The Whore of Babylon

From The Book of Revelations:

“17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [“Fornication” is interpreted/translated as “idolatry” in the Amplified Bible (AMP), the New American Bible mentions “harlotry”]
17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. [King James Version; the New International Version uses “prostitutes” instead of “harlots”].
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. [King James Version; the New International Version Bible and the New American Bible use “hills” instead of “mountains”].
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.
17:12 And the ten horns which thou saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
17:15 And he said unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.

In John’s Revelations, the appearance of the Whore of Babylon, riding the Beast, is a symbol of idolatry and depravity, the “mother of harlots and abominations of the Earth” and “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Some scholars and theologists considered Babylon and the Whore of Babylon metaphors of the Roman Empire persecuting Christians (before the Milan Edict in AD 313). Others viewed Jerusalem as the “apostate false queen”, “who has been unfaithful and who, even though she has been divorced and cast out because of unfaithfulness, continues to falsely claim to be the “queen” of the spiritual realm”. Later, during the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church itself, because of turning away from the chastity of Jesus Christ and becoming a corrupted wordly institution and centre of power, was many times referred to as the Whore of Babylon.

When I created the picture entitled “Whore of Babylon”, I was thinking about a timely and relevant interpretation of this relevation of John’s. I was thinking about the idols humanity has fabricated in the 20th century and which it has worshipping since. The daughters of the Whore of Babylon are living among us. They are this depraved world’s celebrities:

Consumeria – this bitch suggests that you should measure yourself by your possessions. The more people see them, the better. Cattle, swine, sheep and poultry. And so on.

Potestatia – this shag tells you that the more people you command the better. She wants you to believe that sick lust for power is something normal. And so on.

Illusoria – this harlot says that it is worthless to gain your very own experience of the world. She tells you it is much less complicated to be handed something ready-made. Why would you care if it’s true or if it’s real? And so on.

Sexualia – this slut claims that screwdrivers advertised with big tits screw better. She also suggests that stone trolls are, in fact, men. And so on.

I wonder if humans will ever become conscious beings. And so on.

Digital figures, part 1. – Emancipated to death

About the series

At a point of time, when, on my pictures, human figures and the thoughts on human existence gained more and more importance, it happened that there were no models available, to contribute to the creative process. This point (or period 🙂 ) of time roughly covered the point (or period 🙂 ) of time when I was searching for 3D modeling software capable of modeling human figures – or, it is possible that I was searching for such software so that I could place human figures on my pictures in the lack of a real human model. 🙂

I actually found a program with the help of which, I could place more or less (sometimes less) human-like creatures on my pictures, in any desired postures. These figures were processed through distortion effects and alloyed with textures, by using image editing software. I think that the resulting images are peculiar, mysterious, bizarre and thought-provoking. So, that is how the image series entitled Digital figures was created. These images depict visual metaphores of human (and other) creatures, and short, dense, allegoric stories.

You can see the full series here.

Emancipated to death

The concept of emancipation emerges from (Roman) civil law, and originally meant the cessation of paternal authority over the child. In the modern era, emancipation means that we treat minorities (racial, ethnical or religious) as equal. Emancipation of women aims the equality of women in society, including the right to vote, education, work, and many other areas of life.

The process of the emancipation of women is, however, antinomic in a way, and definitely leads to dubiety and questions. No intelligent human being would doubt that the two genders represent equal value. But it would be foolish to deny that, in an evolutionary, biological and historical sense, women and men naturally specialized in different areas of life during the formation and development of human society, culture, and civilization.

In indigenous communities, heavy or dangerous tasks, like hunting or fighting and defending the tribe were undertaken by males. Later, it remained men’s task to ensure the subsistence of the family, however, there has always been a certain division of labour between the two genders (for instance, women took part in gathering food or certain agricultural activities). Still, the most natural and traditional area of women’s activities work was the home, the house, including one of the biggest responsibilities: taking care of and growing up children. Those tasks bear incredible importance for human culture. The quality of a young life determines the nature and standard of the “primary commodity” of culture and civilization. The emotional setting and environment, created by a mother during the first years of children’s life, has utmost importance and largely influences later years.

I wish that women would be free to choose any field of knowledge, any path of life, any profession. I wish they could set any aim, and that they would enjoy total freedom in self-fulfilment. However, I would like to mention that, so far, the emancipation process has gone through some distortion and has led to scrupple and queries.

