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Quotes and Musings

May 9th, 2013

On goodness in human beings, here is an interesting and moving quote from John Steinbeck's classic novella 'Of Mice and Men' :
"Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella."

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Mahatma Gandhi

There is a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.
Mahatma Gandhi

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
Mahatma Gandhi

Where love is, there God is also.
Mahatma Gandhi

[source of Gandhi quotes:]

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.
—Quran 6:38

In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, the One Above, did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast, and that from them, and from the stars and the sun and moon should man learn.. all things tell of Tirawa.

- Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa) Pawnee

[For the previous quote alone I would choose the religions of the First Peoples of North America over the Christian, Muslim or Jew. The Abrahamic religions are ambiguous about animals allowing people of ill intent to practise cruelty and disrespect to animals and justify it in the name of their religion. ]

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.”
Edward O. Wilson

I think of my artwork as part of a conversation with other people, real or imagined, that includes images, words, ideas and information. In other words, a sort of holistic view of the purpose of the image. I use a lot of words, too, and where they are attached to an image they are not an unimportant component of it. They say an image is worth a thousand words but I say you may need a thousand words to help understand an image. I offer my own in many cases, but in a spiritual sense I do not believe they belong to me; once you have taken an image or the words into your heart, spiritually (though not legally) they belong to you. I am an atheist who like Sylvia Plath, prays to God, hoping to be proved wrong. As such, I sit uncomfortably exposed between the faithful and the committed faithless.

I like landscapes, spiritual or mystical themes,wilderness, remote, 'lost' places. I favour "the wilderness" and nature over the man-made landscape - in a long tradition of "primitivism" going back to ancient times in many cultures. This seems specially relevant today when seven billion humans are crushing the wild places and their inhabitants out of existence - the final stages of a process that has been going on for ten thousand years.

Animals are very important to me and believe that they should have the status of Sentient Beings along with humans and we should respect their rights as we respect our own. Because we in fact have control over the environment, we have a duty to nurture, protect and defend animals, not exploit them. This gives me lots of problems with belief systems that put humanity ahead of all other beings, and even denies them souls, such as Christianity, which, sharing the Judaic tradition in the Pentateuch, appears to treat animals as mere products for human consumption. Some oriental belief systems and ancient European paganism help much more with this issue, it seems to me. The Christian "dominion" over animals I believe, allied to modern science and technology, has carried over into contemporary secular civilisation, including such atrocities as vivisection for medical or product research and factory farming. The West, in this respect, has something to learn from India and the nature spirit religions in many parts of the world of peoples crushed and annihilated by the Western tsunami wave of the last half millennium, even while, ironically, India and other places are busy imitating western growth models and consumer culture. As for the Orient, here we enter a zone in which the concept of compassion for animals perhaps does not exist despite so many incredibly sophisticated cultural manifestations. It is as though the light of compassion for sentient beings and an understanding of man's place in a wider natural scheme has burned in only certain parts of the world and is completely out of synch with any formula of human cultural advancement. The nations that built great cities and empires were often crueller than peoples who did not read or write, and communed with nature spirits by the light of shamanic fires in the frozen northlands or in the dark heart of equatorial forests.

I believe that the function of art today is above all to be a witness to what is happening and to express a feeling or opinion about it. That isn't an invitation to glorified journalism : it is a search for truth and an insistence on expressing it whether it proves to be popular or not. Obviously this is an old idea but it's worth digging up again because I think a lot of art since pop art days has become subsumed in the ubiquitous entertainment culture. This doesn't mean that art shouldn't be fun, but I think it should always have a serious purpose if it is to be more than entertainment. . Anything can be art - if it moves you. If it merely entertains, diverts, annoys, irritates .. it's not art but ornament or statement or just diversion. All socially good things in their own way - but not art. There: I've said it. I have an exclusive, highly specific view of art - and I believe it helps. I realise that my view of art, my desire to part of a process to bring seriousness back into the centre-stage, may be seen as anachronistic or even, by some people, reactionary. That's fine; all art is opinion. However, I believe that modern civilisation has buried certain important things under its vision of life as a fundamentally mechanistic and materialist process. Purpose, meaning, connectedness - all has been lost, leaving a hole in the heart that cannot be mended without a spiritual transformation in which a more serious type of art than generally prevails today has a role to play.

