Galen Tsongas - Ecuador

April 7, 2013

The beliefs we hold are shaped by our environment, our age, our upbringing in our environment, and the combination of experiences and sensations within our realities. Beliefs are passed down from parent to child, friend to friend, television to mind, eyes to mind, mouth to ears, and ears to mind. These are the sculptors of the masterpieces of human minds, the painters of our realities, and the architects of our worlds. The sculptor uses hammer and chisel to shape the sculpture to their view, and no matter how much you put clothes on it, or paint on it, it will only change if you destroy the original work with another hammer and chisel. The artist uses the brush, or pen, with its multitudinous hairs, or fine tip, smoothing a brush stroke of paint, or sketching out lines of a creation with an image in mind that slowly forms into the imagined image, but is subject to change with another brush, or pen stroke and maleable to the stroke of change. Now, the architect uses straight edges, pens, rulers, and mathematics to draw a blue print with the exact layout on paper which will turn into rebar, wood, concrete, electrical wire, gas, water, rooms, and necessary utilities. The interior of this building, whether it be skyscraper, or house, can be decorated, but the walls, the toilet, the wiring, the foundation… it is always there unless it is decided to be torn down with sledgehammer and wrecking ball, but what then is left? The architect has completed, and although a house is no human being, she has been constructed in the eye of the architect.

The architect is the mother, and she is the ruler who makes her daughter follow her rule with a pen that can never be anything, but perfect. Her mathematics cannot have a flaw. Her mind is being shaped from the blueprint. What choice does she have? One afternoon, she was copying a page from a workbook, word for word, when I hear her say aloud, “All other words are lies.” I look over at what she is writing, and it is a workbook of the bible from Sunday school. It was her mother. Her mother makes her memorize the workbook and the daughter asks if her letters are pretty enough to pass inspection. Her mother nods. She goes out to play. But what happens when she doesn’t do what she told? Her mother hits her with ortiga, a thorn bush branch. And just as Jesus felt those thorns, so will she if she disobeys. Those thorns hurt him. It hurts and she cries. But she doesn’t disobey anymore because she knows the routine. So, then there’s the question of choices. Choices: One path, or another. Choice: One path, or the other. What choice does she have? One book, or no book? But how can she choose no book when the one book is all there is, and from birth it was right in front of her, all around her? She believes. And everyone else believes too because their mothers and fathers were the architects. There are no libraries. There are no book stores. There is only the bible and school, which here, are very much intertwined. I then ask THE question, “why do you believe in God?” She replies, “because he created everything,” and I ask, “why do you believe this?” Her reply, “because it says so in the bible,” and her mother makes her read, pray, and copy all her beliefs. What choice does she have? Her architect planned and planted her foundation, the wiring, and the necessary utilities to fit the function of the architect’s house are being installed. But you know what? She’s happy.

Galen Tsongas