Where Are We Going

Written in the top corner of Gauguin’s famous painting is a question which is as pertinent to today as it ever was.

His question is rhetorical, is a question to self; the stuff which my own painting is built on. As I have gone along with this blog I see that my thoughts are all reflective, so I have introduced a note-to-self category which indicates extension as research and/or action. In my notes to self, I do not have to worry about making myself clear to others, as I try to do in the body of my texts.

Gauguin’s question is written without question marks and with capitalisation to indicate that the reflection is also the title of his work. This interests me in that it offers a potential external point of reference in the form of painting regarding the philosophical/existential content of my own work.

 

paul_gauguin_-_d27ou_venons-nous

 

paul_gauguin_-_d27ou_venons-nous2

 

I find Gauguin’s questions to be both rhetorical and reflective, and they are very much questions for today. Today we know better than in Gauguin’s day, where we have come from, thanks to technological progress and the advancement of scientific knowledge. We know that we have all come from a common ancestor, and that life itself had its beginnings in the form of the first living cell. We know that we are still joined by an unbroken thread to that very first moment. The consciousness of our own existence emerged from that – this too is unbroken. Everything that we are made of we have in common. What we are is very much linked to where we have come from, inseparable in a way.

Where are we going has become the most pertinent question of today in that the planet which maintains us is itself threatened by our presence and consumption and misuse of natural resources. We live in the Anthropocene.

In terms of the digital environment, I see it as vital to ask questions concerning our interaction with many things, importantly with computers and all the smart devices that proliferate all around us every day, and which we have come to depend on.

Note to self: 

Conversations with a computer

Philosophers of the Anthropocene eg:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/timothy-morton-anthropocene-philosopher

The abundance and proliferation of research into the Anthropocene and its implications eg:

http://humanorigins.si.edu/research/age-humans-evolutionary-perspectives-anthropocene

many more refs on Gauguin’s most important work eg:

http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/where-do-we-come-from-what-are-we-where-are-we-going-32558

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