1. Women’s massive influx in the labour-market, unfortunately, was not primarily based on their free decisions. It was induced by economic pressure and necessitation, especially after the two World Wars. Men happened to be so inconceivably mindless that they managed to exterminate many million members of their own gender. The void thus created in the labour market (sorry for the detached wording) needed to be filled – and that’s what women had to do. This is by no means self-fulfilment, I think. This is the shameful result of human idiocy.

2. So, the labour market opened for women, partly because of the pressure described above. This, and other economical processes profoundly rearranged the distribution of tasks among women and men; even the concept of the family was redefined in a sense. The multicore, multi-generational family model has disappeared or at least got forced back. Dual-earner families became the standard. Though society has adapted to the new circumstances, we can not say that women have won in the game. In this new situation, they are required to fulfil their original tasks (namely, housekeeping and taking care of children) IN ADDITION to working in a profession. Obviously, there are many families where this situation is handled well and successfully. Day nurseries and kindergartens can also offer some help. Still, I am unable to get rid of the sucpicion that, hiding under this new, “modern” look of the world, there are ongoing processes that do harm to the intellectual, emotional and spiritual components of our culture. Look at this rampant consumerism, look at this modern slavery. Kids today surely spend less time in emotionally healthy and benevolent settings, but definitely spend more time with gadgets or consuming media garbage. It is also rightful to ask: these days, what can we say about the quality of the time parents can spend with their children? Few are so lucky that their job is the deeply desired self-fulfilment, too. Also very few people would consider their workplace to be an island of serenity. It can be an enormous task to, despite all the tension and stress, fill the time spent with children with meaningful content and positive emotions. If the mayhem done to the traditional social institution of the family wasn’t enough, even family itself began to disappear. Living single is more and more prevalent. In spite of the social media madness, loneliness, isolation and alienation is what I see. In the eyes of the maniacs eager for money and power, women, men, children and family are nothing but target groups.

3. Finally: do you think the emancipation of women has come true? Well, only partially, so far. Surely, you can see brilliant women in all areas, some of them prooved to be successful managers and leaders, others are great professionals and scientists. And it is heartwarming to see that they are the true champions of professions that require empathy and advanced emotional intelligence, like health-care or pedagogics. But, if we look into statistics, it will be clear that, in average, both women’s chances on the labour market and their salaries are significantly lower than those of men.

I wish the nicer half of humanity could freely choose any course of life. At the same time, though I’m sort of disillusioned, it would be great to see mankind inventing something more human than this world of alienation, impersonality and consumer slavery. It would be also great to help mothers fulfil their motherly role. Before we get emancipated to death.

 

Microverses

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” – Alan W. Watts

We, as physical and biological beings, seem small. Still, we represent the complexity of the whole universe. Have you ever thought about how miraculous we really are?

Is there an objective reality around us, that is, at least roughly, the same for all of us? The question may seem trivial and unconcerning to the lazy mind, because it is so easy to just adapt the thought that things are just the way they are, without seeking deeper answers.

But let’s see how we, human beings, form a picture of the physical world in our consciousness. Humans have five traditionally recognized senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Beyond those, we are also able to detect other stimuli, and these sensory modalities include temperature, kinesthetic sense, pain, balance, vibration, and various internal stimuli.

All that we perceive of the physical world can be traced back to physical (quantum mechanical and gravitational) interactions between fields and particles of the “outside world” and those constituting our sensory organs and nervous system. The overall picture we form of the world, consisting of objects, living creatures and all sorts of phenomena is often shallow, simplified and generalized. The way this process, our general perception of the world, works, is not a perfect but rather an optimized one, and somewhat necessary, too, as the human mind needs to find a balance and use its resources wisely as it encounters a plethora of tasks every moment, without an endless computational capacity. But that doesn’t mean we can’t sometimes have a deeper look into the workings of nature and contemplate things that are beyond the obvious, below the surface, including our perception, our mind, and our concepts of reality. Let’s take the simple example of how sight works. We all know that, for example, seeing a bird begins with photons from its direction reaching our eyes, the ligt beam they make up goes through the cornea and the lens (among other parts of the eye), to be focused on the retina that transforms it into an electric signal which is transported via the optic nerve to the cerebral cortex in the brain, where specialized groups of neurons create the picture for our consciousness.

