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Nov 30, 2016

Distraction from a Deeper Crisis

We are entering a new era in the human story. It is a deep trend, one that is hard to pull up into consciousness, but will still increasingly affect our lives. The sooner we learn to recognize and grapple with it, the better our chances will be. And if we learn well, we'll open up new possibilities beyond our fondest dreams!

The election is alarming for some, gratifying for others. But all must recognize that this is a new era. Our new leader will always be able to dog-whistle us into separate camps, but let's not be distracted from the underlying change in our psyche that this represents: we have entered the era of anti-responsibility, and this reality will rule every bit of our future!

Imagine for a moment that you live in a representative democracy, where each person actually gets one vote equal to every other, regardless of age or circumstance. Government reflects the will of the people and life is at least egalitarian if not Utopian. Now let's say that there is a population explosion, pushing the average age into the teens. You would expect more laws like relaxing regulations on sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now let's say this causes another population explosion and the average age further decreases. Soon early bedtime, vegetables and school attendance are made optional. You see where I'm headed. If this becomes your legal reality, how does an adult––one who understands the wisdom of responsibility––respond?

Obviously, there are consequences to refusing responsibility. A kid can get away with it because the adults are in charge of the kid's interface with the real world, slowly giving the kid more freedoms as she takes more responsibility, thus proving she's increasingly capable of staying alive.  But when kids rule, we get Lord of the Flies. When the concept of responsibility is dethroned, some of us––and eventually none of us––really have to grapple with the inconveniences of reality. If you are poor you can always find some con man who will sign you up for a credit card. Without a sense of responsibility you never really have to pay, you just keep mortgaging the future, which buys a little time, but brings the deadline closer and closer.

Faced with some very serious problems, we have collectively and officially decided to sidestep responsibility and take the easy way out. This leads from carelessly popping bonbons while watching our credit score plummet, to fixing the date of our future extinction by plastering over that date a picture of bliss. If the bill ever comes due (it will, but for now let's just eat, drink and be merry!), there is always the fun way out: a drug overdose. Why not? Why do we ever have to pay the piper when there is an easier way out? This is the psyche of a child. And we have accepted it. This now is our future.

The choice is stark: do we become the adults (the bad cop) and try to call our fellows to responsibility? Or do we simply throw up our hands a join the party? As each person jumps ship, the load becomes heavier for those who remain. At some point the burden of responsibility (acknowledgment of our being in relationship) simply becomes too great and the last few adults collapse under the pressure. Then it's a free-for-all over the cliff of extinction.

I truly believe this is where we are. We have a small window of opportunity to call the human family to full responsibility. but we can only do that by calling every attempt to postpone payment for what it is: a threat to us all. We have to acknowledge that we are always in relationship––with each other, our peers, other nations, nature and reality. There is no alternative. We must protect the environment, human rights, democracy, fiscal and moral responsibility and we haven't a moment to lose. The alternative is psychosis. Death will be easy, and in fact fun! Survival will be beautiful and meaningful, and the doorway to a wide open future, but it will be very hard work for everyone. This is our choice.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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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.