Stories

May 10, 2021 - Reduce The World’s Net Suffering

Question to, and answer from, Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files …

My Question is about how you perceive the utility of suffering.  What is the value of suffering to us as individuals, and to us as a species as we go through our life carrying suffering around, like some mind-numbing, soul crushing weight?  (Peter, Hanover, Canada)

 

Art by ANDREA ORTUÑO

Dear Peter,

What do we do with suffering? As far as I can see, we have two choices—we either transform our suffering into something else, or we hold on to it, and eventually pass it on.

In order to transform our pain, we must acknowledge that all people suffer. By understanding that suffering is the universal unifying force, we can see people more compassionately, and this goes some way toward helping us forgive the world and ourselves. By acting compassionately we reduce the world’s net suffering, and defiantly rehabilitate the world. It is an alchemical act that transforms pain into beauty. This is good. This is beautiful.

To not transform our suffering and instead transmit our pain to others, in the form of abuse, torture, hatred, misanthropy, cynicism, blaming and victimhood, compounds the world’s suffering. Most sin is simply one person’s suffering passed on to another. This is not good. This is not beautiful.

The utility of suffering, then, is the opportunity it affords us to become better human beings. It is the engine of our redemption.

Love, Nick

April 26, 2021 - Hold Strong

 

 

Miiesha (Pronounced My-ee-sha) is from the small Aboriginal community of Woorabinda in Central Queensland comes a 21 year old with a voice ready to be heard.   A strong, Anangu/Torres Strait Islander woman, Miiesha has been singing for her family and her community since the age of 8, and has since been developing her songwriting as a teenager.

 

 

Miiesha’s music seeks to bring people together to help educate and inspire.  She sings of her people and her community with the words of a leader and a teacher.  Her late Grandmother’s interludes provide a thread between the tracks, highlighting the passing down of knowledge from Elders through the generations.

April 20, 2021 - Buy Into It – Or Not

 

Repost from 2014.  Before social media added to the erosion of self…

 

buy into it or not

 

Image by Banksy.  Text below by Kalle Lasn, Founder of Adbusters Media Foundation.  Source:  ‘The Gruen Transfer’ book.

 

“Rather than child proofing the world, we need to world proof our children” *

 

“There’s anything between 1000 and 3000 marketing messages entering the average brain every day.  I believe our brains are simply not capable of absorbing that level of advertising.  One of the reasons advertising causes mental illness is because of the weight of that onslaught, the sheer number of hits to the brain.

And then, on a secondary level, many ads are psychologically abusive.  Many ads amount to emotional blackmail.  Ads point out flaws in your personality, in your body, in the way you dress, the way you live, and then once they have made you feel inadequate, they say, ‘Okay, we have the solution to your problem.  Buy this.’  If this happens consistently, it erodes your self-confidence and turns you into an anxious human being.

 

 

….20 years ago, the early environmental movement was talking about toxins in the air and food and water.  There was a feeling that a lot of people were getting sick because of those toxins.  We had a feeling that there is a mental environment, which also has toxins in it.  And those toxins are among the many causes of the epidemic of mental illness that we are in, with exponentially rising mood disorders, anxiety attacks and depression.  We had a feeling that the toxicity of the mental environment could be traced, among other things, to advertising.”

*Todd Sampson panelist on Gruen Transfer , statement referring to kids exposure to sexualised bill board images and mass media.

 

April 15, 2021 - Feel Things Changing

 

 

April 12, 2021 - All That’s Good In Me

 

 

Vincent Fantuazzo talks about Dyslexia.*

‘All that’s good in me (self-portrait as son Luca)’.  Original in colour.

 

 

 

Kicked out of school at 13, Vincent is still barely able to read or write.  After 20 years of isolation Vincent was diagnosed with dyslexia.  “I can’t tell you the months of the year in order or the alphabet.  I’ve tried to learn the times tables all of my life.  I’ve accepted that it’s not going to happen and that’s OK.  I can use a calculator and I’m getting along quite fine.”

“I was relieved that finally I knew I wasn’t stupid, there was just a processing problem in my brain which I could work with.”

 

* Article by Sue Smethurst in Weekend Australian Magazine (March 23-24, 2019)

Video from ABC’s Australian Story.

 

March 11, 2021 - Once Upon A Dark Time

 

Army of Ink Once upon a time

Once Upon A Dark Time …

…in a land of smiles, bad things happened.  Children were broken into.  Nothing said.  Nothing done.  And so the innocent grew, not up, but small.  But this was not to be the end.  In the darkness little helpers gathered spilling rich black into soft white sheets.  Tailoring picture books to fill empty spaces.  Telling truth that grew much taller than a world too big to fit.  Until size no longer mattered and little souls were reawakened by the rhythms and rhymes of songs that carried them all the way home – ensuring they’d never be beaten again.

Footnote:  This story (from 2014) reflects The Black Dog Project’s focus on the safety, well being and rights of children and young people – and the idea of making books and gifting them to young people in the community through  sponsorship.  Find in Clunk & Jam 2019 book.  Original story in handmade book, ‘Rock The Boat’, 2009.  Handwriting by Maggie).