Boundaries: Who defines them?

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has been known to conceptualise and uphold the concept of ‘territory’. In purely physical terms, this imbibes a sense of area and ownership among groups of people or between individuals themselves. We have been known to evolve as ‘social’ animals painstakingly demarcating geographic portions of the earth in order to create a sense of order, promote hierarchy amidst social groups and respect diversity in lifestyle/thought.

But all along there has been a parallel universe of the human mind that has also been divided into portions defined by boundaries.  Within an individual’s mind there is an inbuilt sense of “private” vis-à-vis “public” access. This sense of withholding some portions of our life while sharing the others is purely an instinctive measure that varies from person to person depending upon the level of willingness to “share” or even by varying definitions/ opinions on “what” to share with “whom”.

The level of introversion in an individual has been viewed differently across time and society. More often than not, however, introverts have been criticized for their tendency to “not share” or “hold back” from the surrounding circle of life. There have been numerous attempts to convert one type into the other in an effort to create more “social” groups.

However, who decides right and wrong when it comes to boundaries of the mind? Who lays down the rules for development of an individual’s personality? Why does this issue have to be separated into Black and White zones? I believe it is the sole right of a human being to choose his/her perspective toward the concept of socializing and he/she completely reserves the right to be an introvert. While I do not deny the need and purpose of sharing depending upon the context and purpose, the concept of community and the fruits of the same, I maintain that sometimes we tend to overtly analyze someone’s personality with the sole intention of prying into his/her personal space since an introvert’s mind tends to draw attention due to all the “mystery” surrounding this space.

The food for thought here is this: It has been proven that the presence of a ‘Do not touch’ sign tends to sub-consciously create an irrepressible urge in the viewer to proceed to touch the exhibit. Does this tendency filter into our definition of private-public spaces too? If yes, then maybe it is time to accept that privacy is a personal perspective and opinionated differently.

Live and let live- to each his/her own.

Namrata Shenoy

Being a student of Design, the author is involved in a spectrum of projects dealing with ethnography, research, design and photography. She is a voracious reader and love the inherent charm and power of words to transform an individual’s way of life.