walls and a cipher

I thought the discussion at the end of our last session was really interesting and I just wanted to put some of my thoughts and questions onto the blog, perhaps for the chance to bring some of the discussion outside of the Thursday sessions.

First, the idea of walls as a structural element in identity and character. It is obvious that a set of walls is unique to each individual person. They must come about for a variety of reasons: familial tradition, cultural tradition, self-exploration, the conditions exerted upon one by the outside world or simply individual experience both from a central and periphery view. Furthermore some are inherited, some are acquired willfully, others are imposed both consciously and unconsciously. In a way our interaction with each other is guided by these walls as points that inform our navigation of the world of communication and communicability. Without them there is chaos, or perhaps it's the highest order that is free from reference points?

I am interested specifically in how we (you in this case) manage these self structures. How does a wall become built into your infrastructure, how do you take some of them down once they become useless. Is there a certain set you keep forever, such as a certain code of conduct, or a set of morals. Why does a wall become obsolete, and is it erased or replaced by something else?

How many of these walls are informed upon us by outside agents. Family, government, mentors, friends. How do you decipher which ones are true, honest? Which ones based on a false premise?

Is there a conscious connectivity on your individual part to create connectivity between these structures and your in-depth study of a specific area of expertise here at the university? If so what is the particular goal of your study?

I feel and share a particular view on this as if the study was simply a refinement of the thinking mechanism, almost disconnected from the actual set of knowledge. It is this training that allows the mind to transcribe any given set of actions that is given to it once you establish a goal that you really want to achieve.

Another concept I find interesting in this discussion is that of a cipher. Secondary knowledge, primarily through literature, visual and audible sources almost always requires a cipher. When hip-hop was being created and as it moved through a variety of states, a cipher was always a necessity to make hip-hop available to people outside of the culture. In this way any of the new knowledge that is being created, and a lot of it that has already been created requires a cipher. That is outside of a certain universal standard, for example the majority of our generation knowing how to operate a basic computer.

A cipher allows for two individuals to connect their knowledge (multiple individuals, societies, etc..). In this sense it is almost an individual affair, as each person has to figure out his/her own cipher to the outside world. How do I put my ideas and thoughts out into the public sphere in a way that will make it possible for me to connect with others who can remix or reflect them.

There are of course walls established by family, culture, and government that allow these connections to be made, because we sort of inherently understand how to navigate the basics of human interconnection. We are taught.

But I see an incredible amount of failure in this every day. If you don't actively build your set of ciphers you become limited to a certain layer of society. And here is another scenario, the people that do understand each other, but in the context of a commercial world choose to take advantage of each other... what is their deal?

How does the net alter these definitions and processes by which they are implemented into our minds? And would the net aid in the global acquisition of ciphers, or would there still be large fractions of societies all over the world who will continue to be as lost in the net as they are in the real world...

Anyways...just throwing some thoughts out there, if you can add something I would definitely be happy.



I just wrote out a bunch of my thoughts on this topic and then my computer restarted before I had a chance to submit it. I'm going to have to come back to this later when it's not 3AM, but don't worry. You're not being completely ignored.

In my experience, there is a constant discovery and analysis of these “walls.” I find some very easy to identify and deconstruct, but others are so fundamental that they persist unnoticed. There are so many within our society that questioning any aspect of our daily lives reveals another one.

In response to your question about deciding which walls are worth keeping around, my process involves an evaluation of the purpose behind the wall and a comparison of that purpose to my established values (this process may involve the establishment of a value). Often the two conflict. Then the question becomes what do I do about it? In my own circle, I have the freedom/courage to do away with the particular wall and sometimes this may extend outside of my circle. At other times, I allow walls to remain out of convenience or because of unwanted consequences or merely a lack of courage. Many times, I struggle to decide whether a wall is useful and therefore leave it open for further discussion.

As a society, I think we agree upon certain walls that make us feel comfortable, civilized, or safe. But as a newer member of society, I have to question whether these walls make sense to me. Many walls were set up long before my existence and maybe some are out-of-date or have no real merit. As we humans progress, should not the walls we construct evolve as well? I think that this occurs naturally to an extent, but the question is relevant nonetheless.
I like to think that any wall has the potential for removal. I don’t see an end to my own process of “wall evaluation,” but I do think I will come to rest upon some guiding principles.

Would the abandonment of all walls result in a state of chaos? Or does this very question reflect a wall imposed by an “outside agent”?
I think that many walls are imposed by government, religion and other institutions that are an attempt to stifle thoughts that might upset the current order.

I think that my discussion casts a mostly negative view on walls but I think there are walls we choose to embrace and maybe I will add more on that later.

I'd love to hear any sort of response to this discussion.

This is the type of discussion that I've been hoping we'd get to, sorry for not responding earlier but I think we should try to keep this discussion going for the duration of the class.

In my experience walls serve more as a maze, where we can either allow ourselves to be guided blindly throughout these structures and exist within the world presented to us, or we can destroy those walls enabling us to exist in a space that allows energy and ideas to flow freely. Chaos would not occur if these walls were to fall, but it would require each individual to take responsibility for representing themselves properly in a society where there are no norms. Obviously there will be some that will take advantage of the lack of norms and act out in response, but the majority (including most of our campus) would be able to unite in this space and I think some beautiful things could be accomplished.

Walls provide a safety net so that we don't feel completely vulnerable to the real world; in a sense it's a how to guide on how to deal with society. If we could somehow remove these we would be able to have people organically interacting with another, allowing all sorts of collaborative projects and continuous flow within this space.

This state of flow is essential not only for collaboration but for self-actualization in realizing just what exactly you're made up of and what you're capable of.

I don't especially like to put any limits on my "walls." I don't say, "Okay, this is how things are going to be forever." I'm not super swayed by organized things like government, religion, or even family. I do, however, take a lot from various fictional sources. Such is the life of an English major, I suppose. Anyway, I like to think that I'm always willing to give walls a chance to naturally change, but I rarely knock them down entirely. They're part of who I am.

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This page contains a single entry by polu0011 published on November 1, 2009 8:19 PM.

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