Ramsey Library Exhibits


Dimitar Russafov

Expulsion

B.A. Exhibit | On Display May 1999
About the Artist

Photo Thumbnail: 1st Oil Painting

 

Photo Thumbnail: Me River

"Haiti will teach you that good and evil are one.
We never confuse them.
Nor do we keep them apart."

A Vodoun priest
from Shadows in the Sun, Wade Davis

 

There is this essay by Schopenhauer in which he ponders on the meaning of human existence and sacrifice. How can it happen that self-preservation, detachment, and narcissism are dissolved and out grows the flower of compassion and service? His answer is that under circumstances of crisis we as a society and as individuals experience a spontaneous breakthrough of metaphysical realization. The realization is that you and that other are one, that the apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience life under the conditions of space and time. Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life.

 

Photo Thumbnail: Miniature 1

"I am your brother. I am your sister.
We are all humankind, and our life is one."

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

 

This realization that all events and forms of life are interconnected is found in all indigenous cultures and in many spiritual paths. The yin and the yang, the sunny and shady side of the mountain, combine to create the wholeness of life. In Buddhism this understanding is known as "non-duality". Life is interdependent, and we are all linked to each other. The survival of one species affects all other species, just as the fate of one country is linked with the fate of all other countries.

 

Photo Thumbnail: Two Windows

Photo Thumbnail: Crucifixion

"There is no way to peace, peace is the way."

A.J. Muste

"Out of the suffering in Vietnam we should learn
something. We need the vision of interbeing.
We belong to each other. We cannot cut reality
into pieces. The well-being of "this" is the well-
being of "that", so we have to do things
together. Every side is "our side", there is no
evil side. Through mindful meditation and
breathing veterans have experience that makes
them the light at the tip of the candle,
illuminating the roots of war and the way to
peace."

Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step

 

We live in a time that challenges our every preconceived notion of who we are, where we are heading as a society, and how capable we are to face and solve a crisis. Our response to a social conflict in many ways determines our future. The century-old wisdom in indigenous cultures and Eastern philosophies looks at conflicts as intrinsic to life. It is at the time of conflict that one learns to see more clearly. It is then when the best in humans comes up - the values of compassion and feeling of oneness. How are conflicts to be resolved? The same way lives are lived - in balance, walking the middle path, or what the Indian philosopher P.R. Sarkar defined as Prama. Thus peace becomes the process and not the means. It is this realizations of the importance of balance, mindfulness, moderation, and interconnectedness of all things in life that has passed the test of time and has remained unchanged in the deep pool of collective wisdom for centuries.

 

Photo Thumbnail: Miniature 2



Photo Thumbnail: Untitled

"If we Serbs cannot work, we can surely fight."

S. Milosevic, at his 1989 inauguration as president

"There is a lot more smoke coming from burning villages in Kosovo"

A NATO spokesman, when asked about the choking toxic fumes which engulfed Belgrade after the bombing of a fertilizer and chemical complex

"If you can't beat them join them"

The Guardian, April 9th, 1999

 

Now people all over the world walk a different path. It's a path that mother culture sings praises to. After all, it is the only path we know. We walk a path of duality. We separate the good from the evil. We see in black and in white. We judge before we try to comprehend (cum = "with", prehendere = "to pick it up", or be one with it). We do not try to learn from conflicts. We do our best to win them, and thus we cause "justifiable" violence and suffering. Which is acceptable of course because the means are noble. We hide away the fear that the violence is within us as much as it is outside of us. We retreat into rigidity and lose sight of any graceful options for peace.

Photo Thumbnail: Duality

We walk a path that has brought about mind-boggling technological progress. It is a path that has witnessed even more mind-boggling suffering, malice, injustice, and hopelessness. The way we deal with the sorrows of the world is through detachment. We slip comfortably back into the cycle of duality. It is all fine and dandy, because all around us mother culture seductively hums, that, oh yes, everything will be alright, everything will be fine. What is left is the fear, the guilt, and a feeling of thankfulness that somehow by God's will or mere chance we were born in "this" country and not "that", at "this" time and not "that". We get more and more separate from each other. Slowly we lose the vision of the wholeness and interconnectedness of life.

 

Photo Thumbnail: Liberty

Photo Thumbnail: Equilibrium

PhotoThumbnail: Nirvana

"There is only one race in the world,
And that is the human race,
Nourished with the milk of the same
Mother Earth,
Dwelling within the same compass
of the sun and the moon
The same heat and cold, the hunger and thirst,
We all equally feel,
Together we raise the tender green plants
and make them strong,
We all struggle to preserve our lives,
We seek friends and comrades,
and build happy homes,
We all drown in water, we all thrive on land.
Black and white are merely external hues
Internally the blood of all is red.
By penetrating below the surface,
The true inner nature is instantly revealed.
The brahmin and the outcast,
the great and the small,
Are all artificial distinctions that
Ultimately crumble to dust
When love awakens in sleeping souls,
Then true human beings will emerge.
There is no difference between one color,
One race and another
For the entire universe is pervaded by
One Infinite Consciousness."

Satyendranath, Indian poet

 

I believe that our civilization will survive only if we find that Prama, that balance of good and evil, that non-duality and peace in action. We must discover unity in the midst of colorful diversity. We must respect ALL life. We must think of others before we think of ourselves. We must build a collective vision of interbeing. The wisdom has been all collected. We just need to search for it. Learn to live it. Learn to question mother culture. We must not forget that the change begins in each of us. In me. In each of you.


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