Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A few days ago I mentioned a concept, "globally informed localism". It is a concept distinctly different from "globalism" which seeks to expand trade of goods and materials to benefit various national economies. It is also different from "localism or provincialism" in that it seeks to understand the global ramifications of local activities and allows those activities to be directed toward resolving overall planetary concerns... Like stopping global warming, equitable resolution of long-standing conflicts, and the widespread growth of human dignity and social justice.

There is some talk about a "post-industrial society," but there is no way we can become "post-industrial" until the lessons of industrialization have become widely understood.

I've discussed Sweden and Sloyd before in the blog, and since repetition has the value of practice in refining and clarifying the message, here I go again... In the early to mid 1800's in Sweden, manufactured goods were widely introduced. The quality and price of those goods led to a drastic decline in "hemsloyd," or traditional Swedish household crafts. The loss of those activities in the typical Swedish home led to a dramatic increase in alcoholism, a rise in depression, and the onset of serious social problems.

The introduction of Educational Sloyd in the schools, even though developed and promoted by Otto Salomon, a Swedish Jew, was widely supported by the Lutheran Church where they had witnessed the consequences of industrialization. Throughout the world, one of the primary effects of industrialization has been the loss of traditional sources of self-esteem in the populace... That being the making of objects of usefulness and beauty. You can see this in the history of the American Indian, and you can see it in Africa today.

As an artist I've learned to look at both the positive space and the negative space surrounding it. In the last post I mentioned T-shirts. You may notice that the greatest tragedy is the loss throughout "the third-world" of the traditional craft that clothed their populace for hundreds of generations and provided clear opportunities for development and expression of self-esteem.

We will not become post-industrial until we come to a full understanding of the significance of working with our hands, and once again take up our traditional roles as makers of the objects that provide meaning in our lives. This is true in the third world, and it is equally true for those of us privileged to live anxiously and depressed in our false heaven of relentless, insatiable consumption of the earth's resources.

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