The Parable of Boundaries
If you haven’t spent time alone with yourself, feeling for your personal boundaries, you aren’t ready for life.
We could rephrase that for Christians as spending time in God’s presence, in prayer and meditation, but on the human plane the difference is nil. A spiritual awareness simply adds another level of imperative.
In many ways, the signal difference between childhood and adulthood is taking responsibility for yourself. You can’t do that unless you’ve spent time with yourself with a level of disengagement, detachment. You have to be out of your mind to usefully return to your senses. Infants have no ego boundaries. The awareness develops of itself, but means nothing without contextual teaching. We teach children by degrees how to disengage, but no one can do it for them. If they don’t have a sense of how they impact the rest of the world, and that it matters for its own sake, they remain children. We call this developing an ego, a sense of self-awareness.
By the same token, identifying the boundaries between egos also means identifying sane limits. Not in the sense we avoid crossing those boundaries; they will be crossed or humans don’t communicate. We can’t transgress them meaningfully without understanding them. We can’t take our place in this world until we sense the moral boundaries of human limitations. We already have too many people honestly incapable of rising above childhood without people simply failing or refusing. Children typically have an inflated yet fragile ego, and sanity means fixing that.
Whatever it is we imagine life is for, whether you believe in God or the Fall or whatever, we have to understand where other people are. Even if we choose to reject everyone else’s sensibilities, we still have to know what they are. The alternative is a madness to which we already stand too close.
There are a very large number of people yet gripped in their childhood mythology. They want reality to change to meet them, and stumble along with varying measures of success because too many people humor them entirely too much. Most of humanity are too polite in places where rudeness is demanded, and too rude where it really serves no purpose. That doesn’t leave too many of us sane people to shake things up. This is no crusade, but if you choose to sally forth against insanity, you’ll need this minimum consideration behind you. You have to change, at least in the sense of dumping everyone else’s fantasies for your own.
Most of those pulling the levers of social and political control are demanding you embrace a very bad fantasy. This won’t be easy. Strategically it won’t matter whether they actually believe those fantasies; it affects only tactics in the context. The problem is the fantasy itself, and their demands for uniformity.
So you’ll often encounter people who simply don’t grasp sanity, and some will be more annoying than others. Given our economic insanity, you may well have to share a lot of time and space with idiots. They’ll gnaw at your boundaries. They are so egregiously silly, they aren’t satisfied with ignoring them, but openly attack them, taking it as a personal insult you are different. God has all the power in the universe, and more, but He may not authorize you to escape them directly in time and space. That means creating a space internally, a space in effect. You can’t control them, but you can control yourself and learn to make them respect your boundaries to varying degrees.
The default is a detached regard. Attack the problem, not the person. Getting you to hate them is part of their attack; don’t surrender that. Don’t permit them significance until they earn it. Make it insanely expensive. Respond functionally to the issue when it arises, with a detached examination of how they respond back. Learn the tactics of boundary management as a normal measure of existence. Even a measure of dread is a win for them. “Sure, act stupid all you like. I have all the time in the world to shut you out. I do this every day.”
It’s an art to discern the fatal flaw in another person’s madness, but it’s enough to simply know what you have to do to pass through this life. If you can’t, then don’t deal with certain things. This is why I suggest violence does have a place, even if it sits in a low priority position. Without any discernible passion, punch their lights out and remark on why and how to avoid it the next time. What does it take to keep them a safe distance? Meanwhile, develop your armor. If physical violence is too improbable for whatever reason, there are various measures of noncooperation which serve the same purpose. People with too much power still have their own limits, and you can find ways to negotiate boundary collisions. Be the smart one in the problem and you’ll suffer less.
Still, don’t surrender more than you can afford. You are the only one who knows what that is at any given time. That’s why you need a frequent dose of human isolation, to reset and make those inevitable readjustments, or at least reaching out there and feeling for those boundaries again.