Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Our Own.

It used to be that we were told what to think and how to behave by religion, the class system and social etiquette, but these are all struggling to stay relevant and respected.  We can pick and choose traditions now and create our own.  There is a much greater sense of individual freedom, as illusory as it may be.  The majority still rules but what it agrees on, or decrees, is in constant flux and can be more easily ignored or circumvented.  We often don't even know our neighbours.  And can pick and choose our own social networks.  We still have the law to guide us (which is slower to change & the enforcement of which tends to uphold the prevailing socioeconomic hierarchy) but the emphasis has maybe moved, from what we should and shouldn't do, to what we can get away with.

So are we thinking for ourselves now?  About what we want our lives to mean?  About the world we live in?  How we are all connected?  Or have we just stopped thinking about anything but ourselves?  Religion cannot be replaced by science for a number of reasons.  For one, the message needs to be repetitive and completely self-assured.  Science needs to always be happy to be proven wrong & to let new light shine on old subject matter.  Also, by its very nature, it is not as accessible to the masses as religion.  Its focus and scope is often too small or too infinitely large to give us any answers we require in our daily life.  And it tells us time and time again how inconsequential we are.

Might we turn instead then to the arts to fill the void?  (The very thing our education system tends to place very little value on.)  The arts tell us that what our hearts and minds contemplate does matter.  That, whether or not it continues to exist after our bodies expire, in this life, our soul does exist.  Our expressions of love, anger, sorrow, humour and fear live on after us in these mediums.  Which is why it is so important to tell your truth & not temper it in the name of commercial viability.  Art and entertainment have always had a tenuous relationship; and while it may not be possible to accurately gauge whether the balance has shifted, it is always safe to say that we could certainly do with less processed junk food.  The arts remind us, rather importantly, there is no one reality; that viewpoints are just that; and of our interconnectedness and the commonalities of the human experience.

I have read countless online remarks about how undeserving an artist (whether it be an actor or a couture designer) is of reverence or appreciation, even when they have just recently died, because they did not discover a cure for cancer, etc.  How infinitely more noble it is to be a scientist.  Despite the fact that many scientists are merely whores of capitalism, pushing the frontiers of production and exploitation, rather than healing the world's woes.  Much of what ails us has been caused by us.  And the cruelest blows can be those inflicted by the loss of love, of kindness, of hope.  Anyone who seeks to restore these and celebrate beauty and joy is worthy of our esteem.  Anyone who strives to remind us to take our blinkers off, and to think of others, is deserving of our respect.

I believe there is no big plan, no invisible puppeteer.  Bad things happen to good people & good to bad.  Everything can be taken away from you in an instant.  There is no inherent justice in the world, except that which we actively uphold.  It is now that matters.  How you represent yourself.  What you do more than what you say.  What you bring to the equation.  And what you learn from others.  We are heaven and hell on earth.  And there is no-one else to blame.


  1. Well put Angeline, we are definately "on our own" with no one else to blame. Art is a beautiful subject and the purest form of expression but Science is the home of all subjects. Great post

  2. Thanks, Joe! It was an interesting one because, when I started writing it, I wasn't intending to write about science or art at all.