Planet Soul

When Objectivity Fails to Keep Us Human

Sometimes you need to reach beyond ‘the facts’ to find peace

Ethan Maurice
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readFeb 11, 2020


A photo of three birds flying in a blue sky with faint clouds.
Photo: Erika Maurice

My friend is a true artist. A feeler with strong intuition, she lives in deep connection with the desert she calls home.

Her walks through the desert are her daily source of renewal. The smell of creosote in rare desert rains moves her more than anyone is moved by a smell. She feels an energy between all things that I could once only logically intuit.

I am often inspired by her connection to everything. Our time together has connected me to all these gifts, strengthening my connection with the natural world. Recently, however, she told me something I simply have not been able to believe or connect with: red-tailed hawks are messengers.

To her, sighting a red-tailed hawk is more than a coincidence — its flight path is more than a result of biological needs. A red-tailed hawk often bears a message for her, usually beckoning her to be more courageous in life and art. She reads meaning in their flight patterns and believes they arrive when she needs them most.

I understand the archetype of a red-tailed hawk. I understand how this majestic bird — effortlessly free, graceful, and powerful — can serve as a symbol that helps us find those qualities within ourselves. But I can’t bring myself to believe that a hawk, the universe, or something greater is sending a message. My train of thought is simply unable to arrive at the conclusion that a hawk passing by overhead is trying to send any sort of encouragement. Perhaps all the science classes I took in college taught me to suspend suspicions, remain unassuming, and as “objective” as possible. When I try to consider the possibility of hawks as messengers, I cannot even entertain the idea. My brain just immediately and repeatedly calls “bullshit!”

It’s important to validate that something doesn’t have to be “real” for it to be helpful.

When my friend sights a red-tailed hawk, it is useful to her. Her spirit is lifted. She is inspired to greater creativity, courage, and motivation in her work. But because I learned to “filter out the fluff” in college, to stick to the cold hard data and facts, and have seen myself as a more…