Sunday, June 20, 2010

room for growth

While watching the film 'Collapse' a few nights ago Michael Ruppert told a version of the story 'The Hundredth Monkey' which was originally written by Ken Keyes, Jr. The movie was a distressing overview of where we've already gone, or at least where the evil (deluded) overlords have taken us in their quest for power and money but the story is a hopeful one and so I've linked to it in case it's something you haven't heard. I'm not even sure if it's true but that makes it no less right.

Sometimes it's hard for me to find anything to say but last night an image came to mind which I was able to draw this morning. It's called 'Growth' and may become the basis of the next painting I work on.. or maybe not, but I thought to share it with you today. It's difficult to draw a person who appears ageless without making them look impossibly young. This is my attempt.

Do you believe that once we've left the egocentric and ethnocentric points of view behind and have gained the world and biocentric ground that there's still room for growth?


  1. Dear Susan-

    That's a beautiful drawing, and yes, I believe that, if we can move beyond our egocentric, ethnocentric, anthropocentric, prejudices, there may be unlimited possibilities for growth of the human consciousness and spirit.

    What I don't believe is that any species can, for long, overshoot the carrying capacity of a finite planet by overpopulating, outgrowing, and decimating the diversity of its living ecosystems.

    We overshot the carrying capacity of this planet decades ago and are living on borrowed time. Further growth in the numbers of the human species will only exacerbate our already dire predicament no matter what the corporatist technologists would like us to believe.

    It's impossible today to know for sure if we're even capable of sharing the earth in a biocentric way but I truly believe we, as a species, are capable of being so much more than we are now, although only in much smaller numbers.

  2. jim - I'm glad you came by to visit and your comment leaves much room for thought. Overpopulation is certainly a major problem facing us all but it's a huge subject and difficult to address with much clarity or brevity. According to various sources including wikipedia it's true that by 2000, there were ten times as many people on Earth as there were three hundred years ago. The rate of increase in general has slowed somewhat in the past few years but remains very high in Third World countries.

    When people have access to a decent standard of living the tendency is to have fewer children. War, starvation and disease are the least affective methods of population control. The UN has projected that when we reach 9.2 billion somewhere around mid-century that the wave will crest and the human population will drop naturally. I don't know how they determine those numbers and meanwhile a lot of people are in dire straights now, never mind our fellow creatures. We don't have to spend much time imagining a calamity of one kind or another that could tip us over the edge and toss what's left of humanity into a savage existence.

    I too believe we have the ability to reach much higher levels of consciousness but that's a long, hard path each must walk alone. I wish you well in your quest.

  3. I love the pic and I think you have pegged the "timeless" look just right.

    Yeah, this world is a big fat mess and we can owe most of that to men. I say put women in more over hunting species into extinction, no wars--all disputes can be handled with a shopping trip to the nearest shoe store and lunch afterward. Nothing calms the raw nerves better than a nice pair of Calvin Klein Sadi Sling Back Pump (in black, of course, to go with the little black dress).

    Just think of the possibilities. ;-)

  4. What an incredible image. Something about all of the circularity really speaks to me. growth... I am not a big believer in the growth word. My boyfriend( James Hillman) believed that the use of the word growth gets us locked into the child archetype. Hilly says:""Well, what can I do about the world? This thing's bigger than me." That's the child archetype talking. "All I can do is go into myself, work on my growth, my development, find good parenting, support groups." This is a disaster for our political world, for our democracy. Democracy depends on intensely active citizens, not children. The ideal of growth makes us feel stunted; the ideal family makes us feel crazy." I suppose I prefer the idea of that we become who we are rather than we grow....grow seems to imply, to me, that we can become something we aren't already. As Picasso said,"Picasso said, "I don't develop; I am." Sorry to be all quotey!;-)

    One of the things I like about the circle, over the straight line, is that it circles back onto itself. While the straight line is endless and limitless---yet it never comes back. There is something to be said for the circle's return on itself---even if that makes for a less infinite symbol( linearly speaking)

  5. Isn't that the plan? An ever-expanding Universe? I sure hope so.

    I learned about the Hundredth Monkey years ago, and totally believe in the concept - it's just too hard to explain, otherwise.