Thus, the picture we see, despite how we tend to interpret reality, is NOT outside in the bright sunlight. It is created in total darkness; deep inside the brain. Of course, that does not deny the bird’s existence in the “real” world. But we can ask, for example, in what way is the outside world more real than the picture (or concept) our mind and consiousness creates? Or, we can ask, whether we could make any difference between a world that behaves like we believe our world does, or a world in which the electromagnetic waves reaching our sensory organs are artificially created by an unknown intelligence, to engage our minds in a perfect and total simulation? Further, how can we be sure that our sensory organs and maybe all our inner reality, are not simulated? So the above simple line of thoughts may lead to contemplating the concepts of objective and virtual reality, illusion, deception, self-deception, just to name a few.

After this lengthy introduction, let me advert to the subject of the picture above and the contemplation below. This subject is the littleness and greatness of the human being. Who are we, highly conscious, individual, yet interconnected creatures? How is it that, despite our fallible nature, we are able to transcend ourselves?

I chose the expression Microverses as the title of the image above because it neatly describes the dual nature of human existence. On the one hand we, as physical beings, are incredibly small, at least in comparison to the inconceivably large structures we have discovered and continue to discover in the observable universe. On the other hand, if there is something more miraculous and inconceivable than quasars, galaxy clusters and Great Walls, then it is the way how matter has turned conscious, the way how “the universe looks back on itself through our eyes”. In the conscious mind of a human being, in a certain sense, there’s room for the entire universe. And that’s how great creations we are, despite being seemingly small within the whole of this Creation.

As we established previously, our body, viewed as an individual biological system, is not so large. An ant might see this otherwise. But our body is definitely an enormously complex system. Regarding just the pure numbers, the number of cells making up the human body is estimated to be somewhere between 5 trillion and 200 trillion, three orders of magnitude more than the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is estimated to fall between 100 billion and 400 billion. The human brain itself consists of at least 100 billion neurons, roughly as many as the stars in our galaxy. These numbers are mind-blowing. And, at least to me, it is impossible to grasp the intricacy of all the complex physical, chemical and biological processes that constantly take place inside us.

Let’s see the question of our exiguousness and greatness from a historical, psychological and spiritual viewpoint, too. We, as individuals, as biological creatures, are programmed for survival. Evolutionary competition and the race for resources works through selfishness. We seek victory over other individuals, and groups of human beings seek victory over other factions; either food, resources, habitat or competing ideas may be the motivational force behind the contest. In the process, we commit the most horrible acts imaginable. No evil action exists that has not yet been invented and carried out by humans. On the other hand, we depend on each other strongly. Communities, the members of which supported each other and united their forces, provided shelter, protection, education for all members of the group. And these groups, while fostering survival, helped develop supportive behaviour, emotional bonds and the concept of togetherness. Exercising help and support sometimes led to such extreme outcome as, for instance, sacrificing one’s life to save another, or to aid the whole group. The best known example of the ultimate sacrifice is that of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save all of us.

So, while we are often selfish, cruel and destructive, we also have the potential to be rightful, to love and to cooperate. Though there are tendencies in the world that can have sour conseqences, I see hope, too. I think it is mankind’s greatest task today to find the ways of cooperation, to accomplish even greater tasks like saving our planet, put down poverty, decrease inequalities regarding access to information, material and cultural benefits. Just think of how the Internet has become a powerful means of sharing knowledge, rearranging resources, getting help and support in may areas of life. I see it as a working model of organizing human minds into a network which works more efficiently and reaches common goals sooner than ever before. It MUST be utilized to an even larger extent so our species could move forward towards safety, well-being, knowledge and prosperity. It may sound like fantasy, but what if human minds, in the future, could unite in an other kind of network, or a common consciousness, by utilizing either future technology or some, presently poorly explored, phenomenon like telepathy? What if quantum phenomena, like entanglement, signal the existence of a deeper level of reality on which we could all become one Gaian consciousness? When we gain sufficient knowledge, will we be able to begin a new era of inhesion as we, the Microverses, come together finally? Maybe, that’s a dream. But dreams may come true one day.

