There was this paint bubble on the wall at work. I sat there for 8 hours, resisting the urge to pop and peel. But I wondered how long that bubble would remain intact. Sure enough, when I came back after a few days off, I discovered that one of my coworkers had gotten to it. Now this patch of white is peeking through the institutional green. That didn’t take long. I have no doubt that that patch will increase in size over time.
What is this impulse that humans have to destroy everything? Is it our way of marking our territory, like a dog peeing on a lamp post? Does our existence really need any more validation? You can already see our planetary destruction from outer space. I bet we could fill the Grand Canyon with the number of cigarette butts people leave lying about. It’s truly disgusting.
There is a crew in the City of Seattle that does nothing but remove graffiti. It’s a full time job. They have to come to my drawbridge quite often. People also like to put stickers everywhere, and deface signs.
And is there some reason we feel the need to carve our initials on trees? Thank goodness most of us don’t think we can carve our initials on other people as well, even though, as I see it, trees have every bit as much value.
What really gets to me is when historical things get defaced. I once saw some graffiti painted on a wall over an ancient pictograph, and it moved me to tears. Why do I not consider the pictograph to be destruction, too? Just as with modern murals, it was not placed there to destroy what had gone before. It had a higher purpose than simply to say, “Look what I can do, whether you like it or not!” It was an act of creation, not one of defiance, disrespect, youth and too much beer.
Why does respect have to be taught? This would be a much better world if it were instinctual. But since it does have to be taught, here’s an idea: let’s teach it.