The Raft of the Medusa

In humanity’s history, we find the deepest lessons to learn. In 1816, the French frigate “Medusa” shipwrecked near Morocco. The remains of the ship served as the only raft that maintained 149 people without direction for more than 27 days. The dramatic experience impelled a painter to carry out a detailed study of the 15 survivors. Horrified, he depicted the intimate human reality in agony. “The Raft of the Medusa” 1819 Theodore Gericault (1791-1824) is in the Louvre museum.

This event struck a nerve with the people of France at the time. Here, we observe different human attitudes that are revealed on the boundary of life and death. Now, we could ask ourselves: What would I do? How would I feel? How many times do we cross impossible situations and how do we face them?

  • Do we throw in the towel?
  • Do we believe that the situation has a solution?
  • Do we doubt everything and everybody?
  • Do we maintain hope above all?
  • Do we make an effort to achieve our goals?

These are the questions I asked my Art History professor in college. I pointed out that there is the tiniest dot on the horizon. I said it was a ship. She took off her glasses and looked carefully and said, “I don’t see it.” I continued and said that the ship represents hope. The man waving the flag wants to live. Almost everyone else has given up. Against all the odds, he wants to live. So do I.

My Art History professor was a moron.

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