Thursday, October 22, 2009

Be Properly Bounded

I'm thinking this morning about the sense of enclosure, of being bounded. I guess the word for it is boundaries.

I've presently got a house around me. I could run against the wall if I wanted but that's as far as I would get. I usually take it for granted that there's a house around me, but it's something to think about once in a while.

It's comforting to know that the house is there. That whatever rain, wind, and blowing leaves there are outside aren't in here. It's warmer in here too, because the furnace puts out warm air that mostly is restricted by the same boundaries. I need to put some plastic over one of my windows, since it's always cold right there. The boundary line must be compromised.

There's lots about boundaries that I like. Having a property line lets me know where all my half acre extends to, and it lets others know they shouldn't be encroaching on it. Having personal boundaries keeps society perking along, with other people's fists not regularly encroaching on my face. Those are physical boundaries.

Social boundaries are good too, and these are more often in the process of being established or extended, and sometimes being exceeded. The judge in Louisiana who refused to marry an interracial couple was taken by surprise that social boundaries have been extended. The rest of us expect judges to keep up!

My opinion of boundaries would be the commonplace one, that they're good, as long as they're not artificially encroaching on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Since we all live in a more or less bounded environment anyway, there's really no going beyond them, unless you're NASA or the late Steve Fossett.

So that's the topic.

I've got a few minutes to relate this to self-esteem, confidence, and pride, as part of my "Drive-for-Pride" campaign, which rolls on!

Self-esteem is obviously about yourself. You can see the common sense boundaries of your body. I need to get to the fitness club and work on the boundaries of my own body, because I like them to be a little leaner and more defined. But that's me. Up here, though, in your mind, there aren't always the same boundaries. They're there, of course. But we can take flights of fancy. And beyond that, we're being mentally extended all the time, whether we want to be or not.

I personally want to be mentally extended. So if I'm not too anxious about something, I can relax and read and, you know, go beyond. But I also want to be able to keep it in some kind of manageable context, which is going to help me have meaning. If I have an infinite number of thoughts about an infinite number of things -- imagine it -- there's going to be no meaning, because there would be no reflection, or you could say there'd be infinite reflection, which, as far as I'm concerned, would be the same as saying there's none.

For there to be meaning and any defined context, then, I need mental boundaries. So I'm thinking of them. And I'm thinking where they should be, what kind of extension is to be allowed, insofar as these things can be consciously regulated.

You and I will both have greater self-esteem the more we take charge of our own thinking. It makes sense, doesn't it, that if you think your thinking is out of your grasp, that your self-esteem, confidence, and pride are going to be nebulous?

I personally started this day thinking about boundaries -- in terms of what is holy, in terms of transgressing boundaries, etc., etc., which I have no time for now. But the boundaries I'm thinking of above is the same subject, who you are in an integral, conscious way up here, then who you'll be in the physical world around.

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