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Posts Tagged ‘Mahatma Gandhi’

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The Seven Social Sins

1- Wealth without work.
2- Pleasure without conscience.
3- Knowledge without character.
4- Commerce without morality.
5- Science without humanity.
6- Religion without sacrifice.
7- Politics without principle.

–Frederick Lewis Donaldson, Westminster Abbey sermon, March, 1925

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The list above has been attributed for years to Mahatma Gandhi who published this same list later in the year in 1925 but it first came from a sermon given by Anglican priest, Frederick Lewis Donaldson, at Westminster Abbey in March of that year.  Gandhi published it in his newspaper, Young India, in October, stating in a very short commentary that the list was sent to him by a “fair friend,” adding “Naturally, the friend does not want the readers to know these things merely through the intellect but to know them through the heart so as to avoid them.”

Though Gandhi may not have originated the list, his reputation sent the message worldwide.

Reading the list early this morning, I was struck that the entirety of the list could be applied to many of those who wield the power of government, most notably the person(?) who sits in our white house. He is devoid of all the positive social attributes on the right side of this list, existing without conscience, character, morality,humanity, or principle. Nor is he unwilling to work or sacrifice anything of his own to make the world better for those beneath him in the social pecking order.

Based on his comments stating that traumatic head injuries suffered by our soldiers weren’t real wounds, I think you can throw empathy and a few other positives into the list of things missing from his being.

In short, he is a hollow man.

A husk.

And the more we follow his lead, giving in to his twisted and selfish worldview, the more hollow we become as a nation. You can easily see it in the way he has affected the republican party which has many members in power who, like him, are crossing off more and more items on the list above. They have become a husk of a political party, one without conscience or principle or shame of any sort, all too willing to carry the water for the hollow man.

As a result, he is going to be acquitted in this trial. That’s a forgone conclusion.

As Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote over two thousand years ago: “Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned – yet whose enormous fortune…has already brought him acquittal!

Some things remain the same. That doesn’t make it right nor does it undo the harm already done and the damage yet to come.

And the more hollow we become as a nation, the more of these sins that we normalize, the less able we will become to recover when that damage fully arrives.

We must ask more of our leaders. And ourselves.

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True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.

Mahatma Gandhi

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This is another small painting on paper that will be accompanying me to the Principle Gallery in Alexandria this coming Saturday, September 21. I will be giving my annual Gallery Talk there beginning at 1 PM and I always bring a small group of new work with me– along with the painting(s?) that I will be giving away at the end of the Talk.

Some of the new pieces that will be coming feature small distant solo figures in generally large open landscapes. It’s a theme that has been a favorite of mine for some time now but one that I don’t visit all that often. Maybe I have to be in a certain mindset for them to come. Don’t really know.

I call this painting Off the Beaten Track. I like this piece for many reasons, including the obvious messaging of it. It just feels right which is something I can’t explain at all.

I can explain the message of this piece, at least as I see it and as it relates to my own experience. The Gandhi quote at the top partially explains it, that true morality can’t be dictated by the crowd that travels the beaten path. Without getting into the details, I think the current populist movements taking place around the world, including here in the US, are sufficient evidence of that.

What they claim for morality is certainly not the same as mine.

But beyond morality, life comes down to knowing when to veer from the beaten track, when to forge your own path and find your own way. That is absolutely true in making a life for yourself in the arts. There are few guides to show you the way  so many stick with the path, which is, as a result, crowded to the point that everything seems squeezed into a bland sameness. And it’s often headed in directions that don’t seem appealing or to make sense for what you’re hoping for your work.

Sometimes you have to break away from that crowded path and climb to higher ground, to look for something that draws you forward, that keeps you moving.

A muse. An inspiration. An opportunity.

To higher ground, where your voice can be heard above the drone coming from the path, where you can be clearly seen.

Fresh air and good views, both of where you’ve been and where you want to go.

This is what I am seeing in this little piece. It might be smallish in size but it speaks volumes for me.

Hope to see you at the Gallery Talk on Saturday. I have some neat things to share…

 

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The mantra becomes one’s staff of life, and carries one through every ordeal. It is no empty repetition. For each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

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I wanted part of my upcoming June show at the Principle Gallery to feature not only new growth, as the show’s title implies, but a few nods of acknowledgement back to my older work. The new painting above, one that I finished just yesterday and am calling Mantra, is such a nod.

I have periodically used multiple images in my work through the years. Some were quite large back in my earlier days, some having as many as 60+ images making up the piece. I am attracted by the look of these piece but also by the mindset required when painting them, one with a blank concentration, one that produces a repetition of thought and form.

This repetition of thought and form produces small incremental changes in each cell. Each is the same but slightly different.

That could be the mantra for my work.

Over the past twenty years of these shows, the work has always changed in small increments. Changes in colors and tones. Changes in strokes and textures. Additions and subtractions in elements and forms. Each is the same but slightly different.

Again, the mantra.

I guess that is why I chose that word mantra for the title. As Gandhi points out above, it is no empty repetition.

Each repetition is new and has its own meaning even though it is seemingly the same. Each is its own moment in time, its own coordinate on the grid of time and space.

