LEGENDS of OPENINGS – 5

Post 523 by Gautam Shah

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Doors windows, and gaps are elements of human abode in physical and metaphysical sense of living. Adage, Cliche, Proverbs, Metaphors, Epigram, Epithet Idioms, and Folklore are not simply metaphoric means of communication, but dramatize our perception of both, the form and function. Just as an opening represents duality, the experiences are also juxtaposed. We live in world cultural and personal relevance of things. We comprehend the world through such translations then their direct exposure.

Interior of one of the dwellings at the w:Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico, USA Wikipedia image

Building elements like walls, columns, roofs etc. are static, and so have some degree of certainty. But doors (and openings like gaps and windows) are points of transition, and have some degree of uncertainty. The uncertainty about the door is personal, due to the dilemma to entry or exit. Windows and doors are cut into a wall, but it is their emptiness that makes the windows and doors useful” -Lao Tzu.

Srirangam Jambukeshwara Temple India Wikipedia image by Author Hari Prasad Nadig

Windows have been used for windowing (throwing away the adversaries, so that they have no chance of returning alive), and so have certainty. Doors are just for ignoramus entry or exit, a non harming and temporary situation, but need not deter any smart aleck. A door forces one to be decisive, because one must never stay put in the door itself, trouble lurks from both directions. Seating on a door threshold is considered inauspicious. ‘The doorstep is the highest of all mountains’. The bride is carried across it, because she must not be allowed to have any second thoughts.

Entrance to Monastery 1, Ratnagiri, Jajpur, Orissa, India Author Tessarman

Doors, windows and gaps are meaningless without the walls. The irresolute exit from an opening takes one to a very wild ground, but a decisive one that offers a bridgehead of hope. Such a bridgehead leads to a narrow passage with dangers of falling off it. It rarely offers option of backtracking to the reality of home. ‘One can tell the truth by standing against the door of room’, and still escape to save own-self. The door also takes one out to exploration of an illusive opportunity or intangible entity. It is said ‘look left and right before knocking on a door’, and ‘pause for moment after entering a door’. The entry through a door can be to a world of treachery and deceit, so ‘trade the tread carefully’.

Upload Wikipedia image by Author Selena N. B. H. from Fayetteville, USA

Insiders know that misfortune only come in when the door is open. ‘Even the luck stops at the door, and inquires whether prudence is within’. ‘If fortune is due, it will not break the roof or wall to arrive’. What you can inquire at a window cannot be sought at the door. It is at the door the alienation begins to manifest. When a ‘door fails to open to your knock, consider your reputation’. The key or permission to enter a door or a domain is given to a known person. To enter a premise, one needs to be consecrated by a person of authority, which means the visitor agrees to abide by the rules that prevail within. When the door was opened from within, it had the potential to lead someplace quite different.” -Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

Traveler at the cottage door by Artist Isaac van Ostade (1621–1649) Wikipedia image

Gaps in a maze can lead you from one to another in perpetuity, and so must be marked on both the faces. This is also true of internal doors, one never know, whether one is entering or leaving.

southernmost door to the dining room at the Springwood estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wikipedia-Flickr image by Tim Evanson

Mystically, an open door represents good fortune, a new opening in life, or a desire to open up the feelings. A revolving door means a monotonous period ahead and a trap door predicts shocking news. A door knob means unexpected good luck, and hinges bring family problems. A locked door shows missed opportunities, denial of opportunities, or can represent ‘need to close the door over the past’.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple Wikipedia image by Author Terence Ong

A door opening outward may show that one needs to be more accessible to others. However, an inward opening door may represent the desire for inner exploration and self-discovery. For the Japanese ‘the door to happiness opens outward. A door simply imposes itself upon the room when it opens inward. Having the door open inwards has the outside intruding upon the inside’. A front door is a normal entrance, and a back door a nominal one. A house with one door is a preferred abode. Evil spirits enter the house from a back door.

Naguleswaram entrance, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Wiki-Flickr image by Author Indi Samarajiva

‘He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him. A person outside the door is more courageous than the one on inside, but we trust the later, over the former’.

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” Aldus Huxley, The Doors of Perception.

ShaniwarWada Hall Pune India Wikipedia image by Author Sivaraj D

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LEGENDS of OPENINGS -1

Post 440 – by Gautam Shah

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A gap or overlapping edges of barriers allow us to experience the other side. It is through such openings that one senses the change of state. An opening is always a smaller element than the mother barrier. In spite of its size subjugation it is far more powerful in effect. An opening presents three facets, one of this side, the other side, and the verge. This side is the familiar and protected one, and is the ’in-side’. The other side is unknown and a dangerous realm, and the ‘out-sides’. And the verge is a dilemmatic position, and it is prudent before crossing it. Verge delays the transit through the opening, as here one has to fearlessly step forward or cowardly draw backward.

