Art prophecies of the future

26 Oct

The Future Man by Victor Hugo

Here’s the thought of the artist himself, Victor Hugo, on above artwork: “Nothing else in the world… not all the armies… is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

I hope he is right. Because if he is, I have and idea. It is the idea behind this blog, behind my pursuit for happinness. It is an idea I try to actively introcude to my life, and to the lives of people around me.  It is just two words, four simple syllables, it is this little thought:

More compassion.

And the best part is, it is not really my idea at all. I know it is an idea that others try to fulfill in their lives, just like I do.  I know it lives in many hearts. I know that there are people out there, compassionate and loving, caring and fond of little things, like stranger’s smile and surprise hugs. Actually, I believe we have all been given that talent. Whatever Darwin and natural selection has to say, I say there is much more to us than just bare animal instinct! We have been given the ability to love, the miracle of empathy. We are all capable of loving. Let’s be generous with it and create more of this love.

Because if Victor Hugo is right, and I believe he is, we can change this world. With more compassion, we do not create only a better potrait of the future man, we create a better mankind.

It might sound naiive. I know there is a lot of suffering in this world, more than I can imagine in my blessed little life where week’s biggest tribulation is that I missed a bus.  But think about Victor Hugo’s quote, think about the concept of an idea. Before there was a gun, there was the idea of a gun. Before there was war, there was the idea of war. Before violence, the violence was created in someone’s mind. Before this world was a chess game of super powers, leaders check and mating each other with nuclear bombs, there was someone who wanted that power. So with our idea, with the idea of more love and compassion, we can change this.  We can turn down the power of violence and spread the power of love. We can take this idea, this sweet and naiive-sounding idea, and turn it into reality. We can make this work. We can make this world a better place.

And when you doubt, the way I sometimes do, ask yourself: What are the options? Do we really want to see more crisis? Do we want the future man to be the portrait above: A hard shell of an armour, drained out of all empathy, feeling, compassion. Do we want to become efficient killing machines, love machines, labour machines, lost and unfeeling machines. Because the choice is ours, the choice is real. We have the choice to create more compassion or to destroy the idea of it.

Rock Drill, the original sculpture by Jacob Epstein

Rock Drill, the original sculpture by Jacob Epstein

The remaining torso of Rock Drill by Jacob Epstein

The story of the sculpture above, Rock Drill, is probably one of my favourite art stories ever. Epstein created Rock Drill in 1913 to be the prophecy of humanity.

“I made and mounted a machine-like robot, visored, menacing, and carrying within itself its progeny, protectively ensconced. Here is the armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow. No humanity, only the terrible Frankenstein’s monster we have made ourselves into…” Extract from the autobiography of Epstein

The sculpture was originally attached to real miner’s rock drill. However, later Epstein dismantled it himself, removed the drill and cut off its limbs, leaving the torso displayed on the bottom picture.  But even if the threatening apperance of Rock Drill was destroyed, what it stood for survived. It was the epitome of suffering, violence and war. None of them has yet grown extinct. We can see their effects every day, some of us in news and some of us, sadly, first hand.

So, the reason I love Rock Drill? Well,  I don’t think it is the epitome of suffering at all, I don’t think it is the prophecy of our future the way Epstein intended it to be.  I think it is the epitome of what we can do! Or if it isn’t, we can turn it into one.

Let’s make it the epitome of change. Let’s dismantle the body of hatred and violence in this world, the way Epstein did with his sculpture. Let’s replace it with love, community and compassion.

I believe we can do it. But if I didn’t convince you, check out this blog:  The Better Man Project.  It sets an amazing example, it is one of my constant inspiration foundations. Every day, I return there for examples of love and care, for ponderings, for instructions. For the followers, for the visitors of the blog, for the community.

Do you see now that this idea is not alone, that is not flimsy and imagined? Do you believe? Because if you do, we can change this.

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