Saturday, November 12, 2011


Contemplating the Nature of Triumph
Artwork: "Contemplating the Nature of Triumph", copyright Vivi-Mari Carpelan 2011 -
I sometimes like to express strength and positive emotion in my artwork but usually there is an underlying paradox of sorts. 

I hope however that the pieces that are more overtly positive are never trite.
There is an incredible lot of "noise" in the world today and especially on the internet. People are being even more inundated with information and it asks from everyone to start making more conscious choices as to what they let into their lives. But the downside is that people are very fatigued and unable to focus on anything but themselves. I mean come on, how can anyone take Facebook and Twitter seriously? Yet a lot of people keep posting trite updates about their day and don't necessarily interact very much with others. Various new addictions such as hoarding faceless "friends" over the internet probably lull people into a sense of false security of sorts.

Those who get tired of all this mindlessness will have to re-evaulate their attitudes on a regular basis. Everyone has access to means of vindicting themselves through social media, and while this is truly democratic the downside is that those who have something valuable to say are drowning in all the noise. I am personally starting to feel there is no point in trying to make myself heard anymore. I used to think I had valuable insights to share with other people. Well, I don't know if this is anylonger true and it makes me feel somewhat lost. I have to find meaning in my life in some other way. Perhaps realizing how unimportant you are is a spiritual lesson. At least you can make it into one, I suppose...

Me and my partner went through some collections of spiritual artwork the other day. I wanted to see what is out there, and although the person who had made this collection didn't give any credentials, it was still interesting to see. What struck us was how the same ideas are being rotated over and over... It gets incredibly boring to see all these images of  a potentially enlightened person with all the chakras all lit up like a Christmas tree, intersecting triangles that express energy, and mandalas with the tree of life, the sun and the moon, the seasons... angels and fairies and sickly sweet children holding butterflies in their hands. Images of heaven that look like cold and barren cityscapes in pink. Yes, all of it is sickly sweet or just downright childish. But the main question is, can this nonetheless be representative of anything real and meaningful? Why do some people allegedly find this imagery inspiring? My feeling is that it's only representative of people's very limited and uncreative idea of true happiness and joy. It has nothing to do with the real world either here on this planet or anywhere else in any other dimension. I used to think, hm well maybe reality does look like that somewhere in the universe, in some dimension that is not as heavily dualist as this one. But when I saw this vast collection of images, all I saw were rosy daydreams, and I cannot for the life of me believe that such visions of reality are based in a real experience. 

There is a problem in judging other people's experiences if we consider that people bring their inner imagery along with them wherever they go, even into the hereafter. The New Age has tried to use the idea that each and everyone creates their own reality as an argument for the necessity of taking responsibility for what you think and feel. Yet there is clearly also a collective reality, which everyone agrees upon. My conclusion has been that both viewpoints are true. I go by the idea that paradox is always at the base of any statement about reality. I feel that if this is valid on Earth, it's probably also valid in other dimensions. People may take along their imagery when they move away from their daily reality but I'm sure they will also be subjected to some form of objective reality that exists as a collective agreement of sorts. At least if they own some openness that allows them to see it...

So are all these sickly sweet images also part of some collective agreement on what reality "should" be in order for people to be happier? Well, I would say it's a collective agreement about the illusion of happiness. The image of a happy child holding a butterfly is maybe cute, but it can only exist as a flickering moment in time. The problem with images is that they make people believe that something can exist for a long period of time. It's almost as if people were trying to exhort a better reality by creating all this sweet imagery. To me it smacks of magical thinking. In other words, the more we enduce loveliness in pictures, the more it will enter into our lives. Whereas this may not be entirely false, I don't feel that such simplistic views of reality truly serve anyone in the long run. It should be clear by now, after so many years of the presence of New Age thought, that you cannot push negativity aside by focusing only on the positive. This leads to problems with the suppression of "the other side" of reality, i.e. that which is negative (and this will of course be individual to everyone). 

But lastly, I want to bring in a word about bad art. Yes, all this so-called spiritual imagery is derivative and uncreative. It lacks in the personality and is therefore artistically speaking pretty much dead art. People who indulge in this kind of thinking are repeating spiritual symbols like parrots. It is the opposite of the true ascension of spirit. How can such art be stimulating to our spirit and soul? I would implore people to wake up from such extreme escapism... it's not doing anyone any good.

"Halt", copyright Vivi-Mari Carpelan 1999

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