THE CIRCLE AND THE SQUARE
Once upon a time, in a far away galaxy…. oops
This definitely sounds like something else…… perhaps the VIIth chapter of Star Wars has really struck a chord today.
Or perhaps, there is something else….since so many epic counts have to do with the majestic rise and fall of ancient empires, the one still closest to our western imagination is the great Roman empire which is a perfect example of a square culture.
The circle includes, is permeable, it can transform in an oval shape to accommodate more people, it gives place to everybody making them all equals. The circle is in harmony within the society it lives in and with the elements of nature, it is respectful of the seasons and the natural rhythms of life. It opens to non linear time and the capacity to envision ever-changing new futures.
The square has edges, boundaries, defenses, it needs doors to open, which oftentimes are armoured and defended by military strength. The square divides and separates, it needs a leader in constant control, an efficient chain of command. The square squashes nature in order to achieve its goals, it has forgotten the natural way for the artificial way of exclusively technical oriented progress.
Think of the well-organized Roman army camps, the models for many cities to come, with its perfectly orthogonal streets and avenues, with its designated main roads going north-south and east-west. Those camps=towns could have been anywhere in the known world of the time, they were still built in the same way, not just because they were well planned and easy to build, but also as symbols.
I believe they represented the square, patriarchal, highly hierarchical Roman society and its values, most importantly its law. The Pax Romana was the benefit of the high price paid by the conquered population in order to have a tranquil life.
Sometimes I wonder if we have ever changed, if a change is still possible.
The circle has not won so far, it has created islands of great beauty, but it has not conquered the world.
This is a good reason to learn from it and in it, not to battle for it…. or it becomes a square
……. to be continued