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Statement started 1 January 2019 / updated 1 January, 2021                                                            

Scarcity vs  Generosity  •  John Tomlinson, artist

This day as we slide out of the dreadful COVID-19 Year of 2020 into 2021 it may be bleak or it may be partly sunny, but we ought to take heart that it is a day of great significance, not just any ordinary "whatever" day, not a day of darkness and despair, not even a rancorous partisan political day.

To loosely paraphrase Martin Luther King, this is the momentous beginning of a new history as well as the end of our contemporary history.

I have arrived at a perspective of this moment in the world's history affecting all humans and living creatures - that tells me that among other significant dates we can designate 1 January 2021 as the beginning of an epic struggle leading to a enormously different world and life for all and everything.

Grandiose? Yes. No "whatevers" are possible now.

The signs are all before us; just look at what has revealed itself beyond the Pandemic and because of it and at who and what have emerged from the murk.

I call it unleashed and unrestrained "dog-eat-dog-fuck-you" capitalism replete with stains of fascism. Now mostly because of social media we can see out in the open to our chagrin what harm that it will do to us and has been doing to us since long before the Scottish philosopher-moralist Adam Smith defined it in 1776 in “The Wealth of Nations”.

That kind of capitalism demands and engenders greed, aggression, war and inequality. 

Let's call it "the scarcity model".

In that model there is only room for individuals self-anointing and self-promoting as superior through wealth and position who only recognize others who have anointed themselves in that way but who at the same time engage in fierce and cagey competition with each other as well. That's their game toward survival as the most canny.

In that model there is strategic, legislated or grudging permission for people not of the European Caucasian descendancy or not of the male gender to be anointed. That's their game, too.

Dark stuff, painful to watch and endure the self-entrenched white males and their allies at their game. Catastrophic for most of humanity. The predictions for the destruction of the Earth and of our species are coming fast and furious.

Nevertheless, my perspective sees what I have borrowed from my life-mate, my colleagues, my friends and my personal experience as "the generosity model", as the goal towards which we must strive and struggle in order to overturn the scarcity model.  As an artist, I want to see it applied as well to the art profession and practice outside the capitalist art market of scarcity.

In the generosity model we respect the lives of our fellow creatures and the Earth and we share.

We share our knowledge, our experience, our ideas, our expertise, our opportunities, and our positions.

We care for those we love and those who need help. 

It needn’t be on a grand scale, but it ought to be on a personal one; that is, one where we seek our authenticity and strive to express it.

There's always lots more to say and do. I am working on my perspectives and activities every day. Let's all commit to doing the same.

Since the fateful year of 2016 until 2021 the Paradigm of Awfulness and his allies, blind followers and cronies will trip up and do a lot of damage before they are finished. We have to counter them with generosity and friendship towards each other. It’s time for each of us to create our own initiatives and our own narratives.

©2019/2021 John Tomlinson

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