Time Document compiled by Louwrien Wijers

samengesteld voor Opening Wageningse Kennisdagen 1998,
Universiteit Wageningen, 16 april 1998.
reprint: for UNISCA, UvA, 30 October 2002

Throughout the years I have talked to great minds and have brought them together, for instance in Art meets Science and Spirituality in a changing Economy, 1990+1996.
I wanted to know the direction ‘the arrow of time’ is taking. The collection of quotes presented here is meant to strengthen our motivation to make the world a success.

Joseph Beuys (artist):

“We have to create the world as a living sculpture. In the social body money should flow like a bloodstream. This method can only succeed if all people work together. That brings in the organic feature and wipes out the current boring idea of politics. This way the figuration of a model for the future comes organically. Every human being carries within oneself an organic model of the future. It is very adventurous to start this kind of thinking. In making your thinking stronger, more concentrated, more lively and organic your feelings also get a better quality.”

“Quality will spring from this and will heal the damages and deformations of man and nature.”

“Bringing people together to speak together, that for me is the most important work of art.”

“We are completely based on our concepts of thought and our freedom. Through thought something totally new is introduced into the world. That is sculpture that materializes in speech. Thought must be seen as outside the body. When I die I throw away this carcass and I myself move on with my thought. Thought deals with the body through language. Through thought I intervene in the environment when I speak. What the mouth does with speech, the words it releases, these are the real sculptures, although they can’t physically be seen. On the receiver’s end the sculpture of speech drills itself into the ear. The shape of the inner ear is not accidental. It interlocks the sculptural process. Thought is sculpture, action is sculpture, writing is sculpture. Naturally I can also take clay, fat, earth and form it. This is what sculpture conventionally is defined as.”

“I’ve expanded the old term of art to include every human activity. Every human action is declared a work of art. Perhaps it is easier to say that everything depends on the understanding of freedom. Very few people realize that they have this freedom and actually personify this freedom. The principle of Christ is that a full freedom is one’s own possession.”

Robert Filliou (artist):

“Prostitution is the driving force of our economic system. We do not sell goods so much as we sell ourselves. We need an international network of people refusing the Economics of Prostitution, to further the ideas of Poetical Economy. The aim of Poetical Economy is to make people happy.”

“In the deadly jungle in which we live the only genius is to be good.”

“Our world is filled with more people of intense good will and dazzling competence than ever before.”

“In our time how can we believe that one person is more important than another person?”

“The great lesson of modern art is freedom. Now we have to incorporate ‘art as freedom’ into the fabric of everyone’s life.”

John Cage (artist):

“The entire social structure must change, just as the structures in the arts have changed. There is a need for change particularly in political and economic structures, and in educational structures. We can see in the field of economics that the notion of basic economic security, of giving the necessities of life to all the people on the planet, is becoming more and more prevalent. When that occurs it will enormously affect the field of education. What does Buckminster Fuller say that society will do when the people cannot have jobs and are unemployed? He says they will live their entire lives in the ‘university’, since we won’t be moving out of it into another job-life. We must change the universities so that they would be the places that we loved, as we now love our un-ruled, anarchic art-life.”

“Art gives that experience of general uncertainty. Artists are busy as birds. They never have enough time. They work night and day and are completely involved in their work. They require no vacations because of their total involvement. I think essentially people are this way. They all know perfectly well what to do with their time if they are left anarchic. This is what we must move towards.”

“We want flexibility and we also want an anarchic situation in which people do what they want, not what they are obliged to do. You breathe better when your feelings are anarchic, than you do when they are governed by a government. I hope that instead of governments we could have intelligence, for the whole world, rather than for one nation.”

Ilya Prigogine (scientist):

“Our understanding of the physical world is now quite different. It encompasses all these unstable dynamical systems, which are essential in the understanding of ecology and meteorology.”

“The 20th century was a turning point to a new type of civilization. Science is certainly vital in the transition to a New World. We are living a kind of second Copernician revolution.”

“The metaphor of the view of the world today is art. Art in the sense that it is something, which contains both laws and events. Like we see now in non-linear systems. We come to the breaking points, and we have new possibilities. Before we come to the breaking points it is more or less deterministic. When we are at the breaking points we have many choices.”

“I have developed a theory in which events are due to the instability of the dynamics itself. It has changed our idea about how order and disorder appear. Now we see that non-equilibrium can produce coherence and structure.”

“The laws of unstable dynamical systems permit us to develop an economy which is no longer based on the exploitation of man by man. There is more chance for culture and individuals to develop than ever before. Most people today are still occupied in ways, which do not permit them to develop their creativity. With this information revolution we may come closer to a society in which creativity can be more evenly spread.”

“It is a multi-actor society. There is no unique chief who determines what everybody should think.”

“The mechanical world is a world in which everything is stored and nothing can be forgotten. The world of real structures though is a world in which some things are stored and others are forgotten. Here the functioning has to create order. That is a non-mechanistic view."

Rupert Sheldrake (scientist):

“We now see the effects of this mechanistic world view in the destruction of the environment and in the many social and economic problems around the world. It has destabelised most societies in the world.”