Finally, a couple of words about the picture. I used a street photo I had taken in a crowded underpass at a train station, as the main component of the image. The other components are results of an experiment which took place in my bathroom. I used a laser pointer, low shutter speed and a tripod. I drew the word ME on the bathroom mirror with the laser pointer. My shadow can be seen near the border of the image on the right side. The red and white dots, lines and splotches are also derived from the laser pointer’s light, and symbolize subatomic particles and their collisions. Some of these splotches are symbols of vibrating “strings”, which, according to string theory, can be the very basic elements of matter, even smaller than “quantum” scales.

Dear Reader, thank you for your attention, I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy winter holidays.

The story of the Doll Stories

This series started off in Szeged, Hungary. A fellow-student and I took a walk in the evening. I spotted a store window in which, a mannequin stood in contrapposto, her left hand unnaturally far from the hip, as if some invisible force stressed her arm out- and backwards. Behind her, in the well lit store, other mannequins stood, including one missing not only any clothes but also the upper half of her body.

The long black dress the mannequin in the front was wearing, with the whipped up, slit skirt and the lacy tulle arms and shoulders, radiated a kind of coquettish elegance. All that stood in a peculiar, disheveled harmony with the store interior, the beige walls and marble floor, the hazel pillarets and the caesious color of the golden-rimmed cushion and backrest of the chair in the background. A little bit overemphasized moderation that, in a way, gets mocked by the mahogany red wig, the hot red color of the bag and the flesh-colored limbs of the mannequins, as these forms and colours seem to uncover the concupiscent nature of reality, denouncing all mannerism. In this cheeky backchat, the half-mannequin deserves some special attention. With no torso, the bottom becomes all too important, it saves poor legs from losing all support. The plate denoting an 50% discount brings an element of humour into the picture. From this viewpoint, the objects arranged this way inside, it is not immediately clear which item is sold at half the original price. Maybe the half-doll, as it is a half. Maybe the shoe, as it is exactly the half of a pair. Or maybe the collection consisting of one bag, one shoe and a half doll.

An elegant store interior the photo of which, resulting from the circumstances, gains a bizarre aspect. But, to me, this picture means more than that. I haven’t posted the original pic so far, as it is far from being perfect. In lack of a tripod that night, the shot was taken hand-held which resulted in imperfect focus and clearly recognizable color noise. However, I experimented a lot with this image later, while contemplating the roles these often primitive, yet more and more sophisticated replicas have played throughout our culture. Our bonding with these creatures went so far that in our fantasies, we have vivified them, we have assigned human characteristics, emotions and intentions, human-like, either innocent or malevolent souls to them. We have attached stories to them. The latter is what I am doing when working on this image series.

I’ve been contemplating the role of dolls, puppets, clay figures (like the Golem 🙂 ), tin soldiers and their peers in our culture, as I said that above. I recalled some of their stories. It seemed to me judged by my childhood memories that Pinocchio’s story was sort of a fairy tale. Having read the tale again, my opiniod has slightly changed. The cruel acts that emerge while the living marionette goes through the fires of adversity, would fit perfectly into a horror movie or the toolbar of some middle eastern executioner brigade: hanging, burning alive, dismemberment, flagellation, drowning in water. And then, the transformation of a kid and a puppet into donkeys… Now, that’s a demonic metamorphosis for sure. In spite of the happy ending, this fable displays a nice array of intrigue and cruelty. What could, by the way, Andersen’s poor Steadfast Tin Soldier tell us about happy endings? Well, as I’m sure you know, he and his beloved paper ballerina perish in a fire together when they can finally hug each other… Not a perfect solacement, I guess. It seems that “doll stories” tend to be somewhat grievous. Suffering, misery and sorrow are usual elements of these tales which, like other kinds of tales, are projections of hope and fear. Popular culture’s newer doll stories often utilize deep fear of the unknown (the supernatural, for instance), depicting inanimate figures possessed by evil spirits. Chucky‘s story is a classic one. And Annabelle (whom we may know from the horror movie The Conjuring) still awaits in the Occult Museum founded by demonologists Ed & Lorraine Warren.

So, dear Visitor, do you know about a “doll story” that is not mentioned here? Please share it with us!

A couple of interesting links for your entertainment:

The Adventures of Pinocchio

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

A nice collection of “haunted dolls”