In my last post I discussed a common contemporary separation that exists between human and non-human worlds. A separation that I feel is at the core of our current ecological crisis. And at the heart of that severed relationship lays a misconception about our own divinity. Many of us were first introduced to nature as our dominion, something to cherish and protect. The story goes that God created the rest of nature as a gift for us, and that it is up to us to preserve and protect it from those that would attempt to misuse, master and destroy it. Nature however, is abundant, resilient and divine. The world’s most ancient people and today's most indigenous cultures did and do not locate God and divinity in a space above, or in a position unattainable to humankind. Past and present many peoples' relationship to God and Nature was and is one of kinship. In many places God is still an integrated reality experienced through intimate relations with the natural world, and perhaps the best way for us to enter into a more balanced relationship with nature and ecology is to collectively see ourselves as a part of it; recognize our divinity, and proceed to live in ways that allow us to participate in the effortless flow of energy that is so apparent in the rest of creation.
This little bit by Louie CK is a great illustration of two current ecological mindsets. It also reveals a real truth about the human animal; that we see ourselves in a constant state of lack and desire, rather than gratitude and abundance.
In his book, The Comedy of Survival, Joseph Meeker considers comedy and tragedy as forms of adaptive behavior in the natural world that either promote our survival (comedy) or estrange us from nature (tragedy), and he demonstrates how predominant western writers and philosophers have contributed our tragic view of life and following exploitation of the environment. The hero of this tragedy is the “anthropocentrist”, who places his moral struggles on a plane higher than his physical survival and therefore suffers, as does the environment. The comic hero’s approach to life allows him rather to enjoy, contribute and receive in equal measure…”make love not war”… an existence that Meeker feels has a much higher ecological value.
So what is ecological value? Giving and receiving happen effortlessly in nature. Trees take in sunlight and water and give off oxygen. They continue to give by stabilizing the soil, providing habitats for other plants and animals promoting biodiversity. Why is it not that simple for humans? What series of events has disconnected us from our source? And how can we get to a place of natural giving and receiving?
One important thinker on this topic of reciprocity is Charles Einstein. Einstein wrote the book Sacred Economics, and in the book he discusses our perception of scarcity and lack as an economic imperative based on our monetary system. He points to past systems of exchange like The Kula System where wealth and abundance are experienced communally by directly connecting needs with gifts. In these societies people were born with gifts and purpose just like us, but because they gave freely, and gave things that were distinctly personal they related to others through collaboration and symbiosis.
Our society certainly recognizes the value of gifts, and we value many things apart from their monetary value, but we continue to compete for this one generic reward system, money; a system that purposefully created our perception of scarcity. For more on Einstein’s work check out this short film:
In the capitalist market, our perception of scarcity is further amplified by the packaging and parceling of things once thought to have no price. Our once common holdings are now natural and cultural commodities. Bottled water, patents on seedlines and genetic codes, copyrights on art and ideas all contribute to our shared perception that resources and ideas are scarce and those of quality can be exchanged for a lot of, money. Lewis Hyde, poet, essayist, critic and champion of all forms of creativity, wrote a book titled The Gift in 1983. In the book he discusses the real value of creative practice and it’s increasing importance in contemporary society by saying that “The commercial side of our culture needs to be met with an indigenous counterforce.”
originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native.
The thing I love about the word indigenous is that it is equally references all living things. And Hyde suggests that we endeavor to do, make, think, give and receive in relation to our particular place (natural and social) without fear of lack or scarcity. We need not see ourselves as isolated individuals with a limited radius living in competition for resources and survival; we are all part of the one thing there is, potential. For too long we have been told stories of separation.
Man and Woman
Individual and Society
Human and Nature
Physical and Spiritual
As part of my investigation into this paradigm of disconnection, I have begun to look at Sacred Geometry. Sacred Geometry appeals to me because it is equally based in quantum physics and the underlying mechanical structure of the physical world we see, while also illustrating an infinite set of realities, possibilities, and philosophies that follow from it’s application to spiritual inquiry and the state of human consciousness.
The first few images I have begun working with are The Seed of Life, The Flower of Life and The Fruit of Life or (Metatron’s Cube). The thing that is so interesting to me about these images is that they illustrate the most basic components of creation and physical existence outside of denominational boundaries like Creationism or the Big Bang Theory. Further, they belong to every culture. Architectural elements and illustrations of these images have been found on every continent, and within every world religion dating back to at least 11,000 BCE. There are many ways that mathematicians, physicists and philosophers read these images, and for more on the implications contained within them I would recommend this video series distributed by National Geographic.
Garret Lesi is a Theoretical Physist who recently gave a TEDtalk titled The Theory of Everything. Garret studies coral, and has investigated the coral polyps growth and symbiosis as single units of being within an infinitely expanding conscious organism, which he views as an illustration of our own potential. He is investigating the infinite set of subatomic particles and forces that make up our physical reality. When you look at the maps he has created of the subatomic particles currently visible with a particle excelerator, guess what appears… Sacred Geometry; which we should probably just refer to as the Geometry of Consciousness. It seems to me that this set of information has always been available to humankind but now we are really rediscovering it.
I am equally interested in these ideas and discoveries because of the implications they have for my work, my life and my place. So I started with this series of three personal visualizations which were also collaborations.
Four is for Birth
video installation and book
The book, is a kind of instruction manual for the ritual documented in the video. The dance, a physical interpretation of Sacred Geometry, broken into four movements, in this case the first two movements that lead to The Egg, or Seed of Life.
‘Na rosa r 'sant' M'chel (The Rose of St Michael)
rice, hot peppers, the Flower of Life
The rite of marriage is based on the delineation of sacred spaces. The dressing room, the church, the dinner table, the dance floor, the bedroom… The church is particular because it is a space that can be created from nothing but one person and their relationship to the divine. And because it is the space where we renegotiate the contract of marriage, century after century, reinventing it to embrace contemporary culture.
And so, I created this “temporary church” for Sponzfest a month-long celebration of marriage created and directed by Vinicio Caposella in Calitri Campagnia. On one hand it is a revival of St Michael’s Church; in all of it’s incarnations a symbol of reuse, reinvention, destruction and resurrection. On the other it is a place to contemplate the rite of marriage in relation to more universal elements, rice, flowers and hot peppers.
Frutto Meridiano (Midday Fruit)
un ago in un pagliaio (a needle in a haystack)
The symbolic and metaphoric associations of hay mirror its cultural and economic importance as a dichotomous symbol of wealth and poverty, love and disenchantment, life and death.
Here, the hay is a means of illustrating the sacred geometry of The Fruit of Life, and Metatron's Cube; first illustrated by Leonardo Pisano and elaborated on by countless physicists and philosophers. This transcendental form contains the blueprint for all life’s elements.
The footprint for the installation is built from 13 circles, a complete mathematical, lunar and musical cycle. From that base our minds eye forms the platonic solid representing fire and the outward spiraling nature of existence.
The needle references the search for meaning and love of that existence mid-day, mid-cycle.
This installation was created as a entrance to a concert entitled Il Demone Meridiano, or the Mid-Day Demon performed by Vinicio Caposella, and put on by the Sila Suona Bee on top of Monte Curcio, Camigiatello, Italy in September.
Each piece was temporary, so I created a print as a kind of artifact to accompany each, and they are available through Redbubble... click below if you would like to take a look:
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out what I have been working on... As always I would love to hear from you!
Wishing you the best, E
Nature’s grand book, which stands continually open to our gaze is written in the language of mathematics. It’s characters are triangles, circles and squares, other geometric figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it: without these one is wandering around in a dark labyrinth.
Galileo Galilei, 1623