Nov 28, 2011

The Border: The Psychology of Walls and Fences

A fascinating analysis of the psychology of walls, at the U.S. border or elsewhere. We were recently in El Paso, Texas, and seeing the wall there reminded us of the one in Berlin. "While walls and fences are certainly physical things — imposing ones at that — a good deal of their power comes from elsewhere. As their role in political discourse makes clear, they are also things of the mind.

... Walls ... are built not for security, but for a sense of security. The distinction is important, as those who commission them know very well. What a wall satisfies is not so much a material need as a mental one. Walls protect people not from barbarians, but from anxieties and fears, which can often be more terrible than the worst vandals. In this way, they are built not for those who live outside them, threatening as they may be, but for those who dwell within. " read more

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