13 Sep 2014

WALKING ON TWO FEET: THOUGHTS ON A CRUELTY-FREE FUTURE


Today's post is not specifically about food. It is more generally about life.

At the beginning of summer (4 months ago) I walked around my university campus with camera in tow. I thought it was time to photographically capture the beautiful, minimalist shapes and colours of the area. A lot of students say that our campus is dreary and depressing; but I think it's inspiring and the perfect blank canvas for academic and personal creativity. I couldn't have designed it more elegantly myself. The architect was fellow Canadian Arthur Erickson, a favourite of mine. In all his projects it seems to me that he saw the intricate design lines in nature and recreated them as simply as possible, constructing humble yet mesmerizing functional forms where you, your work, and nature were the real focus. I could talk about his architecture forever though. Moving on.




I adore the aesthetic contrasts on my campus. The buildings are cold, concrete, grey, geometrical slabs with large glass windows showing themselves every now and them. But all that greyness lives so well in harmony with all the green! Moss abounds, blossoming trees grow out of seemingly dead cement blocks, and the campus itself is on the top of a mountain, thus surrounded by forests, rivers, and other mountains. The bleak buildings are the frame of vibrant life! This is why I love minimalist design, it provides a surface for you to evolve. I want the spaces I inhabit to be as simple and functional as possible; they don't need to be fancy or try to mimic nature. Nothing human-made can successfully mimic real flowers, fruit, forests or anything else one finds in the wilderness. This is also why I don't usually wear bright colours; I leave it to nature to show us how to do that.

I also love how life is able to spring up from anywhere and everywhere. I smile when I see weeds sprouting up from the cracks in sidewalks, and when I spot trees growing out of rock faces. It's the perseverance of plants that so often inspires me. And on that same train of thought I wonder why we have consistently tried so hard to crush all these rebellious seeds. I hope one day the human species will realize working WITH wilderness is incomparably more productive than working against it. We are not separate from nature; we ARE nature. It's all connected. We are all one. I am not even speaking from a personal perspective; it's fact! Our entire planet and all that came from it (including us) previously was derived from other stars that had died out and exploded into the 13.8 billion year old universe we breathe in. There is no such reality as humans vs. nature because it's all simply nature. Perhaps if we learn to see ourselves as a component of this global ecosystem instead of the dominators of it, we can finally look at one another and see each other as brothers and sisters instead of enemies. We can celebrate differences instead of fighting them. We can nurture environmental, personal and mental health instead of destroying and drugging it.

Basically put: when we realize we're all one, we can finally grow up. Humans are wonderfully unique in how intellectually evolved our brains are, and yet at this point most of the net cranial energy seems to be directed at short term money making and social control. Of course it's needless to say that there are millions of people working hard to create the world I have been describing, but they are all in minority groups. I firmly believe - and must believe - that in a sense we are still in the Dark Ages of human development; we are in our species' infancy. I'd like to think that one day in the future, children in school will study our time and be shocked by the irrationality of so much we consider normal; war, poverty, lifestyle diseases, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, religious oppression, government and corporate corruption, imperialism, and more. Call me a naive vegan hippie (although I'd rather you didn't) but my logic is: we're headed for Utopia or bust. An unhappy and unhealthy global population cannot be sustained. It's that simple. It will take a long time and seemingly endless struggle for the rights of ALL OF US to finally be weighted equally, but we will get there as long as we don't kill the planet before that point (unfortunately that is a very high possibility). I understand that it's human nature to be selfish and greedy, but there are definitely ways those traits can be utilized in positive avenues. Instead of Walmart being rich from slave labour and GMO's, it can easily be just as wealthy from locally made clothing lines and organic plant-based foods. If you think that sounds unrealistic, take a step back 100 years ago to when - in colonial European culture - people with darker skin were believed to be biologically inferior to their lighter skinned counterparts. Of course a huge percentage of the world is still dealing with intense racism on a daily basis. I am not saying by any means ethnic prejudice is a thing of the past. I am merely saying that our moral evolution does seem to be going in the right direction, albeit slowly. My point is: things change. Things improve. The powers that be don't let revolution happen easily but when the public wants something bad enough, they will get it.

My partner has fallen asleep because I told him to leave me alone while I finished writing this, so it's time for me to clock out and dive into bed for a good spooning session. Just know that I don't mean to offend with these words. These are my opinions that have been developed because of my own experiences in life. I hope you can find inspiration in my thoughts, and imagine the possibility of a future where human life is seen as part of - and equal to - all life.

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