When you think of the word human, what are the first ten things that pop into your mind? Terry Pratchett, WWII, Le Chambons, Viktor Frankl, Lady Gaga, Ghandi, My mom, Hugs, John Steinbeck, Victor Hugo. If you asked me tomorrow, that list would probably be different–but the things they represent would not be. Humans have the remarkable ability to both progress and stay exactly the same, and it is this that makes them both lovable and a source of fear.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words–and here’s what came up when I typed ‘humanity’ into pixabay.
I’m not one to sugarcoat anything, so believe me when I say there was a discrepancy. Inspiring, mindless, downright filthy–some I nearly wanted to post, just to prove my point–but I have standards and do not want to break them. So you look away and move on and keep going. But the point, I think, is proven well enough to say it was there–all of it. Humanity encapsulated in a few (a lot) of pixels and poses. We’ve killed each other, loved each other, submitted each other to the worst forms of humiliation and punishment on every level imaginable–from middle school to the Armenian genocide and the sex trade. We create monuments and atrocities and Candycrush. To say humans terrify me would be a severe understatement. Truthfully, I am like Marcus Zusak’s ‘Death’ in The Book Thief:
“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR: I am haunted by humans.”
But I cannot let the realities of life force me down. I cannot forget that the woman who smiles at her granddaughter exists, as does the stranger helping a busy mom with her kids and the young man volunteering at the homeless shelter every Friday afternoon. That when push comes to weakness and evil to the innocent, hands do still reach out to help one another and courage lifts itself from the dust. I might desire to wish away humanities faults and scars and ugly sins sometimes, but I decide to accept them because I believe that we can change. That the broken can become whole, the weak strong and the helpless able. It might not be easy, but who ever said agency would be? And that, really, is why I love humanity: agency. We have within ourselves the power to choose, and I choose to be amazing.
May we all look to live a little higher,
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