Here is my new painting, The Battle – An Allegory of Fear and Love.
The Battle – An Allegory of Fear and Love – Artista Eli
‘Be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’ – Plato
The idea for creating this work came from the idea I saw in a dream. I don’t think there was anything magical about this strange vision, I think it was just a culmination of thoughts I had floating around in my subconscious mind when I was asleep. When people are asleep they often dream about problems with no solution. Part of the purpose of dreaming is to find a resolution to apparently unsolvable problems. The problem I was thinking about and could not solve, was about overcoming fear in order to lead a fulfilling life. The ideas I present are not new, but are a collection of the thoughts of many scientists, philosophers and seekers of peace/happiness – a collective consciousness, if you like.
Of all the subjects in the world that are important and worth thinking about, love and fear have to be at the top of the list. These subjects are about our existence, but we rarely examine them properly. We act on the emotions of love and fear easily, but don’t truly understand them. They affect us all across social divides and our inability to deal with these emotions can also cause social divides. In the worst cases leave us feeling isolated, ignored, alone and even dead.
My painting is about how we chose our own realities. Ultimately our only ‘true’ reality is within our mind. Other forms of reality are just, therefore, constructs created out of our mind, using our knowledge and experience. For example, when we are small we are taught by our parents that Santa is real. We then accept this as part of our own reality. Throughout the ages we have made up all sorts of constructs to both explain and control the world. At different times in our history these ‘realities’ have become accepted as the social norm, often later to become dismissed by new ways of thinking. Love and fear are such important universal subjects that they are included in every philosophic and theoretical reality which we, as the human species, have accepted into our lives. So why then do we still not understand them?
In recent years many wonderful scientific breakthroughs have occurred, especially where the workings of the brain are involved. This has enlightened us about emotions, which are hard for us to control. C.A.T scanners have replaced EEG’s and allow us to see clearly which parts of the brain are activated during psychological experiments. Thus we can see accurately that our mind is a physical part of us (and not separate as we once thought). We are learning how our mind affects our health and yet Heart Disease and Cancer are still the biggest killers in our first world societies, suggesting that we are unable to cope with the stresses/emotions of modern day life. Our bodies (including our mind) have not evolved quickly enough to cope with our quickly changing Global world. So what is the answer to this? The answer is to understand ourselves deeply – to understand both love and fear. With a deep understanding of these subjects, we can then grow into the successful people we were always meant to be. Marianne Williamson once said:
‘Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love into our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things, meaning lies in us.’ (Think Exist)
If we conquer our fears, we can let love into our lives again. The two cannot exist together at the same time. Einstein said:
‘We cannot solve our problems with the same kind of thinking we used to create them’.
Therefore we cannot be fearful when examining our fears. We must be courageous to do this. Sometimes this can be a daunting task but as Mary Anne Radmacher says:
‘Courage does not always roar, Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’
In my painting I have depicted personifications of love and fear in the form of two opposing sides in a battle scene. The head of the Fear Army is King Death. King Death is striking out at the opposition with a sword, signifying destruction, and his feet are rooted in the ground, signifying resistance to change. There is nothing glorious about being resistant to change. People say things like ‘I won’t/can’t change’. But this is really like saying,’ I can’t/won’t learn, grow and become successful’. Why on earth would anyone say this? It is because we are afraid of change, afraid of the unknown and ultimately afraid of death. This is where our primal fear lies. This is the root of our fear, from where other types of fear arise. Hence King Death has worms at his feet and his skeletal skull is exposing his brain, signifying our fear that our outer shell will decay one day and our thoughts stop. In his armour, I have placed a fractal based design, signifying the dimensions of life and matter. We have now, apparently, discovered 11 dimensions in science, many of which are deep inside of us, such as our tiny particles. In physics we are currently searching for the answers to life and creation within tiny parts of matter, when once we looked for the answers in the vast heavens. I believe this is where we also need to look for the answers to other huge questions, not outside ourselves but within ourselves. The electrical globe in the centre of the painting is where Death and Love meet, colliding and producing energy. Without death there can be no life. We are one with the universe and we are all trapped in part of the cycle of life, for a period of time, otherwise known as our ‘human’ existence. Our shell will rot and nurture further life, but our electrical energy will live on, as it cannot be destroyed, because it was never created. It is the immortal part of our being. The globe also signifies the Hadron Collider and the atom smashing experiments of physics at this time. It therefore represents destruction and creation being the source of all life.
The opposing side in my painting is the Love Army, led by a Na’vi’ (as in the film Avatar) like Venus, teetering on a shell, signifying the importance of being open to uncertainty, open minded and taking calculated risks. She is holding a paint brush in her hand and striking out at King Death, signifying peaceful creation. In her other hand she holds a palette, with a mirror in the middle of it, signifying the reality of the visual world around us and the reality in our heads, with which we perceive ourselves and the world. Thus, the viewers own reality will be included in the painting at all times and their perception of things will be evident as they look into the mirror.
Jal al-Din Rumi (the Sufi poet and scholar) once said:
‘Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader, are your own nature reflected in them’
Other people are, therefore, are like a mirror of yourself. The famous popular psychology theory called ‘The Law of Attraction’ echoes this idea, that what we give to the world, is what we receive. This is an idea which is included in many institutional religious theories to explain a concept – the concept that, in order to get love, one must first give love. But how can we do this when we live in fear, in environments which are not open to love and we are faced, daily, with situations that hurt us deeply?
Part Two (to follow) will give some of the answers to this question.
The other characters, in the two armies, are personifications of types of fear and love. I will add them in the following posts with a close up image of each one and an explanation.