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Posts Tagged ‘Frederick Douglass’

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When men sow the wind

it is rational to expect

that they will reap the whirlwind.

–Frederick Douglass

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Amplified consequence.

In his 1892 essay, Lynch Law in the South, Frederick Douglass used the proverb from biblical book Hosea, to illustrate how man often sets things in motion that have results that extend far beyond– and often in stark opposition to– their intended goals. Douglass wrote that the deadly violence being shown against the black citizens of the south at that time would eventually come back to haunt those that perpetrated the deed or stood idly by, complicit in their silence.

The biblical proverb in Hosea was about how the the citizens of Israel of that time ( ca 725 BC, I believe) took to idolatry, the worship of false idols, and how their actions brought down upon them the wrath of God. In that book the author uses the concept of farming to make his point, that a  a single seed of grain sowed by a farmer returns to him many times over.

An amplified consequence.

Of course, the farmer can usually tell what the result of his sowing will be. X amount of seed will allow him to reap Y amount of grain at harvest under normal circumstances. Predictable.

But that same degree of predictability doesn’t apply to all other actions man sometimes sets in motion. While we might initially think we control the outcome, we sometimes put actions into motion — sow our seed– that we cannot control, that return to us with such amplification and intensity that we are overcome and sometimes decimated by the result.

One small, seemingly insignificant action, such as not paying attention to a rising dangerous wind, can sometimes turn into a maelstrom of destruction that we never saw coming.

Take that for what it’s worth, given the events in recent days in this country.

The painting at the top is called Into the Winds of Change and is part of the West End Gallery‘s annual Little Gems show that opens tonight with an opening reception from 5-7:30 PM. Hopefully, like the Red Tree here, we can stand against and overcome the whirlwind that may soon be upon us.

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GC Myers- Tides of Change  smIf there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Frederick Douglass

 Narrative of His Life, 1845

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We humans are an imaginative lot.  When the first light breezes of any sort of change comes rustling through our leaves, our imaginations go into high gear, filling our minds with images of worst possible scenarios.  So we brace ourselves and struggle against the wind as it becomes stronger and stronger.  Some of us topple over and some lose all our leaves as the wind’s intensity continues to grow.

But some of us set aside our fears and adjust to the wind.  We give a bit and relax,  finding a comfortable position to endure the wind and trusting  that our roots will hold us fast.

We adjust and find that we stand as easily in the new day as we did in the days before.

Change is an inevitable force of nature. It is our adjustments to these tides of change that determine whether we fall or stand, fail or prosper.

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That’s just one reading for the new painting at the top  which is titled, of course, Tides of Change.  This 12″ by 36″ canvas will be at the Kada Gallery in Erie for the Gallery Talk there that takes place at 1 PM  this Saturday, April 11.  The talk and the drawing  to win one of my paintings is open to all. So if you have a different take on this painting and want to share it, come down to the Kada Gallery on Saturday and we’ll talk.

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