About sixty people showed up to see their work and hear some of the stories that their art illustrates. Their presentation was not only about our current situation, but how the art is inspired by actions being taken by people (both individuals and groups) around the world to make necessary changes to support and find a path to sustainability. Their original artworks are accomplished by a complex dialog between and with the artists, native people, local residents and scientists who understand, sometimes all too well, the destructive capacities of "developers", mining interests and the energy giants who crush local economies and ecological systems in pursuit of ever decreasing benefits for the highest echelons of our culture. As their name implies, many workers make light work and the production of beehive collective art requires many people investing large amounts of time to create salient and moving pictographs about old way versus new way thinking.
Repeatedly during the presentation one issue was made clear. Life is tenacious. In the face of profound assault from corporate entities, the consumptive mind set of the oppressors and the paradigm that sanctions desecration of the planet, laying waste to her (Mother Earth's) organisms and natural processes for the sake of cash. Citizens of the world are united in their quest to find a path to not only survival, but retaining their humanity, their culture and ways of life. The income distribution has become such a top heavy contraption that the top wage earners have incomes that would support millions of their "lesser" countrymen. Contrary to what we have been told, the crucible of creativity is heated by the friction of old way versus new way thinking. I discuss this issue in most of my writing, but often we forget that in Earth's history, several mass extinctions have occurred, several ages have come and gone, but these young artists confirm the facts of our history in a rather interesting and most impressive way. What many believe to be "old way" thinking is what has been the dominant thinking for the past several thousand years. I refer to the old ways as that of tribal people, natives that had found ways of living on the planet that were not extractive in the sense that we know today. More and more however, we are closing the door on what was known as "new way" thinking or perhaps a "modern/industrial" mind set. The concept of bigger always being better is relatively new, but for most of us having grown up within that thought structure, it is just the current paradigm. Wrestling with the future will require that our "modern" approach will need to fall by the wayside of history and a new, new way thinking will need to take hold. The irony for many is that the old ways, those of tribal people everywhere, ones that sanctify the Earth, understand the unique gifts of the "gods and goddesses", as our ancestors did and operate within the "I am because you are" world view.
What the hippies were onto, was not just a drug induced dream, it was a very pragmatic worldview that peace and love really could heal the planet. Now we know that to a very large extent, we have found them to be right on the money. Spewing toxic compounds about can only lead to death, organics, renewable energy and a better land ethic can only enhance our quality of life, right? Many of us see daily the detritus of humankind, the vast wastelands that have been perpetrated against Mother Nature, against our people. For the sake of what? Vast wastelands that have had their worth shipped elsewhere, our cities are now hollow shells, the warehouses have gaping hollow eyes for windows. The mural that these people paint about my world would have miles of vacant buildings staring out at desperate consumers, looking to top off their buzz with the next acquisition.
To the peaceful loving people, the growing majority...
Each bend of the stream is sacred, every wing beat of every bird echoes their music in harmony with Great Spirit, every rock and stone literally sing, in the Church of Mother Earth (or whatever you want to call it) We all learn to open ourselves differently. Some may delight in stories that trees have to tell, or perhaps hear the echo of Om in forest glens, some tune in to the slithering creatures that love sunning themselves in fen. If we pay attention, we can learn to speak the language of the sacred spheres. We can find a truer sense of self than by living in the built up world.
This collective is aware that times are changing and a new phase of existence is required if we are to stop the oppressive and abusive ways of those who wish to turn our planet into Servoglobe. The paradigm that we are living under today is based on the tallest pyramid ever conceived. The rarefied atmosphere at the top is dizzying, the wealth virtually unbounded, the greed insatiable and the corruption thorough. Life itself is ground under the wheels of this sort of "progress" and now at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, we are beginning to realize that after a certain point, the ever increasing height of the pyramid has made it unstable. Every major resource, nutrient and even water itself are becoming harder and harder to get. more and more energy is required each year to even stay at a "steady state". The unending quest for more has taken us to places that even the most hideous fictional dystopia could not hint at. As the "reserves" become lower and lower quality, those on top deem more and more dangerous, more and more destructive methods necessary for their recovery. The flip side of this corporate marauding is that the poorest and "most desperate" have been sold a bill of goods even before they know that they are enslaved. The mystic web, as if of a great spider, has reached into all pof our lives and the beast must be done away with. This is just a relatively recent blip on the screen, a pixel if you will, within the panorama of life on Earth, our historical reference point and the future of humanity on the planet, will matter not one whit. Our species could die off just as many have before. The Earth, ultimately will go on of course until the Sun supernovas and engulfs the planet in His corona.
Technocrats often overlook the anthropological truth behind the myth of increased leisure. Every technology has a down side and only some of them are revealed by the collective. It is easy to say that "If we just exploited one more resource...that would solve this or that problem." However, the truth of the matter is that abuse and neglect of the planet can never yield benefits, without holding hidden cost overruns that make the value questionable at best. So what if you can send three BTUs of energy to wrest five from the Earth, does it make sense if you have to write off thousands of acres forever? The resources are a gift from the Great Spirit, it is high time we started acting like it!
When native people burned off forest, it was to select for tree species that fed the creatures that they relied upon to maintain their food stores. The beasts were roving food storage units if you like and the forest was maintained in unique ways to facilitate the continuation of many different species. An interesting side note that I thought was interesting was when one of the presenters was talking about frac sand mining removing entire bluffs and leaving great scars upon his homeland, in Southwestern Wisconsin. He said that for at least three generations, his people removed nothing but milk from that landscape and the effects of that did not change the topography one iota compared to the removal of the forest, the creatures and the hills that used to be his family's local landscape. This may be true, in a broader context, but the soil has nutrition taken that was not returned. The nutrients that were in that milk got carted away, gone forever. The cycles exist whether we can see them or not. We are currently faced with a situation in which we almost have to pray that no resource of any consequence will be found nearby where we live. It is, in fact, the only way to avoid having your part of the world destroyed.
Luckily, there are people like those involved with and supporting Beehive with their efforts, their donations and their impulse to further the mission of bringing on the change from Servoglobe to Gaia. As frequently happens with our people, the artists are the most forward thinking of the tribe. Being from a state that has "Forward" as it's motto, I humbly submit that we need to take a step back to see a way forward in this case. Like a rock climber, if we cling desperately to the precipice, we will never find our next hand or foot hold. These works, and their massive scale, allow us to gain vital perspective on what can seem to be overwhelming issues and for that I am both thankful and proud. I am because they are and that relationship is sacred.