The Boundary Condition AKA Boxing Helena

The Boundary Condition. We all have them. Whether on the personal level it is concerned by which behaviours we find appropriate or inappropriate. We have boundaries over ourselves, our properties and possessions and of course children in our charge within due appropriate means.

There are boundary conditions in society itself. The Rule of Law which we are obliged to follow otherwise the end result would be anarchy. I would argue that just as in the mid to late seventies with ‘The Winter of Discontent’ which then gave rise to Punk; that there is a break down of society happening right now. There could be very good reasons for this. Was it not Marx who argued that society itself is driven by Boom-Bust cycles? I don’t think that topic is relevant to go into now so I will leave that for another (rainy) day. It is a point to consider, though.

I am a lay person so I can only speak from that perspective but I have observed people, usually intimate partners, who have displayed, I would say, very strong narcissistic behaviours. This is important considering what’s to come.

Until fairly recently when I was with my ex partner, we used to tend towards discussing how society as a whole is functioning. I am hazy on when this started but it was probably late spring last year. It began with my ex, let’s call him ‘A’. He re-introduced one evening the concept of ‘fractals’. This led by pure fluke to a book that I had handed him with a lot of other books as I was having one of my perpetual ‘clear-outs’. This was ‘Chaos’ by James Gleick. A book I had owned for many years. But again, I think that it is a writing for another time. 

The fractal is and in itself ‘The Boundary Condition’ in action. It’s a relatively simple mathematical equation which leads to beautiful, repeating patterns which I’m sure you have seen.

But not all numbers when plugged into the equation result in a fractal image forming. In maths words, some ‘tend to infinity’ which means that their trace on the diagram flies off. But why?

So last summer, the concepts of fractals and boundaries were very much on our minds. This led one evening to ‘A’ observing that a small bush was growing out of the top end of a drainpipe. One could argue that this is in itself ‘entropy’ in motion. The waste energy that accumulates in everything. Entropy is a difficult subject to describe but in essence it is ‘not wanted energy’  in a system. The old adage, the more you put something together the more it falls apart is very valid. Such as not maintaining your vehicle (as I nearly found to my cost today) it will break down. That is ‘entropy’.

The concept of a small bush growing in a container got me remembering about Bonsai Trees. And how my ex used to love them. He was very particular about this tree but Bonsai’s are notoriously difficult things to keep because they are confined. Essentially to not put a too fine a point on it, unless you are very very careful’ they die.

I wondered if the urge to keep Bonsai was actually similar to the urges in narcissism itself (not that I am asserting al Bonsai collectors are narcs! There is the aesthetic to consider). The need to put something in a cage, a box, a tub, a house and control their or it’s every moment. And movement. Without the owner; the tree WILL die.

I would argue how foolish it is for anything, be it bush, tree or human to be contained. To have boundaries placed upon them? Nature always finds a way to compensate; entropy in action.

What I am about to describe is all true but of course from my own perception of reality. However everything was observed by dozens’ of witnesses and of course ‘A’. There is only one exception that I will detail later. So let’s go down the rabbit hole.

Later on that year and it is a pleasant, summer’s evening. I arrive at ‘A’s house and plans are afoot to have an impromptu BBQ. Lovely. Just before this happened a strange conversation began. As our conversations used to unfold, one topic to another than another. The actor Julian Sands pops up. Famous for Room with a View but also infamous for the film ‘Boxing Helena’.

For those that don’t know, it is the tale of a woman who eventually ends up having all her limbs amputated and kept in a box. It is a vile notion and I have never been able to bring myself to watch it. But the box represents the ultimate boundary over another person.  Complete imprisonment.

We discussed this for a time before  we moved on. What is important to remember is that it was I who brought the film up, not ‘A’. Nor do I see how he could have remotely manipulated the conversation. Indeed, I suspect it was also I who brought up Room with a View and  Sands. (Lovely looking man.)

I am reminded that there is a bit of a ‘do’ at his friends’ B’ house. Thinking it would be a BBQ, chit-chat etc, again I thought it was a pleasant idea. ‘A’ is NOT a great respecter of time so I thought it somewhat odd that he was pressing me to go by a certain point. So I ask for another boundary to be respected. When I’ve had enough, can we go? This is agreed upon and off we went.

What I saw that night, I am struggling to still yet understand.

It wasn’t a party; it was an art installation. The minute I walked in (via  a car that said ‘The Red Pill Brigade) I knew that this was going to be distinctly odd. And it was. 

It was like walking onto the set of Stanley Kubriks ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.  Twinkling lights were everywhere in red, blue and green. All around the garden were manikins, female ones that were posed in different ways. On one table there was a least a dozen houses. Small, miniature idealised ones. Incredible workmanship. Variations on a theme of different cottages. Complete with people.

But it was the three big installations that caught my eye. Each of them either featured a  head and torso but no arms and no legs. And sometimes not even a head. Each disassembled manikin was placed in a white cage. All were female. Each cage was decorated with glitter and sparkles, flowers, lights etc. They looked both incredibly pretty and incredibly disturbing. Yes, the exterior looked lovely but the torsos were still inside a cage. Each torso was wearing women’s lingerie of varying descriptions.

Considering our conversation about the film ‘Boxing Helena’ I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

I went around the installation again and THIS time I noticed something I had missed. Earlier at breakfast I had eaten a packet of vegetarian curry. The kind you can find in any Indian store but not so commonplace as a box of shreddies for example. On a manikins’ hand rests an identical box. Even down to the flavour. (of which there are many in that range) This manikin was first by the entrance. It gave me a turn. Others’ confirmed that the box was there. I had told no one of what I had eaten, why should I? It was of no consequence.

In and of itself, it would have been of no import. But coupled with the the prior conversations, the women in cages the white, posed mannequins (very redolent of how I perceive my ex husband viewed me and especially during sex) – it took on a new and somewhat personal turn.

It’s difficult to know what to make of this. I’m struggling to understand how such a disparate set of events could have occurred in the time frame involved. What I am perhaps coming to understand is that there might well be some kind of ‘consciousness’ that connects us all. Jung did not believe in chance as is known.

I wonder what Jung would make of all that?

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