The Fearless Girl- A beacon for our dauntless spirits today
It is like they show in the movies. The fear of an uncontrolled contagion controlling the pulse of the public. The real news, the fake news, the WHO reports circulating, the minute to minute updates on the casualties, is taking its toll already and breaking spirits. Although we are all putting up a brave face, and wearing our armour of optimism, the despair and hopelessness is gradually sinking deep. The lock-down measures and the punishment of maintaining social-distancing for social animals- us, is in itself a sentence for some crime we have not committed, and is being abided to, out of fright and anxiety The future seems distant, blurred and uncertain…
But this is not us, homo sapience, who have chosen to stubbornly survive and evolve over from their early hominid predecessors between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago. How many obstacles, dangers and impediments our race may have endured and overcome to see this dawn of today? And yet we let our spirits panic and dampen over a pandemic like COVID19? Where has our fierce fighting spirit for survival gone?
On March 7, 2017, a four foot high bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal called the Fearless Girl was installed in front of Wall Street’s iconic charging-bull statue in New York city. It depicts a defiant girl, standing in the face of a ferocious, savage charging bull. The winds too, are trying to blow her away but she stands her ground, chin up, holding on to her stance of sheer dauntlessness. You experience the awe-inspiring feeling that this symbol radiates- proud, and strong, yes, definitely brave, but not belligerent.
The 11 feet Charging bull, on the other hand (a bronze sculpture by artist Arturo Di Modica) standing a few feet from the Fearless Girl, was installed much earlier in 1989. The charging bull, a forceful allegory of market optimism, came to also be interpreted and epitomized as a symbol of limitless, unrestrained brute strength and power. The body language of the statue is just as fearsome- head is lowered in hostility, its nostrils flare in animosity, and its wickedly long and sharp horns are ready to gore. These massive creatures are unpredictable and appear to have bouts of aggressive rage directed at whoever is unlucky enough to find itself in its path. Something like the Corona Virus in today’s victimized world.
What does the girl in front of the bull mean, today?
My favorite poet, H.W. Longfellow, in his inspirational poem, ‘Psalm of Life’ writes
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,”
Was not spoken of the soul…
Our spirits should be like the Fearless Girl standing unmoved in the face of adversity. She reads the charging bull, perhaps she even skips a beat. But her shoulders firm up, the chest swells with courage and her hands on the hips convey she will not flee, but is prepared for the encounter. No, she is definitely not ignorant, nor is she playing over smart. She has decided she does not want to give up without a fight; she will not yield to the trepidation. Let us all imitate her. Let us not give up just yet. Let us be smartly brave. Let us atleast boost our hearts and dampened spirits to face this raging pandemic with intelligence and prevention. Let us be optimistic about what the new future will bring. Let us not flee and give up just as our battle has begun. As a race, we were not meant for extinction, and defeat is definitely not our goal.
On a concluding note I cannot but help recollect snippets from the stirring speech delivered by the US President Thomas Whitmore, in the famous disaster movie, The Independence Day. It says so much about what we humans are, and what we humans can achieve…
“We can’t be consumed by our petty differences any more. We will be united in our common interest. You will once again be fighting for our freedom, not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution, but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live, to exist. We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive.”
Guess that’s exactly what the little Fearless Girl wants to say to that Charging bull of COVID19, on behalf of all of us, today.