Devouring the Earth

The artwork of Goya during his Dark Period is particularly moving, to me as he made severe and harsh judgments about his environment, political statement,s and eventually painted his madness for his own personal viewing. That said Saturn Devouring One of His Children is a painting that I come back to time and time again. Partially out of pure morbid curiosity, but also because the painting reminded me of something.

I couldn't quite put my finger on it, until recently.

It's the act of devouring something that belongs to you, you have authority over, and yet there is a madness involved here. A true wild eyed beasty obliterating life in front of your eyes. SO what, pray tell, could this possibly remind me of?


That's right, I said humans. Mankind. Societies and cultures. Particularly rich countries, like America. It was brought up somewhere, at some point, that unlike all other living things on the earth, human beings do not adapt to their environment anymore, we force the environment to adapt to us. We have been told, by someone, that our job is to consume. Consume food, products, energy, natural resources.

Often times you hear a person use the bible to defend the right to factory farming, animal testing, and consumption of natural resources be stating that "We were given dominion over the land and animals". Hmm, I don't think that is what the Judeo-Christian God had in mind, folks.

In any case, we humans, particularly Americans, consume everything in our path. And we seem to feel we are entitled to it, too.

Well let's just drill, drill away for more oil! Let's cut down more forests and continuously develop the landscape so we can crawl across it like cockroaches across a kitchen floor, scouring for food!

What have we become? Do you have any idea how much we waste? And for what purpose? Convenience? Is it so hard to wash a dish that you have to use paper plates? Is it really that tough to use a cloth napkin? Do we really need to buy products that are designed to be tossed in the trash after a few uses?

I mean, from a business perspective, I get it. Make products that don't last, and the customer will have to constantly buy the products. It's brilliant, actually. It is also however, massively wasteful. And I'm not just talking about the overflowing garbage bin, either.

How much money do you waste every week, on products that could be reused? How much money do you think you could save if you spent a little more initially, but the product lasted you for 15 years or longer? I'm not just talking household products, either. How about cars? They are designed to lose value, and stop running well after just a few short years. Not to mention the fact that they are designed so that the average Joe can't work on it themselves, or alter the car when more fuel efficient or energy efficient technology becomes available.

Nope, you have to buy a new one!

And energy, oh goodness gracious. The push to continuously drill for more oil is ridiculous. The only people oil production will actually benefit is the oil companies. We, on the other hand could be using things like hydrogen on demand technologies, and not paying a dime for electricity, heat or even fuel to run your car.


I mean, just who do we think we are, anyway? What gives us the right to use everything up, or attempt to? I've got news for people, the Earth is only so big, and it contains only so much in the way of resources. This is not rocket science, people.

And to think that what we do has no effect on the planet? Are you kidding me? We have no idea what the long term effects of drilling up all of the oil has on the planet. But rest assured that when you remove something from it's habitat, and remove a lot of it, it does do something.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Folks, are we Saturn? Are we devouring the very planet and resources that our children and grandchildren will need t live a healthy, happy life? Even if the effects are generations down the line, who are we to hoard and gouge in a manner os that others may be denied, even in the distant future?

What is wrong with us?


Chica said...

Ah what a refreshing read! You've got a way with words, really engaging. I think the whole "green thing" is a fad, I doubt anyone is really taking it seriously. Terribly sad, sad, thing. I mean I'm not one to talk, I'm about as green as a lima bean, but everyone being a lima bean would help make peas in the future. I have no idea where I am going with the whole vegetable thing... :)

Anok said...

Thanks Chica - i like the vegetable analogy :D It was just something on my mind as of late. Even my huge consumerist capitalist happy brother has "gone green" and he is LOVING it! No more paper plates, no more paper napkins, no more newspapers or magazines, if it can't be recycled, it gets chopped up in the garbage disposal. He said they produce so little waste now, that they forget to put the trash out every week!

jadedconformist said...

Good post. My younger brother works at Home Depot and was advising a man on some things to clean his back deck with. The man asked if he could just use Clorox and my brother advised him of some product that was a bit more green/less harmful for the purpose. His response was, "I don't care about the environment. I'll be dead."

I have to admit I laughed at that, even though I couldn't exactly pinpoint exactly why.

Anok said...

Jade - it's the audacity of comments and mentalities like that that make me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick. (Not your comment, the customer's comment). "I;ll be dead" what kind of selfish self entitled pricks are we, anyway? Egad!

Renegade Eye said...

Really good post, combining good politics, with Goya for an extra touch.

Anok said...

