Love Thine Enemy

I hated my parents. I hated my school. I hated the cops. I hated all authority. 

I hate anything that imposes limits on me, that gets in my way.

I hate disease, I hate that death is inevitable, I hate the laws of Nature. We all do. We all hate our parents, we all hate our Mother.

What goes up must come down. Hate that!

I hate that people form mobs and go after scapegoats. I hate that I have been a scapegoat, and may be again.

Hell is other people. I hate ‘em.

I hate suffering. Life is suffering.

And yet. See what happens when we overcome our limits?

See what happened when humans developed antibiotics, thereby evading a longstanding limit of Nature? Now humans overpopulate a still-limited planet, destroying vast swathes of wild habitat and species.

We developed industrial machinery, freeing ourselves from the limits of manual drudgery. Now we are captives of our own technology.

We domesticated animals and plants, freeing us from the vagaries of hunting and gathering. Now we lack purpose and meaning, as our animal instincts are continually frustrated.

We created writing systems, evading the limits of our very limited memories. Take that, Nature! Now we live in a mediated cultural hallucination.

Without limits, we create hell on earth.

We need everything we hate, to push against. We need gravity, to push against this Earth even though we want to fly. Imagine if we conquered gravity. Our muscles would turn to jello, our bones would weaken, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves as we floated about. Pushing, tension, resistance, opposition: we are built for this. We are built for limits. We are made for enemies.

Without enemies, who are we?

Children of parents who fail to set limits, who can’t tolerate their children’s hatred, become narcissistic monsters. 

Atheists wonder, if God is such an asshole in the holy scriptures, why do the religious praise and worship Him? God certainly behaves like an Enemy, what with the plagues and commands to violence and contradictory imperatives and impossibly confusing directives and nonsensical rules and vindictiveness and punishments. Thus, to love God is to love thy Enemy. To love thy Enemy is to love God. If God is all, He is evil as well as good, limits along with freedom, hate along with love. To know Him is to love Him, and hate and fear Him too.

I love mine enemies, for giving me something to hate. Without enemies, whom would I hate? Myself? That would be much worse. I’m built to hate something, better it not be me.

Children hate their parents, especially their Mothers. It is a natural phase. As I become more like the Mother myself, I am more able to love my hating self, and the hating others, all we hateful children, mine enemies. Love thy enemy as thyself: we, who know what hate is, already do. 

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“Prayer” animation

Today I made this little straight-ahead hand-drawn pencil animation on a little 3×5″ pad. I was trying to give myself a little break from screens. You can see some eraser shreds got caught in the scanner; hopefully they add folksy charm.

Update: Someone on Neenster.org asked,”If we run it backwards, is it a creation myth?”  You tell me:

Divine cycle:

 

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Nina Bunjevac’s Tarot

This summer I was surprised by several out-of-the blue, generous gifts. One of them was from illustrator Nina Bunjevac, with whom I communicate occasionally on social media – we have a little Mutual Admiration Society going. She sent me a set of beautiful French tarot cards, which I received last week and promptly stared at for several hours.

Although we share a first name, I promise that doesn’t bias me. Bunjevac’s line art epitomizes what I’ve always thought line art should be. She’s a direct creative heir to one of my all-time favorite illustrators, Virgil Finlay, and maybe a more distant cousin of Gustave Doré. Her lines go all the right ways, in intricate, mesmerizing patterns, without getting “busy.” Meanwhile she has a brilliant sense of overall design, so her drawings satisfy my eyes on both macro and micro views.

On a long bike ride recently, I contemplated animating one of her cards. I chose the Wheel of Fortune, La Roue, because it looked like Nina had already animated the eyes opening and closing, and I wanted to see them blink.

The animation itself is pretty simple, a 16-frame cycle at 12 fps. On the other hand, cutting pieces of illustration out of their backgrounds in GIMP is a time-consuming PITA, but sometimes I just gotta see what it’ll look like.

Speaking of the Tarot, many of its images derive from the Apocalypse (the Book of Revelation). The Wheel card, for example, depicts the 4 Heavenly Beasts or Living Creatures, which are also essentially the Seraphim of Ezekiel. Here’s my version from my stalled Apocalypse project:

It’s stalled because I’m just not feeling apocalyptic right now. The weather’s still decent, and I’m healthy and biking in the beautiful outdoors and getting swell gifts like Nina’s tarot cards. Life is good! Of course, this can and will change; the wheel of fortune keeps on turning. When it does, I’ll be back to animating the End of the World.

An 18-frame version that allows the eyes to rotate in the opposite direction of the rest of the wheel. I added movement to the clouds too.

 

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Angel o’ the Lord

There are a lot of angels in the Book o’ Revelation, and I’ve been dithering about how to depict them. But they mostly seem like they can be represented like this, except for the one that has legs of fire (I’ll figure out what to do about him/her/it/them/zir later). Flying-hands-with-eyes should be able to handle most apocalyptic angel duties, such as hurling fiery censers, dumping bowls of plagues, blowing horns, and whatnot.

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Protective Bicycle Amulets

Available now at PaleGrayLabs.com.

I originally created these for my bike Titania, but got enough stuff to make extras, because selling merch is what made-up religion is all about. Comes with a signed & dated, hand-stapled, 8-page Velosophical prayer book so you can conduct your own bike exorcisms, call for supernatural help on the road, sing hymns, and more.

With this, I think I’m finally done with this obsessive bike side-project, and can get back to animating the Apocalypse.

 

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