A MountainPass

The opening and the barrier, exist together, and both could be real or allegorical. But openings in real barriers have also been exclusively symbolic. Openings are synonymous with many objects and expressions, such as entrance, gate, gateway, passage, portal, access, bridgehead, adit, admission, admittance, ingress and way. Openings through the allegory of inside-outside portray, respectively, a built or enclosed space, and open terrain. Openings also represent a domain for compliance or submission, for being responsible and waiting for permission or opportunity to leave or enter.

A Gap in the barrier system.JPG

Openings have been part of our folklore and legends, often with diverse meanings. Openings have been dealt in their interior as well as exterior expressions. The interior expressions of the opening relate to way of life, virtues, good manners, exemplary behaviour, restraints, and exterior manifests as supernatural, unpredictable, dilemmas. Out-sides are stepping out to freedom, or being kicked out of the safety. In-sides are invitation to warmth, or going to a confinement.

ART by Richard Burchett Sanctuary (1867) contrasts

A’raf (Arabic =The Heights) is the Muslim realm, described as a high curtain or wall with an opening, between hell and paradise. It allows simultaneous experience of terror of hell and the beauty of paradise to inhabitant, whose sins and virtues are balanced.

The Dilemma of crossing the verge

Tolkien (of Lord of the Rings) inverts the usual association of being inside’ with safety, and being outside with danger. Inside is lurking with unknown dangers, and the outside is an escape to freedom. Forests are entrance points and open lands exit points. And yet he depicts entry to a forest, water body, caves, and barrows as entering into a dark unknown place and coming out into the open light of the fields, is to have survived the dark dangers of woods, water, and earth with newly gained knowledge and confidence. Tolkien uses the openings in various physical constructs, metaphysical effects and metaphorical forms. He uses the opening (directly or indirectly to a door, window, gate, or other passageway) as lead to a change in a character’s state. The sketches of ‘before and afterwards’ of tunnels, caves, and mines, represent what was before against what new things wait on the other side. It is the realm of conflict.

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In literature barriers are thresholds that represent the dichotomies of safety, danger, control, chaos, inclusion and exclusion. A barrier without any opening is epitomized in the classical Indian Epic Ramayana, Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, is barred by a drawn line (by her brother-in-law) a Laxman-Rekha, restricting her movement beyond it. A territorial mark on the ground that defines whether one is included or excluded from the macrocosm. Here the threshold exists in spite there being no physical barrier. In other words, we must cross the thresholds that paradoxically lead us both, outward and inward, and to a deeper understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and recognition of our relationships with the cosmos.

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In movies a passage or opening is a portent of change, new happening or a move forward. An opening framed as the backdrop of a character translates as the impediment, but the same in-front of the character shows a victory at hand.

Balinese split gate

City Gate Towers Romania

An opening in a barrier is a facility to transit. Where the transit takes time, it becomes a passage. The passage as a stretched verge (threshold) affects the transition taking place. Openings are marked by their sides or the frame. The floor (plain, ramped, stepped or a mountable hindrance) is a primary transit facility. The possibility of exchange is reinforced by the sides of the barrier. The framing with the floor and sides causes a recognizable opening such as a valley, cliff, gorge, or walkway. The opening is caused primarily by the formatted sides and then by the transit-able floor. The Egyptian temple entrances consist of tall sides formed by a pair of columns, pylons or obelisks. The lintel or head is architecturally less significant, just incidental.

Luxor Temple Pylons and obelisk

Henrik B. Lindskoug while studying the prehistoric site Pichao, NW Argentina, raises questions like: Where do entrances lead? Where are they located? What do they connect? Are paths leading between different entrances? Is there some way of controlling the paths? Who had access to the entrances and the paths? Where are they placed? What is the size of the entrances? Is there a reason behind the size of the entrances? How were they used?

King's Cross Fiction mixing into Reality panoramio

At mundane level, an opening is entry-exit of a built-form. It serves many functions such as control over illumination, intrusion, acoustical disturbance, visual engagement, social interference and movement of air and pollution and thermal emission. At symbolic level it offers hope, new life or fresh beginning, isolation from the familiar, ventures into unknown, initiation into mysteries, fear and expanded communications. At spiritual level it provides an encounter with the supernatural, a communion and unification with the creator (Christ -I am the door).

