I just cringed and cried my way through an amazing documentary, Earthlings.
While trying to draw bird studies for my current project.
I was glad, actually, to have had that distraction, something to avert my eyes and mind, like a momentary fresh breath, from the explicit cruelty playing out on screen.
We are all part of the same earth, we are all sentient beings, and just as each individual is unique, each species has its own strengths and weaknesses. How is it fair to proclaim superiority over other beings, if you are the maker of the criteria by which judgement is placed?
It’s like being the kid who makes up a game and forces everyone to conform to his arbitrary rules. Or else.
We have no authority or ability to force others into a frame of mind – but I do believe that it is right to share valuable information so that people can make up their own mind.
Discoveries made by the self are always the most powerful.
I urge – no, challenge you, to watch this full documentary.
My bet is that, even in some small way, seeing the footage from this will alter your perspective on our meat-heavy food culture, the general lack of regard for where things originate from, where wastes end up, and our self-proclaimed power over ‘our’ Earth.
I could go on about it, but I think the footage is evocative enough to provoke your own thinking.
In The Matrix, Cypher famously relishes a juicy steak of salmon and sighs with satisfaction – ‘Ignorance is bliss’. Well, ignorance is certainly the easy way, the way of denial. But once your eyes are opened, once you have taken that bite of knowledge that awakens you to a less than sweet truth – then you inherit a kind of moral responsibility. If you analyze the problems we face now, and the issues that plagued societies past, many of the major issues boil down to people not taking full responsibility for the results of their decisions. When you know something is wrong, you also know it should be fixed.
The question is, how can this change be made – and what part will you play in making it happen?
Peter Sellars, theatre director (and owner of quite an electrifying hairdo) suggests that being an artist involves three key steps.
1. Imagine the world you want to live in
2. Create that world
3. Live in it
What do you feel is missing? What is making that gap between the existing world and the ideal world? Find that absence, then use your strengths to create, change, grow it into something that will enrich your experience – our experience – of the world we share. The first challenge is finding the place to start. To take action.
I know that’s what I’ll be working on.
*For those interested in more – I have been researching into the food system lately, and starting to learn a little more via the highly accessible and engaging writings of authors like Michael Pollan (currently finishing off The Botany of Desire), and online lectures such as UC Berkeley’s Edible Education course, available free via YouTube (this one with above-mentioned Peter Sellars as guest speaker, is excellent).