"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, April 25, 2003
Our freedom depends on the walls around us
lib·er·ty Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French liberté, from Latin libertat-, libertas, from liber free
Date: 14th century
1 : the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases b : freedom from physical restraint c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e : the power of choice
2 : What I do not have in my office
I think I may have mentioned that I work in a closet.
Its not really a closet, it is just a badly designed office in another building from the rest of the company. But it feels like a closet, all narrow and tall and no light. The image I had in my head when we moved here was of a bear trap.
I used to take walks at lunchtime at a local park called Maymont. It is a beautiful place with sculpture, gardens, lots of walking paths and even wildlife. I had particular routes mapped that would fill my lunch hour on a brisk walk up and down the hills, but eventually I would get bored and venture along some other path I had not been down.
One day I ended up in the wild animal area and noticed a cage along a side path, so I walked over to see what was in that cage. The path took me to the second story level, and I found myself looking down on a circular enclosure with a tree in the middle and a raised bench around the circumference. There was one entry to what appeared to be a den of some sort just under me.
It was not long until a small fox came out of the den. He hopped up on the bench and walked around the edge of the enclosure in a complete circle. Then he spun around quickly and walked the same route in reverse, hopping down and returning to his den.
Moments later, he reappeared and repeated every single action again perfectly.
As I watched him, he did this over and over and over, tracing the exact same route around the periphery of his cage. I could now see where he had actually worn a path where he was walking, he had done this so much.
I tapped on the cage (the signs tell you not to but I could not resist) and he looked at me for the slightest moment, then ignored me and resumed his circuit.
It dawned on me that the fox had gone mad.
He had been caged so long that his mind had just snapped, and all he could do now was repeat the same futile behavior over and over and over. Foxes don't live in round cages, and he knew that. Now though, I wonder if he could have escaped even if there was an opening, or would he just continue the same useless circuit till he died.
Caging animals or people up can cause bizarre behavior. There are doctors who think that the mere placing of a prisoner on death row will drive him insane. Solitary confinement is a well accepted punishment, and very effective.
I do not want to live like that, and that's what I am doing. I want people and windows and sunlight, not a computer monitor and a dark corner all alone for hours on end.
I am going to fix this.
I have to.
There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.
Colette (1873 - 1954), 'Freedom,' 1908