#openartlife is the basis of everything I am trying to be, do, and teach. It is the culmination AND beginning of my life’s work, and the summation of everything I spent my college years trying to learn. It ultimately can be summed up by this:
- What is this handbasket, and where are we going so fast?
- How did we get here?
- How can we increase the chances of an optimal outcome (I.e. minimize suffering and achieve “goodness” for the largest number of things (not just people, or beings, or plants or whatever–but for All)?
In college I learned about and came up with numerous “band-aid” fixes, but few holistic “cures”…until I flipped the view-point around. It was no good to me to find a solution that only worked for some. There could be no moral choice over who or what was lifted, a good solution would be a solution for All.
When I was younger I focused on “saving the world” that is, an externally focused top-down solution. It was only when I realized that the way inside was also the way out that I found a holistic answer.
I had been studying Modern Social Movements and social change in an effort to solve modern social problems on a global level by creating paradigmatic shift. I had already “proved” that total paradigmatic shift would be necessary to the level of change required. When working on something like this, eventually you come against the problem of getting enough “masses” to agree AND to move in a cohesive way without extreme social dislocation and suffering (harm). The biggest problem being that change, even “good” change, creates cognitive dissonance which creates more problems and suffering. In my estimation at the time, social change on a mass level would not be able to move fast enough to head off the coming crisis without causing a crisis itself. Social collapse seemed inevitable. This violates the first condition of the desired solution–that it must be a solution for all. No matter how I worked it, many many people were going to suffer, and many would die. Suffering and death cannot be eradicated, of course, they are a part of life and corporal existence. In fact, I do not necessarily believe they should be avoided. Still, it is my life’s work to create help and mitigate or alleviate harm, so that goal is still there. The answer that eventually came to me was deceptively simple: Go inward and appeal to the individual. A bottom-up approach that brought the power back into the hands of not the people, but to collectives of individuals. This goes back to the ideas of Kant, Plato, Descartes, and pretty much all of existentialism.
To enact social change on a system-wide level, rather than top-down systematic change, we need the individual to create change from within themselves which emanates to the rest of society from the lowest levels to the top. An individual accepts the change within their own “heart” by dreaming a new way of being into existence and using their Word to encourage others to do the same. Each individual, using their own talents and strengths (and yes, even their weaknesses, too,) to increase the side of the ledger of “good” (which I personally define as help and not harm) and to decrease the side of the ledger of “bad” (which I define as harm.) Collectively and individually, we dream this new way into being and go out into the world leading by example. This was the solution that came to me.
The biggest problem with creating top-down social change is in getting the masses to take cohesive action. Obviously, I cannot expect others to change if I do not embody the values which I espouse. The best thing to do is to show that living “right life” IS, in fact, possible, though no of us will ever be perfect at it (and show that this too IS ok.) The hope is that others will be encouraged to do their best at doing the same. To create change I need others to see me actively pulling in that direction and to hope they will start pulling, too.
Open Art started out of this thought process:
- As a way to live my ideals every day
- A way to “walk the walk,” of pulling in the right direction
- Be an example to show others that another way is possible.
- Educate on how I do it, but also encourage others to find their own unique version of it.
- Use my talents and interests productively
- Live my bliss and help others to do the same
- “We rise by lifting others.”
In the gathering stage of Open Art, I have been after the question of “How do I live my life and accomplish my goal of helping the world?” After coming up with the above, all of the abstract philosophy began to add up to something.
All of this nuttering about just to say: all of the confusion and anxiety I’m going through at this middle stage are totally normal and I just need to double check my parameters and keep going.
TRUST THE INTUITION!!!