I have always believed that art is one of the few things in life that is genuinely redemptive - misery, frustration and disappointment in life can diminish but not entirely extinguish the sense of achievement and creativity that comes from finishing an art job well - and being told you did. I am not self-contained enough to be content with just liking my own work and to hell with everybody else. I need people to tell me that they like it too and when this happens I feel very happy and grateful.


April 29th, 2013

My friend Joe McIvor of East Kilbride, Scotland, is a photographer with quick reflexes and great anticipation. Here are a couple of his shots :

Try this link :

and this one :

Mimi, our cat (or rather Mimi, who owns two slaves called Jane and Arjun), is the most beautiful cat in Campo Mijas, South Spain. How do I know this? Because she says she is! How do I know that? Yes, I'm not stupid, I know she doesn't talk, but it's just in the way she looks.

As for other cats, Joe took one of the most magnificent photos of a cat with a fish in its jaws, trotting off triumphantly with his catch, that I have ever seen, He proves once again that with camera in hand he really is man of the moment...

Hi Anita ; the best way to answer your comment is to put it in here as the system won't register a comment as long the section below :

Hi Anita, - Sorry to be late replying, I keep forgetting to look at the Blog and the Acvity page doesn\'t remind me that someone may have posted on it so I need to go into it independently...

We found Mimi one boiling June in 2003. My wife and I were looking for a place to buy and try and settle down, and this estate agent was taking us around. We were at a small railway station in a place called Torreblanca, where the estate agent parked up and we were about to go off and look at an apartment nearby. Suddenly he says, \"Look what I found!\" He swiftly stoops down into a duty hedge and brings out a small grey scrap, smaller than the palm of his hand. Holding it up in his fist, we see a tiny kitten, paws sticking out in four directions, ears perked and enormous eyes goggling in a tiny face. It made no sound.

We were horrified. We had never had an animal and were living out of cheap, rented flats. Our condition could not at this point be described as settled. The last thing we were ready for is adopting an animal.

We asked around. The guy at the drinks kiosk scratched his belly and looked bored. It was a sleepy Sunday. The little railway station was nearly deserted. Flies buzzed.

\"No hay madre, ni dueño,\" He said. \"\'¡Va a morir por hambre y sed, seguro!\" He grinned. I could tell he knew the silly, sentimental foreigners were going to take it on. The question was, which one. He sat back in his wicker chair, meaty forearms folded across his paunch, happily watching the little diversion. His gangling teenage son sat sucking a coke bottle, hollow-cheeked and sardonic. If Sancho Panza had a son, he\'d\'ve looked just like him.

Peter said \"I can\'t take this one; my wife is allergic to cats!\" He coughed nervously. Right, I thought. They all say that! You found him, mate!

My wife and I looked at each other. What shoujd we do?

The life of a kitten hung in the perspiration of the afternoon sun, as it trickled down our necks. One more cat, I thought, destined by fate for the worms. Nature is pitiless. God turns his back yet again on a defenceless and innocent creature. Each one of us, the Books say, is worthy, however humble. What about this one then?

It was a foregone conclusion, really. With the trepidation of prisoners mounting the guillotine, we took the little scrap out of Peter\'s hands, No clue whatsoever as to how to care for it. Not a clue. I drove home in silence. Jane held the little one. it sat in her palm and sucked desperately on the end of her finger. That night, Mimi, trembling, crawled under her hair and slept like that.