Whether this repetition takes one closer to god, as Gandhi adds, I cannot say. I don’t know what that even means. But if it means that it brings one closer to understanding and a sense of unity with this world, then I agree heartily and this painting, this mantra, says everything I need to know.

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My new solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery , my 20th annual show there, is titled Red Tree: New Growth and opens June 7, 2019 at their Alexandria, VA gallery.  The painting above, Mantra, will be included in this show.

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Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Mahatma Gandhi

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I often paint the rows of a freshly cut field in my work. While this creates an interesting visual effect with its pattern of alternating colors, it also satisfies my own need to express the importance — and necessity–of effort for myself and for my work.

I have often pointed out at gallery talks that I spend huge amounts of time alone working very hard in my studio, well over 70,000 hours over the past twenty-plus years. I usually make a joke of this, saying that I enjoy these long periods of solitude and tell people I am hard at work during my time in the studio so they will just leave me alone. Okay, there is a lot of truth there as far as not having people bother me but the fact remains that while I find my time in the studio enjoyable as well as enlightening, it does require great effort and work.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess that’s because there is usually a moment after finishing a piece or a group of work for a show when I stop and look at the work in its state of completion. In this moment there is a great sense of satisfaction at the result of my full efforts. And that full effort gives the results a sense of completeness and  that brings me my own sense of personal completeness, a fulfillment of some small purpose that I find necessary in order to persist in this world.

That small moment of satisfaction makes all the work, all the frustration and missteps fade away. That which should have depleted me now serves as nourishment. I find myself strengthened for another day.

Maybe that what I see in this new painting, a 24″ by 24″ canvas which going soon to Alexandria, VA for my upcoming solo show at the Principle Gallery, which opens June 7. It is called A Sense of Satisfaction, of course. It very much reflects what I have written here, with the Red Tree representing someone looking back on the results of a long day of labor. And again, they feel uplifted rather than worn down.

I know it’s not always that way. There have been times when work has been very draining, definitely in my past and occasionally even now. But knowing that special moment of satisfaction that comes along every so often is out there as a reward makes me look forward to the task and the effort ahead.

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The post above was written several years back was written about an earlier painting with similar receding fields rows in its foreground. I felt that the message from that earlier post applied equally well to the new painting at the top so I borrowed much of it for today’s post, with a few edits.

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GC Myers-  The Satisfaction smSatisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Mahatma Gandhi

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I often paint the rows of a freshly cut field in my work.  While this creates an interesting visual effect with its pattern of alternating colors, it also satisfies my own need to express the importance — and necessity–of effort for myself and for my work.

I have often pointed out at gallery talks that I spend huge amounts of time alone working in my studio, well over 50,000 hours in the past fifteen years.  I usually make a joke of this, saying that I just tell people I am hard at work during my time in the studio so they will not bother me and that its really not that much work.  Okay, maybe there is some truth there as far as not having people bother me.  But the fact remains that while I find my time in the studio enjoyable as well as enlightening, it requires great effort and work.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I guess that’s because there is usually a moment after finishing a piece or a group of work for a show when I stop and look at the work in its state of completion.  In this moment there is a great sense of satisfaction at the result of my full efforts.  And that full effort gives the results a sense of completeness and their completeness brings me my own completeness, a fulfillment of some small purpose that I find necessary in order to persist in this world.

That small moment of satisfaction makes all the work, all the frustration and missteps, fade away and that which should have depleted me now serves as nourishment.  I find myself strengthened for another day.

Maybe that what I see in this new painting, an 18″ by 18″ canvas which is headed out to California.  It is called The Satisfaction, of course.  It very much reflects what I have written here, with the Red Tree representing someone looking back on the results of a long day of labor.  And again, they feel uplifted rather than worn down.

I know it’s not always that way.  There have been times when work has been very draining, definitely in my past and occasionally even now.  But knowing that  special moment of satisfaction that comes along every so often is out there makes me look forward to the task and the effort ahead.

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GC Myers-Quester's Path smIn the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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      I write a lot about the search for something and in reality I have no idea what that thing is.  Gandhi says that  it is Truth that we seek.  His Truth may be the same as the wisdom that others claim to be seeking.  Others say that life is a search for self or love or to shatter loneliness.

      As for me, I just don’t know.  I have thought it was many things over the years– truth, self, wisdom and a place to fit in.  But none of those ever truly fit for me.  I am not sure I am equipped with the wisdom to handle the truth and, as far as fitting in, I gave up on that some time back.  And I have the self too elusive a thing to seek for too long. It sometime feels like looking for a Bigfoot– you think you may have found it but it always ends up not being what you hoped.

      So I am left filled with even more uncertainty.  And I think this uncertainty is a good thing because it makes me believe that the real quest is for a reason, a purpose for our existence.  And maybe that makes the quest the  real purpose– to be aware of our world, our lives.  To hold up each day, to examine each moment.  Maybe in each moment there is that truth, that wisdom. that sense of self and inclusion, if only we look with some uncertainty, not knowing why we do so.

      But as I say, I don’t know.

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The painting at the top is Quester’s Path and is 8″ by 14″ on paper.  It is part of the show, Traveler, at the Principle Gallery.

 

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