Thanks, Ren. Always good to hear from you. Yeah, I've been on an art/politics kick as of late.

Goya will do that to you :D

kdawg68 said...

One of the most striking paintings I"m familiar with - "Saturn" has always disturbed me.

I think you draw some good conclusions here. Further, think about where this is going to go with the impending biotech revolution.

The possibilities are both fascinating and somewhat horrifying.

JafaBrit's Art said...

Goya's images often lead people to believe he was mad, but he knew exactly what he was doing and why, very powerful. GREAT post Anok.

Maria said...

I've seen this photo before and had NO CLUE what it's meaning was. To be honest I couldn't look at it long enough to try to figure ot what it meant. I liked your analogies and it all seems to make sense.

Don Lewis said...

Just did some reading up on the hydrogen on demand concept. Sounds promising, but it will require a great deal of energy to do the metal conversions. Looks like we have to put nuclear power back on the drawing boards.

Nice to read you again :)

K. Fields said...

Very interesting painting! Your comparison to humans is also a interesting way to see things. I have to agree with you on all you've said, where I live they are pushing to drill for more oil, and are also planning on putting in a 2000 mile natural gas pipeline, because the consumption demand is great. I am so for hydro. Tho I can't see the oil barons allowing it to happen!

Anon-Paranoid said...

Hi Anok,

There is one other thing Humans do and that is Kill just for the sake of Killing. That and of course because they derive pleasure from it.

The Beast that the Lord put on the Earth only kill for food or to survive if cornered.

Unlike the True Beast called Human Beings.

Yes we are a devouring race and as such I often wonder how much longer it will take before we destroy ourselves and are planet.

Very good post as usual.

Take care and ...

God Bless.

Stuck in my head said...

So true. And I love the image.

The only thing that humans don't devour is knowledge. Instead they devour resources and consume massive amounts of BS rather than trying to understand the truth of what is going on around them, rather than accepting the fact that what they are doing is doing damage to the world they live in. And as you said, not caring that others will occupy the earth long after their selfish asses are dead.

Alex Mcone said...

Have you seen a tiger ? In the wild ?

Majestic. There is nothing and I repeat, nothing that can match the beauty and grace of a tiger.

If it was the painting for you, it was the tiger for me. I cannot accept the fact that we have consumed so much of its habitat that it is now a glaring reality that the tiger is going extinct in a few years. How could we kill such a beautiful thing ?

The painting (first time I've seen it) is extremely disturbing yet undeniably inspiring. I need to know more about the artist.

Great post ! It looks like the topic has really touched a nerve of yours which it should. Nice to see you back. :)

Anok said...

Hey guys, thanks for all the great comments. I actually thought I might get flamed for this post a bit, it is a relief of huge proportions to see that I am not the only one who sees this as a problem!

Anon - good to see you buddy, I hope you are alright.

Another thought I'd like to put out there is that the sort of consumption of goods affects others not only by the waste and use of the products - but the cost. I'll bring it back to my mother for a bit, her debt is so high, so out of control, that she will never pay it off. Her life span isn't long enough to make good on those debts.

Now who will that affect when she dies? Me, and another sibling of mine. We will be harassed when the creditors sell the debt to collectors. We will have to sort through the mess, we will deal with the headaches On TOP of healing from the death of a parent.

Then, because I refuse to pay debts that are not mine, the debt will go unpaid, and losses will be incurred. And that cost gets passed on to others.

It just needs to stop.

Dave Dubya said...

Nothing is wrong with us, apart from the fact that humans are herd animals to the point of behaving like lemmings. It is a mob mentality driven by selfish motives.

Our corporate dominated political, government and economic system has produced the desired conditioned response in the people. They use the media to implant the conscious and subconscious suggestion that we must consume to be happy.

They exploit the people's self interest over the common good. "Me first" may as well be our national motto. Or at least, "In Greed We Trust". The sense of unity is required only for the business of war.

They profit on the fabricated consumer mentality and re-enforce us with shiny toys and mindless entertainment.

Humans are innately afflicted with the compulsion to have whatever the next person has. The herd must collectively buy into the trends, fashions and patterns the corporate media/entertainment industry markets to them.

Then factor in an overpopulated planet with dwindling resources, mix in an element of Armageddonist disregard of the future, and you eventually reach a collapse.

Only a vast shift in consciousness will turn us from the abyss. Survival of the species demands cooperation over competition.

Daniel the syndicalist said...

I love me some environmentalisticness, dude...

Data Entry said...

lot of people think , environment will collapse after 50 to 100 years . reality is it can collapse in next 5 years .