  6. nunly - Glad to see you back again and hopefully ready to rock. If your comment is anything to go by that seems to be the case. It's long past time for women to take over running the world while the men work on their aggression issues. Maybe if they developed enough that they truly see the benefit of the Paris spring collection we could let them offer a suggestion now and again :-)

    belette - You've pointed out the key problem in the post and that's the fact I focussed on the wrong word; I used 'growth' when what I meant was something more akin to spiritual evolution, maturation, advancement, or flowering. I've been reading Ken Wilber's 'A Brief History of Everything' in which among much else he describes his theory of the importance of developing the Left Hand dimensions which are depth related rather than the overly mechanistic views of the Right Hand paths that have dominated modern culture. Insisting on measuring everything without attempting to interpret or understand is proving to be disastrous but he doesn't suggest we should turn away from science but instead, that there needs to be more balance. He also describes the levels of human development, physical, cultural and spiritual in very clear terms that allow us to understand we have incredible potential for unfolding as beings. Picasso was right when he said, 'I don't develop; I am' but most people don't understand the 'I Am That'. It can't be taught; it must be lived through with no skipping rungs on the ladder.

    I'm delighted you like the drawing. I've mentioned before I'm a much better artist than writer :-)

    nancy - Overall I think that is the plan - that through us Spirit learns to see Itself but that doesn't mean we're off the hook as far as doing the best we can with the time we have as embodied beings. Mostly we're lucky if we can contemplate the fact we might be the 29th monkey.

  7. Mother Earth, but she is not timeless. Earth does end eventually. The laws of the universe and all that stuff. I just don't want to be there when it all ends and live through the horror of it, nor do I want to subject my grandchildren to that. But everyone is so selfish. Me too even though I try to live ethically. Our entire social structure is built upon oppression after oppression. So many humans do live a hell upon this Earth while others squander resources with no thought of the future.
    :) yes that's doom and gloom I know

  8. liberality - Yes, Earth herself will someday end but that's a long time off in human terms. Meanwhile, it's us who have the problems and not the planet in the long term. A different species may arise with a different idea of Goddess form.

  9. Timelessness is in the eyes of the beholder. It's as only you, the author, can imagine it. To some, it may be a youngster, to another, an older wiser looking figure. To me, if it's captured by what I see, then I'm okay with it. You did just fine as usual. I want you to draw my next tattoo design!
    Progress. Why? Why can't the corporation be satisfied with "We paid all the bills and paid the stockholders and we have three bucks left in thwe account"
    Why does everyone on the block need their own $99.00 lawn mower when it would be possible to purchase a top end mower and share it? (the cost being far less per household if they all pitched in)
    Oh, that's right, that's Communism. Oh well, what the heck. I like the concept, Socialism too for that matter.
    Or isn't that the kind of progress you were referring to? Well, that's what I thought of when I read your post. You do know that sometimes I just come for the drawings.


  10. spadoman - Yes, I agree there can be no single image of timelessness in human form that would be satisfactory to all.. not until we actually get to meet a true avatar anyway and in that case we still might see that being in different ways. Life is strange that way.

    I like the concept of Socialism too. I recall when we lived in a big house and needed two refrigerators but hardly a television at all but corporations don't condone that kind of altruistic behavior because it's bad for profits.

    I'm glad you like the drawings and I'm always happy when there's anew one to show.

  11. another of your elegant ladies. can't wait to see her in color. love the image of her holding the roundness of the earth against her tummy.... she looks fertile and protective at the same time. and, yes, timeless. i hope there ARE a hundred monkeys. sometimes lately i despair for the message..... but maybe i'm just weary.

  12. ..... and would you look at that.....? there's Halifax..... right ..... THERE!

  13. I believe there is always room for growth, and that the planet has a capacity to forgive our greed and stupidity that brings me to grateful tears. I think of sea otters (at one time believed extinct), or the sturgeon returning to the Hudson River (which was so polluted during my childhood that no one but the poorest and least educatedated ate the fish from it).

