Monday, December 01, 2014

24 making days til the seasonal onslaught of consumption is nearly complete

Your invitation to an art show.
Readers might enjoy this treatise on things by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. "Why We Need Things," is from a book, History From Things, Essays on Material Culture. It suggests that we have an unreasonable addiction to serial possession of objects that would be meaningless to us is we were more deeply engaged in processes of personal growth. These objects are killing us and the planet, and there is no better time to consider their impact than the season in which we become obsessed with the acquisition and dispersal of meaningless stuff. The following quotes are from Csikszentmihalyi.
...proliferation of artifacts would not be a problem if not for the fact that objects compete with humans for scarce resources in the same ecosystem. Forests are big destroyed to provide lumber, wood and pulp; metals and oil are consumed to propel vehicles. The potential energy contained in our environment is dissipated as we covert it into objects, which rapidly become obsolete: thus we accelerate the process of entropy that degrades the planet.
We like to think that objects are in our control, but Csikszentmihalyi suggests that this is not the case.
"In some respects, artifacts are like new species that reproduce themselves alongside biological ones. Looking at an illustrated history of musical instruments or weapons or vehicles, it is easy to imagine that one sees the record of an evolutionary process tending toward greater and greater complexity of function. We like to think that because objects are human-made, they must be under our control. However, this is not necessarily the case. An object with a specific form and function inevitably suggests the next incarnation of that object, which then almost certainly will come about about. For instance, the first crude stone missile begat the spear, which begat the arrow and then the bolt, the bullet, and so on to Star Wars. Human volition seems to have less to do with this development than do the potentialities inherent in the objects themselves."
My email these days is full of offers for special deals that are claimed to too good to pass up. They are not. What might be too good to pass up, however, is the opportunity to find personal growth the fulfilling of the obligation to give gifts this holiday season,  by making those gifts yourself.
"The addiction to objects is of course best cured by learning to discipline consciousness. If one develops control over the processes of the mind, the need to keep thoughts and feelings in shape by leaning on things decreases. This is the main advantage of a genuinely rich symbolic culture; It gives people poetry, songs, crafts prayers, and rituals that keep psychic entropy at bay. A Brahmin can afford to live in an empty home because he does not need objects to keep his mind on course. In our culture, mathematicians, musicians and others adept at the use of symbols are also partially freed from reliance on an objectified consciousness. We very much need to learn more about how his this inner control can be achieved. Then objects can again be used primarily as instruments rather than as projections of our selves, which like the servants created by the sorcerer’s apprentice, threaten to drown their masters with relentless zeal."
Is there a difference between making gifts, and purchase of them? When you make what you give, you are engaged in personal growth in the process. You have truly given in such cases, a gift of your better self. If you plan, still to buy gifts, buy those that encourage personal growth in others. Hand made gifts from your own community will encourage the development of human culture in your own city or town. There no better way to "develop control over the processes of the mind" than to become engaged in craftsmanship, music and the arts. Make something beautiful and useful and encouarge others to do likewise.

I am getting ready for a show this coming weekend in which my work will be available for sale. You are invited. Lux Weaving Studio, 4-8 PM, Saturday December 6, and the following Saturday, December 13.

Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment