This morning I woke up in my car (a 1996 diesel VW Golf) and photographed the Cuadrilla test-drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, UK. The morning was fresh and it felt good to be alive. It occurred to me that I could have slept in my bed last night and woken up late, taken a coffee and read a book very comfortably, but being up and about at 530am was much more fun. Being uncomfortable seems to bring spiritual benefits. Just look at St John in that bespoke camel hair shirt. However, the idea that suffering is good for the soul is no longer in vogue. Sure, people work long hours, but there is a certain amount of brainwashing that keeps them in the office that long and that paranoia that keeps them there is well within their comfort zone. Happiness and awareness can only exist outside the comfort zone. That is true in Art and Politics. The fact that both are now carried out with such risk averse parameters is an indicator of the cowardice and philistinism that have replaced the noble institutes of political leadership and art made for arts sake.
One person dies every three and a half seconds from hunger or hunger related causes according to http://www.poverty.com/ – the site quotes the United Nations as saying that for $195 billion all the deaths caused by hunger and disease could be stopped. You may not be aware of this, but 22 countries have already pledge to raise this money by donating 0.7% of their national income to international aid. In 2011 Sweden were the biggest givers, with 1.2%, closely followed by Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands. The United States were near the bottom of the list with only 0.2% pledged and the United Kingdom was only a bit better at 0.56%. But it’s a start.
The point of today’s blog is ask why we waste our time obsessing with the frippery of television, fashion and keeping up with Jones’s when there is so much that needs to be done that is really important. Art, and by that I mean Art that comes from the earnest desire to pay homage to beauty and truth, however they manifest themselves to the artist, with no thought of how the work will be received and whether it will make money or find wall space, should make us more human. That is its purpose. The idea that art can be made to suit a market is as much a nonsense as a choice between ending world poverty and owning a Porsche 911. Now there’s a hypothetical moral dilemma to wrestle with. The visceral pleasure of fine German engineering or the moral high ground of knowing you gave life to millions of people you’ll never meet or receive a proper thank you from. Mmm.
Fracking is a great example of corporations wrecking the planet with the blessing of irresponsible governments who have can’t see beyond the next election. How can we even start to discuss sustainability under such conditions? Mmm.