    I love your ageless woman, who seems to be not only about growth, but also, to me, about hope. But I guess "potential" lies between hope and growth, linking the two, and that might be why she seems to embody both when I look at her pose, her face, and what she is holding... It's a lovely drawing, needing nothing more - but I'd love to see the painting it would become, as well.

  14. I keep coming back here. I want to see if you've put up another post, but I also need to look into the eyes of this woman holding the earth. I have fallen in love with her. She is so beautiful and doesn't mind me staring at her one bit. I'd never get away with gawking at her in the coffee shop or on the bus.
    Just sayin'


  15. Hi Susan
    A lovely image of growth to await the application of your usual vibrant colours combined with a thought provoking post about which I hope I can provide some food for thought. My basic premise rests on the fact that because of the multitude of differing philopshical / religious/ wisdom streams and ideology collectively we will always remain hostage to that diversity’.
    That is not necessarily a bad thing either requiring us more often than not to exercise a quid pro co in respect each other’s views and cultures in a compassionate manner.

    Our growing discernment however in my view means we are now seeing more shades of grey than pure black and white which I think is indicative of less arrogance. That means you realise you can’t take things on face values and that means some of the more intractable issues are now getting a much more sensible hearing.

    For all philosophies/ wisdom streams suffer from the same fate of having easily identifiable weaknesses once you start examining the myriad of individual circumstances.

    So in my view there is no escaping the quidessaential diversity representative of humanity to be always growing one way or another and I see signs to more positive than pessimistic.

    Best wishes

  16. gfid - Sometimes lately I feel like we've all been thrust into world citizenship very fast it's no wonder there are times when we grow weary knowing there are so many hands to hold. I'm confident we're developing our larger natures :-)

    Yes, Halifax!

    steve - It seems all we can do is strive to improve our ability to embrace the world. That's all I was really trying to say with this drawing. Your words are always most uplifting and I'm grateful for your friendship.

    spadoman - I admit I've been remiss in my blogging just lately but I hope to be back soon. Finalizing all our paperwork for moving to Canada took precedence this past week or more. I'm so glad you like her as much as that and, no, I'm sure she doesn't mind at all :-)

    lindsay - I have a feeling there'll be more time (much more time) for drawing and painting soon and that's a very good thing. Diversity is also a very good thing and it's a natural part of human culture that is better served by mutual respect and interest than fear and loathing of the 'other'. Growing up happens quickly; maturing takes time.

    Best wishes.

  17. there is always room for growth. i posit that if one attempts to avoids growing, growth still happens.
    life taps you on the shoulder and forces change on you whether you like change or not.
    there will always be that 100th monkey.

    i love your drawing. i am reminded of the goddess mother. or perhaps of mother earth as liberality observes. the eyes are perhaps not so much 'ageless' as 'of all ages.'

  18. What a fantastic blog you have! And your stories and drawings are beautiful. Thank you for finding me.

  19. sera - One of my favorite comments by PapaJi was that it's impossible to build your house in the terminal - a place that's meant for traveling through. It's a place meant instead for observing and learning.

    I liked this drawing too but I'm likely to try a few more before slowing down to paint a version of her. I like your 'of all ages' description.

    butternut - Thank you too :-) I'll pop in a link so we can meet again.

  20. Uff! On my fifth - or is it the sixth? :) - returning to this post, still not know where to start and, due to the complex matter, where to end, here, at least, my plain answer to your question, Susan:

    Twice a 'Yes!', though to your painting and your words.
    Thank you. I shall keep pondering ...

  21. sean - I tend to fantasize that there's something in us as 'incredibly lucky to be' human beings that might lead us out of the morass of greed and psychopathology that will surely kill most of us and a large part of the natural world. Practically speaking, I agree with you. It seems unlikely to me that our species as a whole will evolve into a mature culture.

    Glad you like the drawing. Sometimes it's the only way I can express how I feel and there is still much pondering left to do.