Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Line

The line is the next symbol in Geometry. It connects two points, and technically contains an infinite number of points. It has one dimension, length. It can be used to separate one piece of space from another, but unless there is a third point, it can contain neither space.

The line is the basis of all other shapes: Circles, triangles, squares, runes, letters, etc. Without the line, you won’t make any. Any line can be subdivided into two smaller lines.

The line is important in masonry, primarily in the form of the plumb line, but lines abound. The plumb line is a tool used by ancient masons to determine verticals.  It consists of a string, which has a piece of metal (usually lead) tied to the bottom. When used, it hangs straight down, and for masons it is a symbol reminding us to be upright in all our dealings, not crooked, straight*.

The line is also sometimes a demarcation. You can go this far, no farther. You must not cross the line. Or you may walk the line, as Johnny Cash sang, stay on the straight and narrow.

Where you set your lines has an immense importance. It will determine your future behavior. It is hard to redraw those lines once they are set. It can be done, but it takes a lot of work, to either expand them, or retract them. To repair a poorly built building takes far more time than to correct it at the time of building.

Unfortunately, we don’t realize this when we are building our lives. We start out either too constrained by our environment, or not constrained enough. Either will collapse. That point of equilibrium is difficult to find, harder still when we are both the builder and the building.

That said, I think the most important line in my life, is the line of connection between my heart and the heart of the person next to me. To make that line strong, and straight, and form that connection, is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn. I’ve had to make that line stretch out beyond myself, and touch not just the person, but the heart of the person. To get beyond knowing them, and get to gnosis. The only way to do that is by holding to the line: to be upright, honest, and compassionate as I’d want them to do to me.

*Straight not as in the sexual slang usage of ‘not gay’, but rather straight as in ‘not crooked’.

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