chapter
9 Pages

Creating the Group Envelope

WithBARBARA R. COHN

In his well-known poem, “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost tells us, “Good fences make good neighbors” (Lathem, 2002, p. 33). We know intuitively what he means by this: We human beings need reliable structures, with delineated boundaries, to live our civilized lives and to deal with one another constructively. If no boundaries exist (in this case, no clear perimeters between the land of one and the land of another), chaos rules, and all our efforts go to defend our territories and to maintain our survival rather than to recognize the position of the other and to have time and energy to attend to our own growth. Frost describes physical space in the poem: His perimeter is a wall of irregular rocks that needs to be repaired annually because it becomes eroded by the weather and “hunters” who have no regard for its value.