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Tuesday, January 6, 2015


We like to believe, as intellectuals, that we can effectively categorize (i.e., pigeonhole) humans.

We conceive of clean lines of delineation by which we sort/rank our species: 
  • Tall...short...
  • Black...red...brown...yellow...white...
  • Dullard...genius...
  • Libertarian..Democrat..Republican..Socialist..
  • Christian...Muslim...Buddhist...Atheist...
  • Weak...strong...
Fact is, we don't slice and dice quite so easily.  Fact is, no matter how we try to categorize each other (or groups of each other), there is quite a lot of bleed over between and among those categories (both vertically and horizontally as you view the incomplete list above).  

Our humaneness defies being so easily deconstructed into so many grams of iron/potassium/magnesium, x amount of millivolts of electricity, y amount of kilos of water, z pounds of muscle, etc.

As with an orange, we can create descriptors that contort essence into tangibleness, but it can never capture 
> all the variances in color
> the differences in the texture of the peel
> the wide-ranging levels of vitamin C
> the degree of zing we feel/taste on the tip of the tongue when we bite into the first slice.

That stuff is not so cleanly sliced and diced, sorted and ranked.  Neither are humans.

How foolish to think we can "define" each other by such base categories of taxonomy?
What of the skinny guy who is insanely strong?
What of the girl who can outrun most men?
What of the man with poor eyesight but can see into the future?
What of the prodigy musician who finds spelling impossible?
What of the girl with no legs who is a marvelous gymnast?
What of the boy who has an amazing mathematical mind yet cannot speak?
What of the sinner who seems to have a direct line to God?

There are no tests that assess our wholeness.  There are no exams that quantify one's "blackness" or "whiteness" or "spirit" or "resilience" or "sensitivity."

We can't test those dubious categories or their variances, not dependably anyway.  Unless, of course, we deconstruct our humanness with oversimplified measures that fail to capture who we are.  

Prayer:  Give me the eyes to see their potential. Give me the ears to hear their depths. Sharpen my senses to feel their essence.  Give me the intuition to appreciate their wholeness. Give me the wisdom to shelve the categories.  Give me the inclination to be a constructor instead of a deconstructor.

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