Machu Picchu door.jpg

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WINDOWS –MYTHS and LEGENDS -part 1

 Post -by Gautam Shah

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Windows and Doors, both are penetrable surfaces, but a Door allows intentional physical transition, whereas a Window allows only sensorial connection. Perception through a window is invariably obtrusive. A window as an opening is more manipulable then a door. ‘The eyes are the windows of the soul’, but eyes see what the mind decides to perceive. Khalil Gibran says a window is like a Doctrine -we see the truth through it, but it divides us from truth.

 

City (1924) by le corbusier Ville le Lac, Corseaux (1924) by Le Corbusier

From a deep interior The view is straight just across it. Everything to the left, right, above and below the window is out of view. Yet, a window allows the taste of reality from the safety of our abode. The safety of indoors, behind a window, is often worth more then being out of doors and free.

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In fiction ‘people who look through windows have a narrow view, and are standoffish. These people will watch the world go by from their window, but not do anything about it. People who are scared to look out of the window are people that do not want to know what is going on in the world around them. Even though they are still protected by the glass, they are still worried that the world will be too shocking to behold. Sometimes, these people will open the window just to holler out. These are the ones who believe that they have a say in the world but are not truly a part of’.

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The protection of the window instigates us to do things, which one may not dare across a door. We cast off unwanted things out of the window because nothing is likely to bounce back from here. For punishment or revenge people have been thrown out of the windows as an act of defenestration. In some expediencies some enter or jump out of the window like a Romeo. Gaining an entry through a door is much more authoritative then breaking in like a thief through a window. Finestrata in Italian language is slamming shut a window in anger.

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Defenestration is an act of throwing someone or something out of a window. The term was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year of 1618. The word comes from the Latin de (from; out of) and fenestra (window or opening). Although defenestration can be fatal due to the height of the window, through which a person is thrown, or lacerations from broken glass. The defenestration, though was an act of rejection rather then with the intention of causing death.

Karel_Svoboda_Defenestrace

The painful experience of going across a window makes one extra ordinarily careful before venturing in or out of a window. Fire or emergency exit doors do not cause as much alarm and skepticism as much as egress windows do. An opening becomes a window due to hindrances it offers, so slight raising of the threshold turns a door into a French window.

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It is said heavens have doors only for entry, because no one would want to leave it, ever. Though, heavens have windows to look down and realize the difference between here and there, or perhaps to defenestrate a mischief maker !

Doors

Italians try to avoid buttare il denaro (throwing money) out if a window. Mangi la minestra o salti la finestra,’ is the threat an Italian mamma gives to a child who doesn’t want to eat the food she’s prepared. Eat the soup or jump out the window is the Italian equivalent of, Take it or leave it.

Going out of a window could be hazardous, but going out through a door is a conscious move but full of dilemmas. Italian lovers in trouble, however, find a way to uscire dalla porta e rientrare dalla finestra -leave by the door and sneak back in by the window with apologies.

‘A doorway has a narrow view of the world, but a person can walk through the doorway. The doorway is their opportunity to actually make a difference in the world. People who are more willing to make a difference in the world have an easier time walking through the doorway then others. Characters in stories that are too scared to walk through a door are also scared about what the world might do to them. They would rather keep that doorway as their shell from the rest of the world’.

 

Scaffold Building Manhattan New York City Taxi

Windows, seems to have suggested a different physical and psychological interpretation to J. R. Tolkien. Unlike other openings, one doesn’t usually use a window as a passageway, but rather as a means by which to see and assess the world before using the door to step into it. Because of their relatively smaller size, windows often present a limited view or frame of the world. Tolkien frequently uses this idea to frame a particular character’s view of present circumstances. Virtually every mention of windows includes a reference to light or lack thereof. Because the view through a window is limited, characters may perceive the situation to be better or worse than it actually is, depending upon the perspective the window affords them. In other instances, Tolkien frames the situation for the readers by referring to the level of light seen in a window or by the protective measures applied to the window. Windows generally offer less protection from dangerous intrusion than doors, so their number, size, and treatment reveal the world view of the house’s inhabitants. Hundreds of windows as at Brandy Hall imply a sense of peace, prosperity, and security, as opposed to the heavy-shuttered and curtained windows found in Bree where suspicion and caution rule.’ Crossing the Threshold, Openings and Passageways in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. By C. Riley Auge.

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