Giving and Taking: How Art and Nature can Save Us from Greediness

The Trib

By San Murata

 “The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box,” Henry Cartier-Bresson.

“Greed is the lack of confidence of one’s own ability to create,” Vanna Bonta.

Being moved by a work of art is a great gift. Nature moves us when we soak it in through experiences like a walk in the woods, a visit to the water’s edge or sitting in a peaceful garden. When art and nature touch us, we respond with feelings strongly rooted in our bodies. This transformative cycle us what art is constantly seeking, and nature is continuously providing. It is the give and take of beauty and living.

Greed is the opposite of the generosity of art and nature. Greed, jealousy and envy won’t get you very far in life because you will always feel discontented about yourself, your life and the people around you. Greed is fueling our public life, politics and macro-economics. Even the ‘cures’ to greed, personal insight and spirituality, are being commercialized and monetized by making an industry of self-help. ‘Greedonomics’ has abandoned our spirit of generosity.

Art is “one of the best mediators of difficult messages—it has always created a bridge between the comprehension and the expression of critical problems in society,” (from the UN convention against Corruption). If we can use art to create awareness and change minds, then it is our most generous gift to society. Nature shows us something completely different in relation to greed. Greed happens in nature when there is a lack of something, for example a drought, or the excess of something, like a flood, or the end of an age, for example the ice age. The events, whether manmade or natural, upset the earth’s harmony, and require a conscious journey to restore health. Be generous, share your creativity and use art and nature to change minds.

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