Friday, June 17, 2016

Another brick in the wall

On a recent walk with the dogs I come across several new pieces of graffiti - including one that said 'vandalism is bad'. Yes, well, enough said, right?

One that got me thinking though, on a high brick wall, was 'Don't be just another brick in the wall'. Ironically, the wall was right next to a school.... (All together now...) We don't need no education....  We don't need no thought control....

But I got to thinking about the bricks in the wall. The lie told to the youth today is that you do all be whatever you want to be. This is, patently, a lie. Just like the lie that everyone can be a leader. If everyone was a leader, who would they lead? While there has been much research to try to determine whether every child truly has the same potential at birth, and if so, how to maximize it for every child, the reality is that all children do not start out win the same potential at birth, but also that whatever potential a child may have at birth, the circumstances whole growing it will often determine the end product. Of course there are exceptions, but then, every rule has its exception.

So, coming back to the bricks... If every brick tried to be a bird, there would be no walls. And walls can be good. Walls serve to protect - and I'm not just thinking about protection from crime. Walls protect against wind, and storms, and adverse weather. They can provide shade from the summer sun, and radiate heat on cold nights. Walls are good things. Every brick in a wall serves a noble purpose, but only provided that the wall was erected for a noble purpose. Aspiring to be a brick is a noble calling.

The problem, then, is not whether you are a brick or not, but which wall you are part of. Are you part of a wall that protects and shelters, or one that divides and contributes to increased fear? And how does the brick know? And does the brick really get much of a choice?

If the builder is the one who selects the bricks, and determines the purpose for the wall, then the real question becomes which builder are you in the hands of? One who builds for a noble purpose, or one who builds out of fear and intolerance? When you find yourself in a wall that is noble, do you long for something else, to be something other than a brick? If you find yourself in a wall that has an ignoble purpose, how do you respond? 

It's at this point that the analogy has been stretched to its natural endpoint, and falls apart. But up till here, it's an interesting thought to ponder, is it not?