Fritjof Capra (scientist):

“Are we talking about global partnership, global interdependence, or are we talking about global exploitation? Most economic policies and most business policies today, as we know, are more in the direction of global exploitation than global partnership. The model of the economy that we need has to be a systems approach. Economists, ecologists, scientists, psychologists, people in all these fields have to work together to deal with economics from a systematic point of view.”

“The theory of self-organization is very important for the scientific formulation of an ecological worldview. Living systems are self-organizing systems, which means that their structure and their functioning is not determined by the system itself.”

“There needs to be a shift in values, together with a shift in thinking. A shift from fragmentation to wholeness, from quantity to quality, from growth to sustainability, from domination to partnership.”

Rupert Sheldrake (scientist):

“Obviously one ideal, which is already perfectly apparent to many people, is that the development of the earth should be sustainable. We should think not just three years ahead, or five years ahead, but a hundred or two hundred years ahead.”

Sogyal Rinpoche (spiritual leader):

“If you simply follow the short term view of just making profit, then in the long term there will be great suffering. We must have economists with a far reaching vision.”

Stanislav Menshikov (economist):

“We should put in charge more people who are able to look far ahead, who are creative”

Francisco Varela (scientist):

“Key is the question of creativity. The great wisdom of all the main traditions confront the fact that there is no solid ground on which to stand.”

David Bohm (scientist):

“The first thing we have to do, is to look at our whole way of thinking. That means that people have to make a co-operative effort to have a dialogue, in which we will not merely exchange opinions, but actually listen deeply to the views of other people without resistance.”

“We have to understand each other even if we are different, then a coherent consciousness may arise which is capable of peace and the decrease of suffering over the whole world.”

“The general view I have is that participation is fundamental. We must have dialogues, we must share our thoughts. We must be able to think together. If we can’t think together and talk together, then we can do nothing together. Culture implies shared meaning in which everybody participates.”

“A long, long time ago I read about an anthropologist who studied some North American Indians of quite a primitive stage, hunter/gatherers. He said what they did was; from time to time they would get around in a circle, everybody, and just talked and talked, all equals. They made no decisions or anything and at some point they just stopped, and everybody seemed to know what to do. It is clear what happened: by doing this constantly they understood each other.”

“What we need is dialogues in the real sense of the word ‘dialogue’, which means ‘flowing through’. The spirit of dialogue is not competition, but it means that everybody wins.”

Francisco Varela (scientist):

“You actually have a whole set of behavioral processes, genetic processes and ecological phenomena that can only be accounted for on the basis of co-operation. Behavioral processes on the basis of co-operation can be called love.”

Dalai Lama (spiritual leader):

“Because of the rapidly increasing population, we need a more altruistic attitude. Compassion and our survival are related. Even in economy we are heavily dependent upon one another.”

“From the Buddhist viewpoint the ultimate creator is the mind of sentient beings, not only human beings, but other beings which have a mind or consciousness also. The mind is supreme.”

“In order to change the external situation, first we must change within.”

J.C.J. Vanderheyden (artist):

“Human love is the only opposite of fear. There is no fear in a moment of love. Love is the energy for surviving.”

“Art is a result of an attitude and a creative process. In creativity it is doing, not thinking. When you are making something everything comes together in one point. I can’t think. It’s impossible. Thinking is in time, creativity is in the moment. It has no time.”

“Artists, who are particularly receptive, receive like a radio. We have no control over it, but we can make choices.”

Raimon Panikkar (spiritual leader):

“A competitive society is the natural outcome of the loss of the artistic dimension in life.”

“The quality of my life depends on the generosity of my heart.”

“Two thirds of the world live under man-made injustices, as was never before the case.”

“I think we need a coming together of what I call ‘the dialogical dialogue’ in which the last voice of the last woman on the last island in the Pacific has something unique to contribute. Unless and until I make room for that little voice to be heard, I cannot speak in the name of humankind.”

“One of my sutras is that we have to demonetize culture. We have to strive to demonetize society. We succeeded in monetising everything, now we have to demonetize.”

“I once lived for six months in the country of the Nagas, a small civilisation. I know for certain that there does not exist a single case of mental illness among them. No depression. Among them food is not monetisable. So they are not nervous about how to make ends meet. You don’t need money to eat.”

Robert Rauschenberg (artist):

“The homeless should have homes and the hungry should be fed.”

“If you know what somebody else is doing and what they are thinking, then there is room for trust.”

“My theory for economy is: never waste a thing. I think Joseph Beuys and I had the same idea. I never saw anything that was wasted that shouldn’t be used.”

Lawrence Weiner (artist):

“Is there a certain nihilism built into our structure? I don’t know what is causing us to act so irresponsible.”

“Art is about showing people that the values of their life have changed. That is what each generation of artists does. My job is to determine what the hell is going on around us.”

“If you can enhance the quality of life, that enhanced quality will pass on to the next generation.”

John Chamberlain (artist):

“Meat eating, weaponry and bookkeeping hasn’t done the world a lot of good.”

“Everyone should start with their own acre and a half, and pay attention to that acre and a half, rather than run around the world and tell everybody else what to do,’

NB - De wens die de drijfveer is voor dit alles, is ooit naast de United Nations ook een Council for United Wisdom op te richten. Louwrien Wijers