Posted by steve on December 16, 2005
From our courses in image streaming we like to publish results of sustainable planet exercises form time to time. We are happy to present here a transcript from Rick.
Assignment: Visit a place where there is no garbage and report. Include reflections and further questions.
I find myself in someone’s backyard. I’m looking at a big white wall that stretches out all the way from left to right. A kennel is located somewhere in the middle and a small dog is sleeping inside. This is a cartoon scene, with very bright colours. Grim death and two small children appear in the scene and approach the dog. Grim death appears to be intimidating, but he is nothing more then a skeleton wearing a long black cape. Suddenly one of the children, a girl grabs his cape and throws it away. Grim death is now a naked skeleton. An instant later his bones collapse to the ground. The dog wakes up and grabs one of his bones. The dog runs away. The girl looks angry and points towards the dog. Both children follow the animal.
A man and woman are walking hand in hand toward the kennel. They wear sweaters with “mom” and “dad” printed on it respectively. When the man sees the empty kennel he is surprised. He looks at a pole. The dog was lined to that pole, but somehow it escaped. The dog runs out of the garden and onto the street. I run after him to see what is happening.
The street is both wide and long. Across it I see big, beautiful houses. This is a suburb. To my left I can see a village in the distance. It’s only a small village, but for some reason a giant nuclear reactor is built in the middle of it. The village is cartoon like, but the suburb is realistic. The suburb is located on a high hill, while the village is located in a dale. A car is approaching from the village. It’s driven by a middle aged cartoon figure, wearing an expensive suit and big squarish glasses. The dog is sitting calmly on the street. The man in the car is scared to death when he sees the dog in front of him. He brakes very hard and stops just in time. The dog doesn’t move at all. It just sits there. The moment the car is stopped the dog sees a cat and runs after it. The cat looks neat and tidy, probably belonging to some rich woman from the suburb. The dog growls and chases the cat.
Analysis: At first this scene appeared to have nothing to do with the question at hand. A closer look reveals more. First of all; it is a cartoon scene. When my image stream uses cartoon images it usually is mocking something. Both the children and mom and dad could be just that; mom dad and their two children. An average Western family. Grim death is a different story however. He could definitely be a metaphor for some strange sort of behaviour. At first he appeared to be an intimidating figure, but since he was walking along two children that could hardly be the case. When his cape was removed he lost not only his appearance, but his body as well. In reality he was nothing more then a cheap sack of bones.
The cape appeared to have an important part in this scene, so I asked myself what it could mean. I found myself in an arena, where the same girl that removed Grimm’s cape is facing an angry bull, using Grimm’s cape as a Spanish bull fighter would his. I notice that although the outside of the cape is black the inside is red. The girl doesn’t look scared or frightened, but rather grumpy. With ease she fends of the bull using her red cape. The cape thus appears to be some sort of control mechanism. The girl uses the cape to her advantage. For further insight my image stream shows the girl shouting to the other kid, a boy. The boy has a rather silly appearance. When the girl shouts he starts crying and runs away. For a moment the girl looks sad, but then she regains her normal grumpy face.
After viewing the rodeo scene got some hints on what this image might mean, but I wasn’t sure what the bull was doing in it. When I asked myself what it could mean I viewed the bull in a static image. Slowly this bull changed into a bison. The bison stayed, but the surrounding changed into a pink world. The bull was skating on ice, while snow was falling from the sky. The bull wasn’t very good at skating and soon fell flat on it’s face.
The scene mocks the lifestyle of an average Western family. The children are playing with grim death, who represents something from our culture. Grim death make be a metaphor for our culture as a whole. The system is hollow though, as the only thing that holds it together is the cape. The cape is a metaphor for control and power. Whoever has the cape is in control. But according to my image stream possessing the cape of death is not a power worth pursuing. Mom and dad are on a different level though. They walk hand in hand in their backyard, but noticing little of what is around them. They don’t notice their children are playing with death, or that their dog has just escaped. The dog is outside influence. The dog is like a vulture, seizing it’s chance only when the prey is weak. The dog may be a metaphor for those who take advantage of other’s weaknesses. As this blog has proven many times our society is not sustainable in the long run. When part of our system collapses. People will take advantage of it, just like the dog took advantage of grim’s collapse.
