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Dec 30, 2012

Surviving Past the End of the World

"Core of the Earth", oil by Tim Holmes

As the year closes I wonder if the Mayans are right after all. Maybe this is really it for humanity.

We don't know much about the future but there's one thing we know for sure to be absolutely true: if a population cannot live within its environmental constraints it will die out. Human beings are lovely and all but we're in no way excepted from the laws of nature. The human race today displays about as much collective responsibility and concerned for the future as a typical teenager. That teen, having grown rich and powerful, is now capable of manipulating his environment to feed his every immediate desire. But as much as he's matured in social tolerance in recent decades, the proportion of immediate to long-term vision seems little budged in millennia. He remains incapable of making wise choices to assure his own survival.

There are no two ways about it: he will only survive if he can live within the means provided. If not he will die. At this point he is running out of resources and if he doesn't turn his effort to reducing his consumption to fit within the natural limits, the only choice he'll have left is between a slow or a fast death. This is the tragic cost of his beloved free will.

Humanity doesn't seem to have the will toward maturing wisdom like we do to maturing technology. We'd rather develop new toys than clean up our mess. So how can we possibly survive our own selfishness? The only humanity that will survive is one that manages to grow to moral adulthood. There are plenty of wise individuals among us but the treasure of their reasonable lifestyles can be wiped out by a very few idiots. Human survival depends on cooperation, involving something most of us cringe at: embracing painful restrictions on individual behavior to assure that our progeny will survive.
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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.