On the importance of humanity

Dear Editor,

Humans often have physical symbols or reminders to guide them in life, even though they might know what is right to do in a situation: traffic lights, stop signs, traffic signs, other autos’ turn signals, uniformed traffic police, and school guards.

Perhaps, we humans need a physical symbol to remind us about the how of being human too. Essential to our humanness is how we treat each other, allowing us to act on and own our humanness. Of all the beings that interact with each other on this earth, the human being is totally unique in his or her capabilities; compassion, forgiveness, reasoning, patience, courage, to name a few. Interacting with other humans’ demands using these capabilities so that we do not become less human, always recognize one another and never forget who we are – human beings, not just beings.

So, could we not use the tragedy of George Floyd’s life to spur us on to create a symbol of the importance of human dignity? – not that he was a saint, but he was an ordinary, imperfect human being like each of us.

Perhaps if the symbol were a unique flower, or hybrid, that could be planted anywhere, to represent the beauty and strength of humanity. A symbol that could be a reminder in front of schools, houses, religious buildings, business buildings, farms and buildings that have an official presence in a community. Whatever the symbol, it would have to be one that could stand the test of time and be recognized as a representation of the requirements of belonging to the human race. A powerful and yet delicate symbol for it must dictate to and guide the human heart. Another part of being human, often affected by the hurts of the historical past and all too current present impressions and beliefs. Here is where the symbol needs to remind all of us that our being on this earth requires the best in us as humans, as we interact with each other. Without that best: compassion, forgiveness, reasoning, patience, courage, forbearance, etc., we gradually lessen our humanness. Dooming ourselves to just be; to exist without the difference being fully human can make and develop – instead, a life diminished and less capable of love, friendship, and a peace-filled society and world.


Alice Martin

Andover, Vt.

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