repeats with the patterns of conception, birth, growth, death, and rebirth. Think about how we are regimented from very early in our lives to stand in line and stay in our domestic cages. Don't you ever long to be free?

Think outside the box.