Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've often thought about the walls we create, not just physical walls to separate ourselves from others but the mental walls we create, build up around us and hide behind. The concept of tearing those walls down has also fascinated me. And I suppose - to some extent - my interest has been driven by my great love of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" song cycle, especially since it was popular at a time in my life when I was dealing with a lot of walls of my own. Some time ago I was reading an article about the city of Berlin in Smithsonian magazine, and there was this quote from Berlin novelist Peter Schneider:
"It will take us longer to tear down the Mauer im Kopf ('Wall in the head'), than any wrecking company will need to remove the Wall we can see."
The wall in the head. We all create walls in the head. We hide behind them, and we seek to imprison that which we don't want to deal with behind other walls. It's not long before our psyche becomes a maze of walls of varying heights and substances that we can't see over, get around, or pass through. Tearing down those walls can at times be painful, but often - as Pellucid wrote - we tear them down to find there really isn't anything behind them.
Why do we create these walls? How do we tear them down?