What is the meaning of  "Man should build bridges rather than walls"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Imagine you are trying to get somewhere, to go visit a friend, but along your journey you run into wall after wall that barricades your path.  It would make getting to that friend much more difficult.  Instead imagine that same journey, and at every obstacle, like large rivers, difficult ravines, etc., there was a bridge there for you to cross.  That would make getting to your friend much easier.  If you take that idea and put it into symbolic form, people should be doing all that they can to build bridges to friendships, relationships, happiness, prosperity and freedom.  If someone's goal is to achieve their dream of becoming a writer, for example, a way to build bridges for that person is to encourage them, give them outlets for their writing, and find chances for them to practice.  That would be building bridges.  If instead you were to discourage them, criticize their work too much, and stunt their dreams, then that would be building walls.

This thought, of building bridges, not walls, can be applied to almost any situation.  If you are trying to get straight A's, building a bridge to get there would be to study hard, pay attention, get help when needed, and form bonds with others who can help.  If you were to build walls instead, you might let your fear of talking to the teacher get in the way of asking help, or your shyness get in the way of forming study groups, and your not wanting to study get in the way of doing well.  Those would be walls that you have built that impedes your success.

I hope that those examples help to explain the quote a bit; good luck!

blacksheepunite eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you build a wall, you are metaphorically isolating yourself. A wall stops people from seeing each other or connecting with one another. It creates distance.

On the other hand, if you build a bridge, you are creating a means for people to meet. You are making it possible to overcome an obstacle that might come between you and another person. You are creating a solution.

These metaphors both refer to ways to deal with problems or conflict in life. One way to deal with conflict is to "wall" oneself off from the problem, in other words, to set up a barrier that makes it impossible for others to get to you. Another way to deal with a problem is to create a solution that allows people to get past the conflict. That's what building a bridge is about--if you build a bridge, you find common ground, and you don't let the conflict separate you.


kc4u | Student

Walls segregate whereas bridges connect. Since we live in a society, the more we communicate and get connected, the better it is for our collective social existence. The life of a man within the walls is the life of a prisoner, confined and shut down, like that of a plant cut off from air and light. Bridges connect the two banks of a river and, metaphorically, two minds, two communities of people, when understanding, sympathy and love act as connecting bonds. Selfishness, pride, communal/racial feelings, parochial/regional interests etc. are the walls that separate man from man. We should not build those walls, and work towards building bridges of fellow-feeling and mutual understanding.

loulan | Student

Conflict resolution is what the world needs. It is a skill/tool that every individual needs to overcome obstacles in life. This is what diplomats are employed to do. Building walls can only make matters worse. It also means that one is not prepared to move on but dwell in deeper. We all have a purpose in life. I believe it is to work together to make the world a better place. We should learn towork together, we should agree to agree on things that are highly important and allow ourselves to work together on what we do not agree on in resolving problems, agree to disagree sometimes and find a common goal if possible. We should also be able to give others the chance to explain themselves rather than diffending themselves because we all make mistakes and thereforesee things differently in life.So, putting all cards on the table, try and tackle what matters to all will be a fantastic starting point forALL.This includes everyone from all walks of life, from different background.