In a large, green garden a man is working. He looks exactly the same as the man that was driving the car in chapter one, but they are not the same person. He is mowing the grass. The lawn looks neat and tidy, but cut grass is spread all over the ground. A sprinkler machine wets the soil. Somewhat further away a few children are playing. The same boy from chapter one is playing jump rope. Grim death and the girl are also in this scene. The girl seems to push grim death away. He is annoying her. Suddenly the camera changes into a frog’s perspective. I look up at the girl. Thunder strikes the sky for a second. Then everything returns to normal. The girl is intimidating and grumpy. Ones again grim death falls onto the ground in a pile of bones. It’s like I’m watching a complete rerun of what happened in the first scene, only now I am in a different locations. The characters are exactly the same though. The dog picks up one of grim’s bones again and runs away. This time a small sweeping wagon is driving down the street. Driving it is a big, bold, but relaxed looking guy wearing a red sweater, blue jeans and a cap. Again the dog runs onto the street and again he is nearly hit by a vehicle. The man stops just in time and the dog crosses the street. Until he sees the cat again. He growls and runs after it.
Analysis: This scene is mostly a rerun from chapter one. One things that interests me is the bull, because I am still not sure what it means. When I ask myself what the bull stands for, the animal appears before my eyes. He is sniffing into some garbage cans. Could the bull be something that disposes of garbage? Perhaps the bull is nature’s mechanism of disposing garbage. Scene one was in the backyard of an average western family. Scene two takes place in the rich suburbs. Again culture is hollow and collapses as people take advantage of a system and abuse it. Take apart the outer appearance of our system and it collapses. I believe that is what my IS, is trying to tell me here. On the other hand the cape may also mean that our current institutions for disposing of garbage are not very good or efficient. The outer appearance of the cape is all that holds it together.
I was the man who was driving the sweeping vehicle stepping out his machine and walking into a school. There is a long hallway. The floor shines from polishing, but the man takes a broom and starts mopping the floor. In the middle of the hallway is a closet full of lockers. Two girls/young women are walking down the hallway and to the lockers. One is wearing a white shirt and green skirt, while the other looks slightly older (a teacher perhaps?). She has black hair and wears a red vest and black skirt. They are talking to each other, but I cannot hear what they are saying. It’s nonsense and reminds me of the chattering of birds. The younger girls opens the locker to put away some schoolbooks. Strangely enough inside the locker is a golden statue of Buddha. As I look at the image it is enlarged and suddenly I find myself inside a Buddhist temple and looking up to a huge statue of Buddha. But before long the scene changes back again to the school The man is still cleaning while whistling a tune. He looks happy and satisfied. The girls walk out of the building.
Analysis: The man cleaning is satisfied; that is not the problem. As I ask myself what the problem then is I see the two women walking down the hallway again, but they are leaving black footprints behind. The hall is made dirty. I ask myself what the solution is. The golden Buddha statue appears in the schools hallway. People are walking up and down the hallway and everyone notices the big golden Buddha statue. The Buddha statue continues to grow and grow until it towers many kilometres high. The golden Buddha statue appears to be the key. Since the statue is growing and growing all the time the statue probably has something to do with awareness. This is also in line with the teaching of Buddha in which enlightenment was also a central theme. Buddha evokes for me a feeling of awareness and in this scene the awareness of people grows.
So if the golden Buddha statue is the solution; what exactly does the statue mean?
I view a house. A nice house, but nothing out of the ordinary. I am standing on a driveway, looking at a grey car which is being washed at the moment. A man with a hose in hand cleans the cars. Water and soap form small rivers on the driveway. This process reminds me of the man in the suburbs who has mowing his lawn. A sprinkler installation was wetting the soil. What do the two have in common?
I view a big yellow crane that is standing on our driveway. The machine is holding up a mortar mixing machine. But mortar is leaking from the machine onto the ground. The crane is something you use for construction. But the very process of construction leaves garbage. In the former chapter we saw behaviour having to do with consuming. Now we see the other side of the process; producing. The basics of economy tell us about a balance between producing and consuming. I believe something similar is going on here.
