Some years back, I actually saw the original sketch by Leonardo da Vinci. Whether or not it was his intent, his sketch of ‘Vitruvian Man‘ evokes in me the ideal of human potential. Somehow, the current political climate has had the opposite effect. Divisive and polarizing would be an understatement. For me personally, the incessant barrage of political propaganda has been hard to stomach.
Some have picked sides and appear to have pinned their future hopes and dreams on the outcome of the upcoming presidential race. A number of others have voiced the feeling of being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.
We seem to love to draw lines and circles. Naturally, ‘we’ are on the inside, ‘they’ are on the outside. ‘We’ are acceptable, ‘they’ are not. ‘We’ are good, ‘they’ are evil. Despite our penchant for dividing humanity into ‘we vs. they’ or ‘us vs. them’, I would argue in favor of a worldview that doesn’t force us to choose sides. Or if we do choose sides, it is on the side of humanity vs. the non-human forces that assail us. Namely, evil.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, like the characters in the popular ‘The Walking Dead’ series, we are all infected. However we choose to label it, there is a subtle force that threatens to entice humanity down the path of self-destruction and chaos. Its devastating effects can be seen everywhere.
I must remind myself, almost daily, not to focus on the symptoms but to focus on the cure. The antidote, it seems, lies close at hand. But it isn’t easy. Fully achieving our human potential will require us to value others above ourselves. Becoming fully human involves empathy and suffering and bleeding and, ultimately, dying.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that ‘Vitruvian Man’- the perfectly proportioned human is depicted with his arms stretched out to his side.
However, as this election turns out, let us please remember that we are first, and foremost, human.