We designed the old logo for the New Humanist, in part, as an homage to William Carlos Williams’ poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow.”
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
To me, this short poem captures what’s best about New Humanism. So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow, but it automatically invokes the image of a person accomplishing great things, or at least overcoming hidden obstacles to accomplish an ordinary thing. The rain water complicates the task but also makes the work worth doing in the first place. The white chickens, the responsibility of the world and a day’s work, are looming off to the side. It’s a humanistic ambition and humility all wrapped into one.
We can move mountains and worlds, but only with a combination of human innovation and the diligent pursuit of our goals. We can tackle big challenges with deceptively simple solutions. Everything looks simple and flat but is actually messy and complicated and is largely of our own creation even if our control over things is anything but absolute. We are granted free will, but not always liberty. The matter of our redemption is within our hands but far from assured. The manner of our redemption is up to our choosing.