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Archive for the ‘how to save the world’ Category

When people don’t want to discuss past events, or allow others to discuss or focus on the past, very often, their motivation is a desire to avoid facing their own void or, to barricade and insulate themselves from inconvenient truths.

Fearing consequences from these truths, in an attempt to deflect or discredit what threatens them, or if they are simply opting for “ignorance as bliss”, hoping and believing that the cliché is true because they want it to be true, they claim to what feel safe to them, whether it is or not.

They may say, let’s not dredge up the past, or what’s done is done and can’t be changed. In the psych world, they would blame the patient for ruminating, or worse, when confronted with an inconvenient truth, they more often would stick some pejorative diagnosis on the speaker, so as to discredit them and after that, no one would listen to them or believe them.

Now this is a situation that is motivated purely by self-interest, not from care or concern for a patient, or a desire to discover the truth, or to help anyone except themselves. Also called a conflict of interest. I’m that can be a very inconvenient truth. The particulars may, in some cases, be that they have taken possession of an innocent victim’s person in the first place–a kidnapping under the guise of protective treatment.

Even when the crime is known, very often most involved will fall back on a preference that the victim accept, silently, that what’s done is done. Well that may be convenient for the sensibilities of the general population and those involved in the crime, yes only intensifies the harm done to the victim, and could very well determine their very futures forever.

From this, there will be no lessons learned, no action will be taken, to change to prevent future similar outcomes. These individuals in these situations who are in power are are therefore virtually bulletproof.

Temple Grandin, like myself, has lived her entire life, with most formative choices motivated by primarily fear, that formed the foundations of her life efforts and growth. When the world is constantly bombarding you from birth with its millions and quadrillions of the details of truths that you cannot block out, and your gifts render you so different from others, (a la Ghost Whisperer, trying to conceal the truth of what she sees and experiences that the rest of the world does not), trying to pass for being like everyone else you are not bombarded this way, the human world can be a dangerous place, left unprotected from childhood.

Being smart enough to see all the outcome potentials, yet forced to watch the disaster scenarios play out, not only as potential outcomes modeled in your head long before the event, but now come to fruition disastrously, while being powerless to prevent it–can be agonizing, and you can either go crazy a hundred times or endlessly, or you can really learn to get your zen on, buckle up, and prepare yourself for another roller coaster ride, and ride on.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the ability or could dumb it down on command. I get tired. I get impatient and frustrated. I just want to withdraw from all the noise. But at the end of the day I know that I am what I need to be, and it’s a good thing even if I don’t always like it, and even if others don’t always get it. So whatever the ride has in store for me next I guess I just got to ride that train, see where it takes me, and discover what I can learn from it.

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image

Maya Angelou’s quote, and this picture are so integral to the metaphor of my intrinsic nature!!  I thought it was just me, and although I am no doubt a special creature of God as we all are, I feel less “one-of-a-kind” in the lone survivor sense in  the world after seeing this, and that has always felt like a sharp two-edged sword to me-like being unique but can feel lonely at times.  Thanks, Maya..reminder I’m not the last of my kind, perhaps I have distant cousins in nature!!!

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death of a hybridJust a storyline and yes, it’s another self-portrait (I’m the hybrid).  This is more or less a scene in a story, a medical examiner sent to pick up human remains, but finds instead a hybrid, part human, part… something else, they believe.  Ears like a sheep or goat, perceptual abilities that are unimaginable by ordinary human standards, extraordinary intelligence, yet quite vulnerable as extreme sensitive creatures, as well.  What they don’t yet recognize is that these are not hybrids at all, but another human species, highly evolved, but their extremely evolved mental capacities come at the cost of being unable to separate themselves from being severely bombarded by every aspect of their environment beyond human comprehension.  Of course, I’ve given visual form to the sensory sensitivities of hearing by incorporating the large ears, though this was just a 5 minute sketch with 2 cheap colored pencils from a dollar store pack (purple & blue). 

As is so typical of many humans when encountering a new life form or culture or race, the early hybrids faced persecution, even torture, were viewed with fear and treated as monsters because they couldn’t help but be themselves.  Out of fear, the early ones were hunted, eradicated, or locked up in institutions where they were warehoused with the rest of the society’s perceived “freaks.”  And predictably, this store turns on our eventual dependency upon these very creatures for human survival, because they have special gifts, abilities of perception that they can draw upon to find and expose the truth, the reality of situations, to be able to detect every nuance of what adds up to how a system is operating, whether the system is a multinational corporation doing business with other corporations, or the system is a single individual, and their behavior—speech, actions, believes, attitudes, condition, must be correctly understood individually, or when combined with other humans (systems).  To wrap your head around what life is like for these creatures, imagine what it would be actually like to be born able to actually talk to the dead.  Or to all kinds of animals via mental telepathy.  Or to see the future.  And you can’t turn it off, though you might take toxic, noxious substances to try to numb yourself to it sometimes, but that only makes you sick, and it’s worse for you after you get clean again. 

