Right Out Of The Gates
10 Apr 2023

For my birthday next year – I want one of these. Not the whole monastery behind the walls… just the gatehouse. Closed, the message is very clear – go away, we’re not taking guests. Open, it sends another: Enter, but know your place. Given that I have nothing on which to build any actual authority, I might need some architectural help.

What was interesting about this particular wall and gatehouse – somewhere in greater London, away from tourists – is that it had no military value. If any determined soldier type wanted to breach the walls, or just bust through the gate, they could.

Rather, the power of these walls and gates were softer. This was a monastic enterprise, and the walls and gate were there to indicate a spiritual boundary. On the outside, the regular world. On the inside, a closed off place for contemplation.

Walls can keep things out, or keep things in. But walls can also exist just to mark boundaries – to distinguish between one type of thing, and another; one kind of thinking and another.

Perhaps, to achieve a world with fewer walls, we need to build some more walls.