Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Something There Is That Doesn't Love A Cage

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence."
- Robert Frost, "Mending Wall"

Poetry eludes me. I had to study that damn Robert Frost poem for several months when I was in school. If I had bumped into Robert Frost at the time, I would have made sure to bump him hard, with my pointy and frosty cold shoulder.

I think the boring old bastard was on to something, though, at least in the poem above.

I've been thinking about cages lately. Humans seem to love cages. We, of our own free will, put ourselves in cages as often as we put others (willing or not) into cages. We put cages around things we like, around things we don't like, between us and the people around us, and after we've caged everything, we sing because we're secure and happy and don't have anything to fear.

Or so we think.

But the fear creeps in to our little cages. It comes and stops our songs. So we start building new cages to keep the fear out. The fear is tricky, though. It slips right through our new cages, so we try to build even stronger cages. Other people come and sell us new, bigger, better, more sophisticated cages, and kindly build them right around us. How nice of them! They're concerned about our well-being! Right?

We'll keep the fear out, and the rest of those rotten bastards too
, we think to ourselves as we watch the bricks and bars rise around us.

Soon it's too late to wonder if the cages are keeping danger out, or keeping us in. One day it dawns on a few of us that in our race to keep out the fear, we also blocked out beauty, wonder and joy.

Most of us slowly forget about real living. Instead, we accept the twisted beauty and "wonder" that we've foolishly let in to our cages. Real beauty passes unnoticed. Real wonder is suppressed. We teach any new cage dwellers to live and feel just like we do.

The cages don't care what we do. Their only concern is keeping out out, and in in. Everyone else in the world is trapped in their own cage, so they can't help us get out of ours. And then we find out the people who sold us our cages like us right where we are, thank you.

To top it all off, we've got thousands of years worth of cages keeping everything seperate.

And so, we end up fucked. All there is left to do is try and break down the cages we so carefully built around ourselves. Busting out of our cage is hard enough, but adding to the difficulty are the people who have fooled themselves into believing that they love being caged. If you try to get through any of the cages they built, these people will fight you tooth and nail. They'll fight you because you're trying to let the fear get in to them again.

Be wary of those happily caged, because the fear has already taken them and you don't want to end up on the wrong end of a fight-or-flight decision.

Cages are the physical manifestation of our collective fear. When you see a cage, stop to think about whether that cage really needs to be there. A lot of times - most of the time - the cages aren't protecting us from anything.

The most noble thing we can do is escape from the cages keeping us in, and break down the cages we built around others.


Chris Cope said...

Robert Frost is the only poet I've ever even close to understanding, or thinking that I understood. I used to think very seriously about having "Miles to go before I sleep" tattooed onto my arm.

Your thing about cages reminds me of my complaint about boxes. People live in constant pursuit of boxes -- living, working and moving in boxes so that they can buy varied and better boxes.

Combatscoot said...

The Box People!! Very profound. I like it.

Lucky said...

Boxes are just cages without holes.

Which, in it's way, makes them even more nefarious.