Opinion

The Distance Between

The distance between railway tracks, 143.5cm (4ft 8 ½ inches).

Why this particular measurement?

The first train carriages were built with the same tools as horse drawn carriages. So, why that particular distance between the wheels of the carriage? Because that was the width of the old roads that the carriages had to travel along. Who decided that roads should be that width? Head far back in history to the Roman Empire. While building the first roads to decide upon the width they used the measurement of two horses’ behinds. Hence our railway track measurements. Thus the width of two horses’ rear ends upon which our society has been moulded.

There are so many influential pressures that we follow so stringently and without question as to who decided this, why this was decided for me and why must I follow so blindly. With the idea that Education, Trade School/Higher Education, Career, Marriage, Children (Ensure this is repeated for the next generation) is the formula that will lead us to success and eternal happiness we find ourselves still searching for more because it just wasn’t the formula that equated to our personal happiness. We have religion and belief systems enforced upon us from a young age that we may not even understand but like many aspects of our lives up until this point we don’t know how or why it is, we just know that’s the way it is. Government and Political views that we constantly fight for or against that aren’t aligned with our true concerns (the best of a bad bunch). The pressures of how to find lasting love, when we should find love, the time frames between milestones, what “he” does so wrong that should make you angry because that’s the consensus between women. Even to the point where our outfits follow the latest trends (not necessarily by choice but availability).

Just because this is what has always been done does not for a second make it right. It just means our ability to accept the possibility of an alternative reality lacks greatly. We haven’t known any different because we’re slaves to historical tradition. Maybe that is why we’re stuck in a cycle of old habits with the inability to move forward because we feel safe in the results we’ve always gotten. They “appear” to work 60% of the time and the 40% of the undesirables that don’t stay locked onto their 143.5cm tracks can be pushed to the side and be considered the statistics that were never likely to make it anyway.

The train tracks may represent a tried and somewhat true path but what if there were other ways, multiple ways to succeed. A reality where not one size fits all, where we don’t all learn in the same way, where we create our own ideals for how we choose to let the energy of love flow without rules and constraints, where we don’t all want the white picket fence scenario, where you don’t want to recreate a history that doesn’t reflect your present needs. Reality check that is our reality. The freedom of choice is what we’ve been gifted with and the ease to create your own norms that align with your ambitions and desires. You could follow what has been set in stone for generations and get the outcome that generations have achieved already OR you could simply choose not to, as all these restrictions are a construct maintained and enforced by us. I use this example to demonstrate the origins of decisions, ideals and blanket “rules” and that they are not always derived from the soundest of logic. That what once was, doesn’t always have to be and that we shouldn’t allow our present decisions to be dictated by the width of a pair of horses’ rear ends.

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17 thoughts on “The Distance Between”

  1. This is brilliant and truly thought-provoking! For one thing, I always have been interested in trivial facts and I only just now learned the railway tracks were measured by the width of two horses’ behinds. Secondly, I love how you pointed out our being slaves to tradition and long-established norms. It’s about time someone said it. Awesome post! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes someone should write in and mention they have created their roads far too wide and it has crushed the realism of the game. Haha. Thank you very much. And not sure at all, just my last name, from New Zealand.

      Like

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