Saturday, May 1, 2010

120 / The Hand As Metaphor

Is there anyone who would seriously contend that the human hand is best understood as the place in the human body where the fingers are located - as though the fingers were the most important anatomical element?

The chest and abdomen are where the heart, lungs, and digestive apparatus are found in the human body, and it's generally felt that the individual organs, not the chest and the abdomen, are the vital parts.

But that's not true about fingers, is it? When it comes to anatomy, nobody thinks that the individual fingers are more important than the hand as a whole.

When it comes to society, then, why is it so important to let each individual do whatever he or she wants, without respect to what that means for the collective whole?

We are individuals, and each one of us has special talents and abilities. We're born to use them. We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and we should glory in all that individuality.

But we are more than simply individuals. We are part of a whole, like the fingers on a hand, and we can't live without each other. If we cut off the fingers, and treat them individually, not only do they lose their ability to do anything useful, the whole hand becomes dysfunctional.

That's the hand as metaphor.

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