There’s more to this scene however. The trunk of the car is open and many people are putting garbage bags in it. The garbage bags clearly have green waste in them. I can see some twigs with leaves sticking out of the bags. The bags are put into the trunk of the car, although there is not enough space by far to put all the bags in.
Analysis: This scene shows some very interesting things. The car is a good produced. It is technology. Technology needs cleaning and undertaking. Otherwise it will break down eventually. The car is being washed, but water and soap flow into the soil. Then there is the crane. The crane is a metaphor for production. Production leaves waste. At least mass production leaves waste. And like mortar; if you leave it for too long the waste will become impossible to remove. Quantity of waste is also a problem. Though this image shows me a clear distinction between natural waste and waste produced by technology, if natural waste is produced in too great numbers it too can become a burden and harmful to the environment.
It has been some time now since I thought up the first three chapters. They contained fascinating information and I greatly enjoyed myself while conjuring them up, but at that point in time I simply could not figure out what the solution was. But a few days ago I came back to review the garbage problem and a new thought suddenly appeared to me. This is what I saw. There is an image of a house. It’s a quite normal house and there appears to be nothing special or particular about it. But then the image changes into a side view of the house. A two dimension view of the house where I can see the outline of all the rooms and what is in them. My attention is then caught by what is below the house. I see a tunnel; going down vertically in the ground, but after about five meters depth, it makes a 90 degree turn and moves on horizontally. This image then changes into an elevator going down. The elevator is held up by ropes and it makes a low, zooming noise as it moves downward. The ropes are thick and strong and they have to be because the elevator is heavy. A feeling creeps over me, cold and harsh. A wind blows through the air, though I cannot point at the direction from which it is coming. The elevator changes into a scene where I see garbage cans. Two big garbage cans; one green for natural waste and a grey/black one for everything else. These cans are standing outside of the house I was speaking about before. My feelings then tell me I should link the waste which are in these cans, to a different can, which is in the house. That is to say; the garbage that is now in the cans outside of the house should be moved to cans inside of the house. This garbage can then be put in the tunnel, where it is transported to somewhere else. As a system the tunnel works in much the same way as a sewer. I see a dark sewer with stinking water appear before my eyes. It is dark. The only light is coming from a lantern I am holding in my hand. This scene, which was realistic at first now changes into a painting. It is a beautiful painting, though dark. My feeling tells me a system much like a sewer is the answer to our problem.
Linking all the images I saw is not very difficult. I believe that in order to achieve a society with zero waste, we would need to set up a collective system of garbage disposal that works in much the same way as a sewer. Garbage would be collected, stored and then transported in a sewer like system of tunnels, which lead up to a central point where garbage can be collected. From this central point it is much easier to dispose of or recycle the waste. Because garbage is now collectively stored costs will go down as well, after the initial costs of setting up a sewer like system have been overcome. The garbage cannot be transported by water, as is done in a regular sewer of course, so we need to think of something else. I believe the wind I felt while seeing the elevator move might hold a clue. Perhaps we could think of creating some sort of vacuum that pulls garbage to the collective site for collection.
The above text concerns the outline of a system for garbage disposal. It is collective and therefore efficient and it may hold the clue to achieve a cleaner and more sustainable society. There is however another component and that was outlined by the first three chapters. I believe the Buddha statue says it best. In order to achieve a sustainable society we need to change people attitude. The Buddha statue evokes for me a feeling of balance and peace. For goodness and that which is right. Image streaming itself may hold a clue in changing peoples attitude towards society. It is much like Socrates said; that which is expressed by the learner is a hundred times more effective then what is lectured towards the learner. The first three chapter of this image stream showed me the attitude of this society and it wasn’t very good. If we wish to do something about this attitude we need people to think for themselves. Education is an excellent opportunity to stimulate people in this activity. So in conclusion I believe there are two components that make up the solution to the problem of garbage. The first is an actual system of collective garbage collection that works in much the same way as a sewer, though a system by which the garbage moves through this system would have to be developed. The second and perhaps the most important one concerns peoples attitude towards society itself. In order to achieve a truly sustainable society, it’s people would first need to come to the conclusion –by their own means- that their society needs to be sustainable. Education gives an excellent opportunity for this. What is expressed by the learned is much more important then what is lectured towards the learner.