The Person Not Live Without Essay

Often influenced by postmodernist theories – particularly those of the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze – these thinkers depict borders as indeterminate and artificial constructions.The so-called artificiality of the borders between East and West, between civilised and uncivilised, or between Europe and Asia, is held up as evidence of the broader meaningless of all physical borders.

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Others, however, especially those who are less travelled and more community-bound, regard borders as essential to their security – both their psychological and cultural security.

They often regard the relaxation of controls on migration as antithetical to their wellbeing.

In 1909, the remarkable German sociologist Georg Simmel gave us an eloquent reminder of the human impulse to draw borders: ‘Only to humanity, in contrast to nature, has the right to connect and separate been granted, and in the distinctive manner that one of these activities is always the presupposition of the other.’ In his essay ‘Bridge and Door’, Simmel highlighted the surprisingly intimate relationship between separation and connection.

He wrote that ‘we can only sense those things to be related which we have previously somehow isolated from one another; things must first be separated from one another in order to be together’.

This imperative to connect and separate transcends the realm of physical boundaries.

The Person Not Live Without Essay

He argued that ‘in the immediate as well as the symbolic sense, in the physical as well as the intellectual sense, we are at any moment those who separate the connection or connect the separate’.

The tendency to view borders, and indeed any strongly drawn distinction, in a negative light is widespread in contemporary popular culture.

Being ‘post-border’ or ‘beyond borders’ is now considered a positive value.

So borders are not just physical and geographical realities; they also have a powerful symbolic significance through which communities gain insights into themselves and the meaning of their existence.

People’s very sense of social reality is often forged, and internalised, through their engagement with symbolic boundaries.


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