Borders are invisible lines that show where we touch, and boundaries keep everything from spilling into one big blob. I feel like a lot of discourse today thinks of these conceptual fences as negatives, obstacles that separate people. However, I think they just show how thick the ties that bind are. Just s rules we choose for ourselves give meaning to our lives, so do boundaries and borders define who we are as individuals and which collectives we have chosen to belong to.
I have learned a lot about myself from what I do and don’t share on this blog. I am really enjoying writing it, and in a way the blank page is a more supportive and infinitely patient, non judgmental listener than any human being could ever be. It’s given me a great outlet for a lot of the thoughts I think to myself and have to store up for the right kind of audience, and then I just feel the need to conceptualize as much as I can when the opportunity comes. However, most listeners only have so much appetite for it, and I don’t want to miss out on actually connecting with those people. I’m very happy in the abstract world, but there’s a lot more to me. In fact, I think I use the intellectualism thing as a shield or an excuse not to try to connect when I’m weary of feeling misunderstood. High school never ends in some ways, but thank God it has and for the most part I’m surrounded with amazing people.
Hanging out with my business school classmates has given me some basis for comparison since they have somewhat similar interests and backgrounds. They often really struggle with abstract concepts though. They really see the world in a more concrete, task oriented way. We had a seminar called business design where we were supposed to use design-thinking to creatively solve a business problem, but most people stayed planted in the box. The professor did everything he could to urge people to think big, but most were focused on thinking through the practicality of their proposals. For me, being over there on cloud 9 kind of sets me apart from a lot of other MBA candidates (yup, we just sound that cool) in my program. Just like God decided to separate the dome above the earth from the earth itself, having my head in the clouds is one major boundary between me and a good portion of the world. In case you were wondering, I don’t follow any sports. Shocker.
All that being said, thank God for those normal business students. They are the people that actually get shit done and don’t spend all their time dreaming like I do. If I had a dude that was halfway between me and earth, we could conquer the world with my eagle eye vision and a little tether to keep it a little practical. If only I had some kind of down-to-earth co-founder, I could come up with a million ideas for businesses and strategies and operas and art exhibitions, but I would honestly not want to work through the details of actually getting it done. I just like having the ideas and imagining it. Alas, we are not living in the version of heaven seen in the movie “What Dreams May Come,” where everything you imagine immediately comes to life. Maybe in another 500 years or so of human innovation, but in the immediate future, I’m sure there are reasons that my personality type, ENTP, is only 3% of the population. The world can only handle so many people who constantly question the status quo and dream better than they do. But without my kind of people, the world would never change and we would not have the luxury of time to blog or the information superhighway that connects us.
There are other boundaries too. The things you share with your friends, parents, significant other, random people on facebook, cool people on twitter, and the life story you recount to strangers (if you are me). I’m pretty open and consider a lot of things in the public domain, tending to believe in the goodness of people and the duty to put yourself out there if it helps spread a little love to keep the world going ’round and the utility of sharing because it helps you connect with people, which I do so love. However, even considering what I’ve recently declassified from the mouldering annals, the real me is in part what I don’t share. I think the biggest mark of trust and intimacy for me is crying in front of someone. Only people that really make me feel comfortable can me having an immediate, shared emotional reaction, whereas with most people I will just carry on coldly and react later, in private, if at all. I’ve cried a lot more since I lived in France, but for the most part I’m just either in high or low level equilibrium (Libra power!).
There are also borders that have to do with group identity. Humor is a pretty big dividing line, especially because so many things don’t translate across language or culture. There are some jokes that only people from a similar social/ethnic background are going to get, Google the blog “Stuff White People Like.” We are all the product of our environment, but it’s the allegiances we affirm as adults that count the most. Before I went to France, I didn’t think of myself as particularly religious but I’m part of a church-going family and never didn’t want to go, but when I was separated from all that, and armed with all modern science and philosophy to the contrary of religion, decided to go anyway, it became an even more meaningful part of my life. [Not that I didn’t always question it anyway and read self-helpy books on Buddhist psychology and attend Hindu celebrations with friends and read Joseph Campbell’s the Power of Myth on similarities between religions because I am just like that. That’s what happens when you are high N (iNtuition on the Jungian personality types test you can find at http://similarminds.com/jung.html) and decide that learning about personality psychology will totally unlock the mysteries of the social universe and are a little ADD (True story: It kind of does). ] Did I actually just use brackets because my thoughts were that digressive and parenthetical? Guess it’s time to spit it out, go to sleep, and prepare to study a little more tomorrow, j’espere (I hope).
So I hope I’ve convinced that divisions, however you demarcate them, aren’t always a bad thing. A big part of knowing who you are is knowing what you share and who you share it with. It can take a lot of time and self-adjustment to know who to share what with (I’m sure we have all had a negative experience somewhere along the way), but that doesn’t make sharing not with it either. So come into my castle, Saint Teresa of Avila’s metaphor for the soul, and I will show you some treasures. Wild guess as to that meaningful religion of mine now. Another barrier broken.
Love you all,