The transcendent edge

Edgy folk are defined by their openness to experiment and novelty of all kinds. This openness to meta-physical and material evolution crosses over to permaculture in a popular, transcendence-inducing topic called the edge effect. Simply put an edge is a junctional area between two ecological zones, which attracts bio diversity as these borderlands combine the qualities and species of the two zones that meet here, often leading to the evolution of micro climates and new species.

For a gardener that shies away from using pesticides, diversity means free pest control as predators arrive to balance out the populations of the pests. Most of our gardens are pest havens because of the prevalence of one or two plant species that become a feast plate for one or two types of insect species. We have to also plant out predator-attracting plants and zones to balance the immured eco-systems of our gardens.

This is where edges play a role. Outside my parents’ house, there is a skinny roadside verge that snakes around the block and a large concrete-edged pond, which is connected to a city-wide storm-water canal system. Out one day on a walk, I noticed these edges buzzing with life, thorny nitrogen-fixing weeds, escaped flowering plants, grasses, native bees, butterflies, beetles and bugs. I could not find any one type of insect dominating the environment here like in our walled home gardens. But well-meaning neighbours were also terribly wont to tidy up and remove these verges exhibiting messy diversity.

Imagine these edges lifted from the garden and transposed to our personal existences. What would an abstract edge of this kind look like? Most of our urban-centred apartment-dwelling lives are shabbily uniform and lacking in multiplicity. Some critics think secularism, as opposed to a culture based in religion, is a symptom of this absence of diversity. But looking around, we can see that there is no dearth in colourful religious processions and festivals. Despite the colour, even heterogeneous but highly hierarchical religious cultures have a no-dissent monocultured tone about them.

Simply asking questions about the way our social lives are constructed can create personal edges where diversity in thought and ideas can accumulate. We take too much in society for granted – trapped and indentured within class, caste and gender systems we let many medieval notions go by unquestioned. Since the edge is a meeting place between zones, it is also a melting pot for people and their differing often warring ideas. If no one idea can dominate there should theoretically be no majoritarianism.

There is a breed of privileged liberal elitism born of inner circles exclusive by nature that is bizarrely conservative, evidenced by its friendly acceptance of deeply patriarchal notions of minority groups. This is perhaps a variation of false equivalence, where inclusiveness is the objective, but normalised patriarchy is the result. This usually leads to a majoritarian backlash.

The majoritarians use this liberal patriarchy loophole to stir up populist sentiments, and the ramming of even more patriarchy down our throats. Extreme left and right-wing intellectuals soon begin to resemble each other in their certainties. None of these groupings show ‘edge’ as they choose to move around in hermetically-sealed echo chambers, which resemble monoculture groupthink lawns. And if new ideas are ever born at the edges in these groupings, these are quickly, brutally weeded out. The back to the future world described in George Orwell’s 1984 is just such a place where the edge is thought policed. No dissent eventually equates to no edge, and therefore no evolution. Ironically, this means an end to creational creativity, as there can only be thoughtful innovation when there is evolution.

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