We took it to the vet next day. Jane called her Mimi after a favourite cat she knew in France who used to sit on her shoulder as she cooked. He estimated that Mimi was under four weeks old when we found her. How long would she have survived if we or someone else handn\'t got her that day? He shrugged. Maybe twelve hours, he said. Maybe twenty four. In this heat? Not more than that.

Mimi is now eight years old and runs our entire lives, whether we like it or not.

A Series of Broken Lines

April 29th, 2013

A Series of Broken Lines

Poems. I used to write a lot. Not so much now. Still, now and then, the urge seizes me and I put something down. Hope you enjoy reading. Try this link - copy and paste into your browser address bar :

Or here's the unformatted texts of the poems :

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mrs Alzheimer
She calls me in the cold dark morning
From five thousand miles away
I hear the mobile chirrup and my heart
Knots with the familiar slight dread
I hear her voice harsh as a crow's foot
Scraping a dead branch in winter snow
'Get me out of here!' she cries
'Get me out now or I will be dead soon!
They have kidnapped me!'
I can see her rolling eyes
And her mouth twisted in an old face
But I cannot help; the time is long gone.
Posted by cerronevado at 3:50 AM 2 comments:
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Sparrow

So strong are we to fly in fighter planes

A hundred miles above the fleecy clouds

The world below is surely lost to sight

We turn the metal engine of our might

And bank into the sun at dizzy speed

Above us all is blank and heavenly blue

Victorious, soaring, man exults anew

With each sortie through the airy deep

Yet cannot we launch blithely from the ground

With wingèd arms outstretched above the grass

And veer across the gilded meadow green

A hundred feet above the crumbly ground

As does a dappled sparrow in the hedge

This I dreamed when I was just a child

And this is still my futile dream today

To be as like a sparrow on the wing

To be released from all of our invention

Simply fly as does the little bird

And seek a worm upon the sunlit ground

Arjun L. Sen
Posted by cerronevado at 12:05 PM No comments:
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Friday, February 24, 2012

The Librarian
I borrowed The Great Gatsby
From my own Library
Where I work
Knowing that I won't read more
Than a few pages at night
Before I sleep exhausted

Why did I borrow this book?
Perhaps for its cover showing
A photograph in sepia of lovers
In untroubled bliss
Or so it seems
And so it may as well seem
As I somehow know
It will not get read
So long as my eye watches the clock
Tick away the hours of
My exhausted heart
While I work my life away
At my desk
Posted by cerronevado at 5:20 AM 4 comments:
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If Only
I look out of the window and think
If only
And yet the mountain is indomitably
The sky as blue and bright
As a child's painting
Now is all we have
Then why am I sad?


June 2nd, 2012


Try this link to my Blogger site, copy and paste the following URL to your address bar on your browser and hit return :

I often have contentious discussions with other people. Particularly heated with atheists. I'm one of those who think, along with Voltaire, that if God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. I admire the strength of those who have faith. I haven't. I lost it a good while back. I'd like to be like Voltaire who, Wikipedia says, said ""What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason." Nietzsche, while pretty crazy in some ways, is understood to have said in "Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft", that having killed God we don't know the damage we have done because we haven't got the capacity to take his place, or something along those lines. Wikipedia quotes thus : "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

Yes, I mourn it too. We could never be gods, let alone God. We are but demi-gods, or 'top predators' in scientific language. This gives us the power to shed the blood of other beings of lesser power than ourselves, whether man or animal, out of cruelty, indifference, anger or lust for power. All the blood that is spilt, all the suffering, all the potential for life and living lost or destroyed....the daily ruin....without God there is no resolution of it all. So many modern secularists simply fail to understand this loss. They complain that concern with God is a weak surrender to a higher authority for which a healthy modern spirit should have no need. It strikes me as stupefying that these people - as Nietzschke himself would have observed- fail to see how inadequate we are to fill the hole left by the elimination of the Great Resolver. Look at History. Look around.

How better than to quote Shelley's 1818 poem on the folly of human hubris :

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."