Saturday, August 27, 2005

Circles & Spirals

I wonder which is better. I wonder if I should even compare them. They possess many of the same attributes, but one implies a certain completion and the other has this perpetual incompletion, a perpetual progression. What I shall attempt to process through here is a comparison of two types of movement, two types of development, two types of growth in an attempt to determine which would be a preferable metaphor

Circles, in a metaphorical sense, transmit a sense of completion, of wholeness, of togetherness. A perfect circle (is there any other kind?) is one in which all of the pieces feel connected, all of the parts are intact, and peace can be achieved out of the disparity that often reigns in lives that are chock-full of disparate pieces. That's actually a really good means by which to envision a circle -- Peace out of the Pieces. One can find rest within a circle. You can drawn inward upon yourself or with a small group to form a protective bond amongst similar souls in order to resist what's going on outside that might & are disruptive forces.

But is that really a good thing in the long term? Is living in your circle really that beneficial? I fully acknowledge the benefits of such a mentality and the various metaphorical projections of circles. But my question is -- Can circles turn into self-defense mechanisms that seek to keep things outside through fear? Are really supposed to live in our circle full-time or are we supposed to use that circle selectively?

If, by living in circle, we keep the foreign objects out, are we really living fully & engaging the world as a transformative force? If I feel that I have something beneficial to contribute to the world in which I live, can I really & truly contribute to that world if I'm never in contact with it? If my circle defines my world and how I see any kind of "outside" world, do I have even have a voice/life by which I can affect any type of restorative change upon the world around me? If I'm complete in my circle, am I really allowing myself to bring others into that same completion for themselves?

Is my circle really that large? Does it need to be that large? Do I set up series of concentric circles in which to live & dwell? Should I be circling the wagons about me & mine? Is the circle open & affirming or does it really present an image of being closed-off, or being stand-offish, or saying that "we have it right and you don't"? What is it about circles that keeps people out? And if you say that your circle is always open to others, by definition, it's not really a circle -- it's some non-shape that resembles a circle, but looks broken. Can a open "circle" really be a circle?

But then there's a spiral. Visually, a spiral implies a progression, a path, movement. Metaphorically, a spiral allows us to move forward while being able to look back. Moreover, a spiral revisits places in the past, but from a higher plane in hopes that the traveler learned something on their journey. A spiral also implies openness in that it is the opposite of the closed in circle; its ending is not defined whatsoever. With a spiral, no matter how many rotations it might be outward of its origin, it's incomplete by nature. It seeks new definitions and new horizons, all while keeping the lessons of the past within reach.

A circle says, "I've been this way before, I'll visit it again, and I'm happy doing the same things over and over again."

A spiral says, "I don't know where I'm going, but I know where I've been. And since my path behind me is marked, I can choose to revisit, relearn, or invite people with me along this path."

I think I'll be a spiral....

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