Archive for April 17th, 2010
Spring is a time for reflection and for finding reflections. As the snow from the recent blizzard is melting, I caught this small pool of water in my son’s back yard. What appealed was the shimmery quality of the water as well as the reflections of fence wire and fence post. It is almost as if the entrance into this world is barricaded to keep people out (or is it to keep the shady characters of the underworld from escaping into our outer world?). I took this photo in the late afternoon in order to catch the change in light that comes at that time of day, a light that paints the world with a hint of gold.
Light, the bending of light and its transformation of the world it touches makes for interesting photographs. And it symbolises the transformations we experience as humans. That shimmery golden light seems to be the boundary between the physical world as we know it and another world. This golden light becomes a boundary between day and night hinting that there might be something of value to be found in the darkness, something not otherwise accessible.
The question of boundaries goes beyond the simple division of spaces, places and states of being. Obviously there are boundaries such as exist separating private property, physical boundaries that are solid. What I want to look at here are those that are porous such as the boundary between consciousness and the unconscious. We talk of relationships (self and other) and see that there are obvious physical boundaries. Yet, there exists a zone between self and other that is porous and not influenced by conscious intention. The personal unconscious of both, as well as the collective unconscious have a way of ignoring intentional conscious boundaries, even what we could call ethical and moral boundaries.
It is easy to accept the notion of respecting the privacy of others, yet we think nothing as a society in creating and using technological tools that render privacy obsolete. We do so in the name of public safety. And, for the most part, we accept this significant erosion of privacy. On a more personal level, we are less willing to allow the boundary to be ignored. We expect the door to the bathroom to remain closed giving us privacy. We expect our diaries and journals to be kept sacred. We expect our sessions with analysts, therapists, doctors, counsellors and other institutional officials to be kept private. We even create laws for most of these expectations. Yet, for all of those laws, expectations and beliefs, most are willing to sacrifice these boundaries for reasons that they perceive as in the best interests of someone for whom they have a concern.
Parents read the journals of their children hoping to be able to deal with suicidal ideation or developing problems involving drugs. Nanny cams are set up both to monitor the baby sitters and the children. This comes about because of a lack of trust and the perceived need to know in spite of the need of others for privacy. It appears that these boundaries are for “self” but not “others.” The same can be said about married couples where one partner decides that the privacy of the partner is secondary to the need to “know” about perceived and real issues. Diaries, journals, emails and web surfing history are fair game as is the hiring of private investigators to track and even photograph the partner. Are these social and relational boundaries important enough to be sanctified and respected, or are they conditional? Who sets the conditions if conditional?
Tough questions. Any thoughts on your part with the question of boundaries?