Tuesday, October 20, 2009

HUMAN JUXTAPOSITION


How is it that we are so different?

How is it that from birth the bifurcation spreads so widely?

A few nights ago, outside my yoga studio, I observed a man at the motel across the street vehemently scream at his dog. Berating an animal that through tone alone is able to understand communication. The words he used, the threats he made, the volume he employed, and the tone he wrapped all of it in granted me a snapshot of this man’s character. A lesser human. A beast in need of that reconditioning I asked about last week.

I dropped into my car, cried off all of my makeup, and verbally asked myself how it is that I can live in a world where such base cruelty is common, acceptable, and unregulated.

The next day, seated in that same driver’s seat, I listened to a collection of biographies of influential women. Included amongst the dames of note was Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher and friend. I listened to accounts of Ms. Sullivan’s determination, kindness, encouragement, and limitless patience with a feeling of astonishment similar to that which I’d felt the night before. The same feeling with a different impetus.

How is it that people of the caliber of Ms. Sullivan, for they surely exist today, can tread the same dirt as the man who threatened his dog with death by truck?

We have hate. We have love. We have indifference. We have passion.

We have that and so much more all smashed together on a single rock suspended in space.

Though sometimes violently opinionated, I most generally find myself in a state of appreciation for differences. Differences are our teachers. We see and we emulate or discard as disparate. Today however, my enthusiasm for human variance is absent.

I don’t want people like that hateful man. I don’t want their example as a cautionary tale. I don’t feel that they are necessary to my development or to help yours.

From our genesis, we’re given the gift to choose. And choose we do, more often than not, without preceding thought. My choices are not yours. And yours certainly aren’t mine. I take pride in my decisions and my understanding of their consequences good or bad. I hope that you live the same.

And I hope that men like the one I saw just days ago are required to endure consequences appropriate to their significant flaws in character, for that’s the only way I can understand how it is that we have to inhabit such a dichotomous joke.

4 comments:

kathryn said...

Without the bad would we appreciate the good? I don't like it any more than the next person but I think we need the ying in order to recognize the yang.

meg said...

I totally get that, Kathryn. Any like I said, I generally appreciate that good doesn't exist without bad, but that hateful man was just too much for me to handle last week.

Jessica said...

I have plenty of empathy, but some things I just can't handle. That's why I can't work with offenders of the criminal sort. It's just too hard.

Our Blog Spot said...

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