How Can A Gate Work On A Globe?

We think of gates and fences and walls as a means to separate outside from inside, my stuff from everyone elses. We posit privacy based on quite ancient concepts without stopping to consider the actualities. Can we keep out thieves and murderers? That depends on how high and how dangerous our walls, fences, and gates are designed, one could say. But then we still have to emerge on occasion, and that greater world remains problematic when we choose to live in fear, especially of those we consider “the other”. And when we remain inside our fortresses, we still occasionally have to allow “the other” inside – repair people, maintenance people, perhaps even those few friends we still manage to trust – even if just so far.

This is not to say fences, walls and gates have no purpose, but that we need to find a balance between a fortress and the realization we all live on one round planet, and need to find ways to get along, perhaps even to build better communities. This is the difference between modern guarded estates and communities and older-style towns and villages where gates were as much about welcome as they were about “hey, this is my property, so knock first, OK?” The real security came from people making agreeable rules for getting along. Sure, there will always be some who refuse to respect those rules, but the trade-off allows better community life for the greatest number of people over the longer period of time. Gated communities, in my experience, have very little to show as “community” as opposed to security, and thus, isolation.

You always have to wonder: on a spherical planet, how does one actually determine “outside” from “inside”?

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