Beyond the Cartoons

I’m struck this morning by the tendency of human beings to use our taxonomies to turn each other into simplistic, distorted cartoon characters. We take our categories -- which humans understandably use to help make sense of a complicated world -- way too far. Man, woman, old, young, boomer, millennial, black, white, brown, yellow, American, Asian, Latino. These labels become a substitute for an actual encounter with an infinitely complex, nuanced human being. 

The Taoists have a saying, “the Ultimate Tao that you can name is not the Ultimate Tao.” This seems to me to be a pointer to this truth: The human being you can label is not the human being that stands before you. 

I yearn for the letting go of our cartoon images of each other, and for the authentic encounters with each other that await us beyond the cartoons.