Wednesday, June 16, 2010

gated communities

Several months ago, during "spring break," my daughter and her boyfriend went to the Dominican Republic. She returned full of what a good time the two of them had had and I was happy for her.

But when she showed around the pictures she had taken, all of them were scenes within the gated community in which they lived. Palm trees, swimming pools, dining rooms, pictures of each other. There wasn't a church or historic fort or downtown bazaar or mountain trail or anything that would indicate the two of them hadn't been locked up on the east coast of Florida or someplace similar.

The gates were to keep the poverty and its implications at bay.

Gautama Buddha lived in similar circumstances, behind walls and surrounded by eye-popping comfort and luxury.

But never mind the fancy names of the past. The gated communities of the mind and heart serve similar purposes and are similarly protective and defensive. Jobs, finances, relationships, religions, cultures ... the walls are there to distinguish what is within from what is without. I am more interested whether it is true and less interested whether it is "good" or "bad."

I think it's true.

And I think it is pretty wearing.

Walls that keep something out also hem something in. And no one likes being hemmed in ... except when they imagine their safety is in question. And when the notion arises to escape the walls that hem in, as like as not, the escape route leads to yet another gated community, another safe haven, another protective and protected place.

Over and over again -- pictures of palm trees and swimming pools and faces smiling in the glamorous sunshine ... that then begins to cling and cloy.

It's not worth ranting about, but I do think it's worth consideration.

1 comment:

  1. These "latifundia" or gated communities are on the rise here too. One almost expects gun turrets to appear at the entrances to these mini estates.
    An aberrant growth which seems to be related to NIMBYism.
    No poverty,hawkers,outsiders, manifestation of "other" in my backyard.
    I feel uncomfortable just walking by..