Challenge – Day Six

Someone who fascinates you and why.

Is it an unacceptable cop out to say that humanity fascinates me? The entirety of the human race astounds, both delightful and repugnant.

On one hand, there’s staggering intellect, inspirational creativity, selfless acts of kindness. We create, discover, reason, innovate, feel. We’ve established complex civilization, made mind boggling advances in science and technology. We’ve created music, art, and theater that touches the soul. We’ve taken 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks to write millions of pieces of literature. We participate in countless acts of gentleness, generosity and compassion. We love; we create.

Then there’s the hand that holds enmity and violence and greed in its palm. Misogyny and bigotry, narcissism and nepotism abound. We are cruel to the people who love us, we’re dismissive of strangers, we’re judgmental and spiteful. We do unspeakably malicious things to each other – abuse, misuse, mutilate and butcher. We lie, steal, murder, and make war. We’re self-righteous, self-centered, and entitled. We hate; we destroy.

To add a layer of intricacy, you can’t always draw a line in the sand – this person is evil, this one good. The warmonger loves his family. The adulterer is kind to strangers. Your neighbor who is gentle, thoughtful, generous is also racist. The incongruity is difficult to reconcile.  I’m never sure which I find more startling – when someone inherently good betrays that by doing something amoral, or when someone that’s clearly villainous reaches out in kindness and generosity.

Bottom line is that it’s nearly impossible to define anyone as wholly one or the other. We’re all flawed; we’re all capable of redemption. Even more fascinating is that the concept of morality is fluid, subjective. We justify our actions and assign gradient acceptability based on circumstance. It certainly keeps one guessing!

humanity hand


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