Thursday, August 11, 2005


Hieronymus Bosch

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Forty years ago, when visiting a doctor who loved to paint, I found a book that was all Hieronymus Bosch's paintings. I fell instantly in love. He is my Master.

From Baynews 9:f
Dying sea turtle
It's not clear why the various kinds of sea turtles are washing ashore.

"It may or may not be associated with red tide," said Cianciolo. "They tend to show symptoms of what's called a red tide intoxication, but you have to take a lot of samples and they must go through testing to actually determine that."

Dive instructor Michael Miller took underwater video to try to figure out the mystery.

"Right now, anywhere we go from shore to 20 miles offshore, from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs, we can't find a single creature alive on the bottom right now," said Miller.

Miller says he's never seen such death and devastation under water in his 20 years of diving.

"All the coral, all the sponges, all the crabs, not a single living thing, all the star fish, the brittle stars, everything's dead," said Miller.
This is no mystery. We all know why all things are dying, why the dead zones grow larger and larger, alarmingly so. We know perfectly well who caused all this and why. There is no need for more studies. There is a need for change.

I sometimes dream of flying turtles, stretching their pinions, taking to the heavens.

The need to possess is leading us to greater and greater extremes. Much of what we manufacture is useless or harmful. We fill our empty hearts with junk within our homes. Our homes get bigger and bigger and there is less and less room, the overflow of things overwhelming us on every level.

Clutching at objects, we kill our own planet.

The culture of clutter is, like it did at the dawn of the industrial age, is once again being celebrated and extended. Like in this disturbing and unfortunate piece.From the NYT:
Ilse Crawford's new book, "Home Is Where the Heart Is," published by Rizzoli in April, with photography by Martyn Thompson, is full of interiors that at first glance seem almost messy but, of course, look fantastic because they have been designed by a master stylist.

Ms. Crawford comes to clutter with impeccable modernist credentials: she is a former editor of the British magazine Elle Decoration and her firm, Studioilse, based in London, designed, among other things, Soho House, the members-only club in Manhattan's meatpacking district.

In her introduction she rails against the Bauhausian system and embraces the psychology of Abraham Maslow, whose theory of self-actualization became a staple of hot tub conversation in the 1970's. The home should be, in Ms. Crawford's view, "a canvas for self-expression," where we can "come out as ourselves."

Studioilse's motto is "modern and emotional design." In one bedroom photograph a wall is covered with a collage of photos that could have come from National Geographic: giraffes bounding across a savannah, a primitive mask, an atomic-bomb explosion.

The book is filled with such celebrations of random self-actualization. The gap-toothed bookshelves in Ms. Crawford's home intersperse unevenly stacked hardcovers and paperbacks with old photographs, postcards and knickknacks. One spread is an overhead shot of a family crashed out in domestic squalor: a balding dad playing a video game, little boys in Batman get-ups, an emptied bag of chips, Monopoly money everywhere. But all done in what Ms. Crawford calls "a combination of laissez-faire and supreme control, a mix of the relaxed and the precise."
Esthetics reflect society. Giving up on any and all forms of self control, people are now on a literal binge: consuming oil as fast as possible, eating until they burst, extreme sports, wild, ruthless living that kills everything in its path. We have decided to make this whole thing become one great big Götterdämmerung that will probably end with a nuclear war.

This unfortunate choice is just that: a choice. My experience with small children is, they can't let go of things, even string or torn paper, odds and ends, when sweeping the floor, they wail as they try to keep everything just where it had fallen. It seems to me that the esthetics of the Shakers is nearly drowned out by now. As people celebrate filling the world with human junk, one can only wonder.

Every crack in the sidewalk, nature sows her seeds and they try to grow, everywhere, life tries to wrest back Her rule. This Life and Death struggle has to be won by life.

Or we lose. Don't we?

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