Tearing Down Walls: Ich Bin Ein Berliner

Like Berlin, we all have a wall, an inner wall, that needs to be torn down. It’s a wall we built at a young age, when socialization began and we needed a barrier behind which we could hide that part of ourselves that was unacceptable to our mothers as well as important others. What we hide is the “shadow.” To conceal it, we create a wall that we call the “persona. ”

Description

Like Berlin, we all have a wall, an inner wall, that needs to be torn down. It’s a wall we built at a young age, when socialization began and we needed a barrier behind which we could hide that part of ourselves that was unacceptable to our mothers as well as important others. What we hide is the “shadow.” To conceal it, we create a wall that we call the “persona. ”

To be a Berliner, is about starting out as a unified whole, as we all started out as infants, as Berlin itself started out. It is then to be split in two with a wall erected between the two parts, as Berlin was, and as we all were when socialization began, shattering our original wholeness.

Finally, it is to become one again, as Berlin has done and as we hope to do, if we do our work and if we are lucky. As in the case of Berlin, the wall keeps us from becoming all we can be. Berlin, thus, is a metaphor for the enlargement of personality that can occur when we, like Berlin’s inhabitants, tear down that wall and become bigger, richer, freer, and more diverse and democratic. In this sense, we are all potentially Berliners.