Hybrids, especially “seers” are exquisitely sensitive, and are super perceptive far above the range of human perception in multiple ways.  And while it is possible to find non-hybrid humans who have one sensory perceptiveness close to a hybrid level, you don’t ever find non-hybrids with multiple sensory awareness, much less a global sensitive.  Humans often will reject what they do not understand, and prefer to rely on what they already know and use that to label or categorize hybrids.  When people first became aware of hybrids, not as an isolated freak accident, but when trends in their numbers began to be evident, when the powers of that time got wind of this, what happened next looked like they took a chapter out of Frankenstein, rounding them up like animals and slaughtering them, as they were deemed non-human and needed to be culled before it spread like some infectious plague.

There were survivors, and they pulled away to themselves to avoid capture.  Eventually, though, their gifts were noticed and someone realized that they could be exploited as “seers” or “truthsayers”, and they could investigate any kind of system in the world, build a 3D working model in their heads, tell you what is wrong with the system and how to fix it.  They could “read” systems, provided they had access to information.  Seers were indispensible to world leaders, and they had a constant presence on the court.  But they were not free to come and go as they wished, because of the risk that someone would steal them or harm them thereby disadvantaging the government who relied on them.  So they lived in the most lavish palaces in the world, confined to cage—a gilded cage most of the time, but a cage nonetheless.

And now they have started dying off, and no one seems to know why that is happening.  Even the ancient ones like this one, with no apparent connection to the others, has died.  And that is where this story begins, with a mystery—the death of a seer, specifically MY death.  Not that I am suicidal or anything, but it seemed apt.

The background is done in acrylic, with the scene’s dialogue written in white gel pen in my cheap, $.25 lab notebook from Walmart.  You can do more in these things that I imagined!  Having the pages sewn in, versus perforated is a sturdier option if you abuse these notebooks as much as I do.  This one, started just over 2 months ago, has almost all of the 100 pages filled with journaling now.  My next journal will be an actual sketchbook, and I’ll do the writing as I’ve been doing, but it will be interesting to see how it holds up compared to this option.  My hope is that at least I won’t have the bleeding that sometimes happens when I work with markers in these thin pages, though I’ve managed to work with them and incorporated them into that pages entries.

It might seem morbid to write about one’s death, but death is a part of life, after all, and writing stories that reflect my views and insights about the world and myself, as self-portraits, isn’t at all troubling to me.  It doesn’t make me think of hastening my death, or worrying about death or any such; it is simply part of my story, but told via a fictional character. 

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unicorn1.0 

I’m adding these themes to my working list of the sketchbook project that I have in process right now: 

  • you don’t have to be a tree hugger to talk to trees, and it can save the world
  • how an extraordinary little girl used every day magic to save the world (series of pages tell the story)
  • how “childish dreams” can save the world
  • can we be polite and still save the world?
  • what unicorns can teach us about saving the world (It’s a secret-this picture is a teaser page!  You’ll have to keep following the story to learn the secret!)
  • How what you believe could save the world

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Page 2 to go into my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.  My assigned topic:  How to Save the World.

 

sketchbook Project #2.0-1

A little background about the symbolism on this page: 

The symbolism here is tied to the religious paradigm of the mythical hero off to slay evil demons out in the wilderness so as to protect kith and kin. 

This paradigm was articulated by Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), a native of Romania, who was “a well-known historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day. His theory that hierophanies form the basis of religion, splitting the human experience of reality into sacred and profane space and time, has proved influential.[1] 

“Eliade argues that religious thought in general rests on a sharp distinction between the Sacred and the profane;[83] whether it takes the form of God, gods, or mythical Ancestors, the Sacred contains all "reality", or value, and other things acquire "reality" only to the extent that they participate in the sacred.[84] suggests that in traditional societies, people tended to view the world as being one of opposing realms, of the known world, and the unknown world.  The known world was “the realm of established order; and beyond the known world is a chaotic and dangerous realm, "peopled by ghosts, demons, [and] ‘foreigners’ (who are [identified with] demons and the souls of the dead).[116] ….According to Eliade, traditional societies place their known world at the Center because (from their perspective) their known world is the realm that obeys a recognizable order, and it therefore must be the realm in which the Sacred manifests itself; the regions beyond the known world, which seem strange and foreign, must lie far from the Center, outside the order established by the Sacred.”  Full Wikipedia Article on Eliade’s life and work

Eliade’ argued passionately for the universality of these paradigms, probably the most controversial aspect of his work to others.  But I would argue that one doesn’t have to look very hard at contemporary cultures, to at least see the pervasiveness of the paradigm of the mythical hero as a recurrent theme today across most cultural groups, in religious stories, as well as popular drama and other entertainment.  It continues to be held up as a value throughout enculturation processes in some form.  The details may vary, but it is a powerful motivator to act, even today. Though the paradigm has its roots in traditional societies, it clearly persists in modern culture and shapes values on a primal level.   

