17.3.07

Self-Restrained Strength and the Beauty of Fraility

What happens to strength when it is willfully restrained? Greater concentration of productivity and innovation are borne out of the same amount of work when a limiting occur: a city is better deigned when it must take in to account large green-reserves (untouchable to development for space or natural resources)—trees, parks, lakes, etc. Not that the steel, concrete, and the general strength of the city could not easily consume and conquer those reserves; they could. Willful restraint of strength is not weakness, but a tempering to art that which untrained appears as war. Willful restraint and concentration of strength is not a sign of weakness but of intelligence.

In a garden, pumpkin plants will take over if unchecked; but the limiting of these pervasive vines not only increases the concentration of production within that plant, but allows for a broader diversity of production across the garden.

In housing construction, the stacking of houses in ever-increasing proximity (diminishing distance between the homes) is limited not by grass and land, but by the thickness of walls and the average square footage of a given unit. But in granting that trees, grass, even some stones and open spaces will not be consumed in this venture (a limiting of power), there becomes the potential of previously unconsidered alternatives to spatial maximization.

I suppose it’s no different than mathematical problems wherein a formula renders a set of possible solutions when limited by only three variables; increasing variables effectively renders a lower corpus of solutions—but with each becoming more complex.

In music, it’s the same thing: one instrument limited by an octave of 8 notes can produce a range of music which is easier to produce, lacking nothing in the area of power. But the multiplications of instrumentation and orchestration, along with the additives of complementary octaves in fact eliminates easier patterns and more elementary musicians, but produces a more glorious sound. In this regard, a drum can crush the soft resonance of the hammer dulcimer, but the drum’s strength is proven in its self-restraint, allowing the tender sound of the strings to grow within an area unmolested but defined.

If the differences of men and women cannot be explained away or coached out through instruction—if the differences of men and women are real (and they are)—what would it look like in the field of medicine to allow women to research, study, and analyze in their own right: funded, not because they might compete with male peers but because their “intuitive nurture” is not just a pedagogy but, in earlier terms, an orchestration unto itself? And what would it look like for the dominant male research models to give self-restraint and respect to the insights of instinct (not less factual but certainly less theoretic) of female models of research and study (I will be branded sexist for merely suggesting as much)?

As it is, both are considered identical, which is far worse than to consider them fully equivocal: For identical-ity is redundancy, where even equals may be unique and varied. One should not hear the old adage of justified inhumanity, “Separate but equal.” Rather, it is in the combination of differing instruments that the orchestration finds incomparable unity among diversity. Why not in the sciences or in any field for that matter?

Lest one sound sexists, chauvinistic, or arrogantly male—I am suggesting that predominantly male models of research are hindered by the lack of restraint which female models of research offer: as the parks require city planners to think differently, so the parallel is made. And we lose the best part of ourselves in failing to see that she who organizes her dresser differently from myself might prefer an un-male approach to research, just as I would an un-female approach.

Separate but equal isn’t equal. Identical is redundant. But in the presence of self-restraint, equivocal but unique approaches will grant to us an understanding of the varied arts and sciences such as will never be attained in a world which scrubs away the uniqueness of males and females as though trying to scrub away some stain of history past. Time will reveal as much, as it has the $1 gold piece of the ‘20s. My grandfather and his brothers were each given one, but my grandfather—believing that metal is worth more than paper—worked to raise the money to buy his brother’s coins. In exchanging one paper dollar for one gold coin, there was no immediate gain. But in what was at one point considered identical has been revealed to have been once equivocal but inherently different, unique. Here, I raise my intellectual glass to the gold coin of difference and pursue a world where self-restraint of strength leads to a blossoming of frailty into greater and more complex constructs than steel-reinforced cement will ever produce.