I’m not John Lennon. The glasses wouldn’t suit me. But I’d like you to imagine, for a moment, our earth with no borders.
I know the more practical minded among you will be thinking politics now, or distribution, or space.
But, damn…. we made them. We can break them. At least within ourselves.
It’s been on my mind: what are borders even about — like at the core? There was once a time where there were none. And I daresay there will be again when this planet is finished with us.
Now, there’s nuclear weapons and money involved. Guns, knives, murderers, other yucky stuff. Even, and this weirdly seems the deepest terror of all; people who look different from us.
But really, borders are just caused by a sense of lack. There are humans who actively seek out to take the fortunes of others. That’s really it, right? Walls were built to keep out marauders, empires were gathered to demonstrate a wealth too big to be stolen. We don’t want people to take from us, and people feel they need or want to take, so we protect ourselves. I see it most clearly today in the Australian approach to asylum seekers. We have so much space. What we don’t have is courage.
Many things can be solved with happiness.
Happiness and a feeling of wealth both spring directly from our self-view; what we honestly think of ourselves when no one is looking. And a self-view is almost wholly developed through actions. If we take actions we like, we become people we like. If we don’t, we feel lack. And lack makes us crazy and needy.
Lately, I’ve started impressing myself. I know it’s not cool to say that, like if I’m impressed with myself I must be thinking I am above someone else. Particularly in Australia, “tooting your own horn” is completely unpatriotic. At school we called it “having tickets on yourself”. It’s much cooler to call yourself worthless.
But impressing myself feels good. Setting that big adventure goal and hitting it feels good. Getting off the couch and moving my body when it’d be easier to watch telly feels good. Those actions chip away at the lack and replace it with tiny sparks of happy that really never dim.
The problem is, it’s so easy to be swayed into lack.
I spent 7 weeks of last year on the seat of a cycle rickshaw, rarely stepping into anything more civilised than a service station. When I finished, walking into a shopping centre at Christmas time was one of the larger shocks of my adult life. There was no direction I could look in that didn’t contain a bright suggestion about what I should be and want. Every surface was covered in a price or a product, and the ones that weren’t were mirrors to multiply the big sell. In fact I didn’t just feel shocked, I felt fear.
I wasn’t enough. I’d be better with X,Y,Z product. I had nothing to offer my family if I didn’t leave with armfuls of presents to put under the tree.
I make a habit of not going in there any more.
My point is — when we feel worthless, we need what we perceive others to have. And when taking from others occurs, borders are built. Borders keep us in our homes, in our towns, in our countries; reducing our courage to step out and experience the truth of the thing. They keep us controllable and easy to sell to. They keep us guessing instead of grinning, hiding instead of shining.
Do the swim. Crawl through the cave system. Cross that border. Tell people you just met that you love them. Buy all the “tickets” to your own damn show. Don’t be afraid.
Freedom is on the other side.