It is a romantic notion that lies at the heart of the decisions of world leaders to take up arms, though how those leaders have formed their perception of who is included in the sacred or in the profane derives from how they, as individuals, have come to see who is “in” and who is “out”.  Whether you are looking at individuals who take extreme measures to strike through hostage taking, genocide, and mass murder, or the knight who fights on his home soil to defend against invaders, all can be seen to be acting on a sorting process.  This process of sorting the universe of being “one/part of us” or “in” and being “not part of us” or “out” begins in early social development.  How we learn to sort and how we act on that sorting is shaped by how we our personal biases are formed.  It is how we judge the behavior of others. 

If we view and judge others around us as being the profane, “outsiders”, “others”, we make them “dragons” in our minds, or the “chaos monster”, as Eliade would describe them.  We believe that it is a hero’s duty to slay dragons that threaten us.  The problem here, is that they are probably not dragons at all, and the facts are likely not that we are good and they are evil and must be defeated.  In fact, they may just be afraid of us, as we are of them, and by our perceptions and acting through fear, we cannot build empathy or understanding.  What is required to avoid the outcome that we are afraid of, is learn to see one another without judgment, to foster trust and acceptance through mutual respect of our common humanity and unique qualities.

When we are looking over at someone that we are perceiving as a “dragon”, we should question our perception, and the assumptions that form that perception.  We should investigate before we behave with prejudice toward another, and try our best to understand them, to see them as they are, not just as we “fear” they might be.  We should set aside our fear and loathing for what is unfamiliar and try to build empathy with others, not try to force them to be “us”, or to force us to be “them”, but to appreciate the differences and how the uncomfortable feelings arose, and then find the common ground to address respective concerns.   We can’t control what other people do, but we can do our part to attempt to bridge the gap.  This is how we can each be a “hero”, and save the world.

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So I’m participating in The Sketchbook Project, which means that I will complete an art journal that will be a part of a traveling exhibit before moving to a permanent collection next year.  It’s very exciting, but also a little bit daunting.  I’ve been assigned the theme:  “How to Save the World".”  So I am going to be posting to this blog and updating it with thoughts about my pages, and looking for ideas/inspiration on the theme.  I have thought of a few topic ideas for my pages already, and would do pages around any of these ideas from the list below, that reflect my vision of what we all could do, to save the world:

  • Organize a WORLD COLOR DAY: set up network & internet coverage that can be captured and sent by anyone via camera phones, email, live webcam feeds, and global news organizations.   Anyone in the world who is willing and able should color pages, and people in leadership positions should be obligated to participate, especially political/government leaders:  everyone can choose from a collection of various coloring pages (can be shapes/designs like patterned mandalas or still life pictures, or line art illustrations). Embellishment of the pages is entirely at the user’s discretion.  This enables us to “see” one another through use of color, rather than the color of our skin, hair,etc. It is a common language, regardless of the language that we speak, and does not require special skill or elaborate materials.  Color may be applied with anything from crayons, paint, pencils, to grass, food, soil, makeup.  Anything goes, as long as the paper can hold it.  Coloring is very calming, enhances health, and problem-solving abilities.  It would help the human race, to build bridges through individual expression–without judgment or criticism–and enable people to not be burdened and divided by cultural differences.  
  • Raise children to see differences among people as “interesting,” not bad.  Role models: “walk the walk” 
  • Be mindful that every choice that you make has consequences somewhere, somehow, and/or to someone or something.  Doing nothing is a choice, too.
  • Stand for something that demonstrates the best aspects of your character.  The way you live reveals what it is that you stand for.
  • Forgiving others relieves YOU of the burden of YOUR anger.  Save yourself and the world at the same time.
  • Treat all humans with dignity, respect, and compassion.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Permit the innocent to speak of harm done to them by others without inflicting a sense of personal shame on them.  However unpleasant it may be to hear about their abuse and pain, they were victims, and the first-hand experience was undoubtedly at least as unpleasant for them.
  • With power comes responsibility—do your very best to take responsibility
  • Challenge negative assumptions about others and ourselves; acting on negative assumptions generally yields negative results
  • Hope is not a strategy—start from where you are, and act according to your ability.
  • Don’t waste or destroy, just because you can.
  • Always question the source and validity of strong feelings of judgment, anger, sweeping generalizations and prejudice.
  • The value of a gift is not measured in quantity or money or scope, but in the true generosity of spirit, purity of intention, and ability to give of oneself

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