We, as the founders of Sublime Arts, are primarily artists and lovers of our biosphere, interested in improving the living experience of all creatures. Kindness, action, nature, and community interest us. Preserving and promoting beauty and creativity interests us. Spiritual (emotional and intellectual) health of humankind interests us. The effort of our organization is to be taken into this context. We approach this as a conceptual work of culture hacking for moral alignment – an experiment of Art and Soul, of our core beliefs. As much as this, our concerns are intended to define and structure our beliefs in order to protect our values and the values of those who believe as we do so that we can better serve our world. Secondly, it is to explore a more helpful framework to alleviate internal distress of the individual. It is also to form solidarity and to rally for social transformation with innovative contributions. We suspect that in the United States of America, the best way to currently accomplish our goals is to form an organization categorized as religious so that we ensure Constitutional protection. The challenge has been to fit our non-traditional organization within governmental definitions of traditional faith-based organizations in this country if we are to be federally legitimized, although in theory, this fiat should accomplish this.
Sublime Arts is an emerging organization interested in the living experience. We do not claim to offer a path to eternal life or state of enlightenment. We are not interested in theological or philosophical debate, or in a rigid dogma. Our agenda is not ego-based, nor does it seek power over any other individual or group. Rather, it is to protect the natural-born rights of all and to empower others in their reasonable attempts to live a life of quality and satisfaction in balance with our biosphere.
Our faith is in a holigarchical system that controls and is controlled by all creation – simply put, it is a contemporary definition, through a quantum lens, of pantheism and monotheism (“All is One”). Rather than the conservative model of discipline, domination and submission to an institution, person or system seeking authority over us, we stand firmly in the authority of the self as it connects with others and creation, and of the collective wisdom passed to us throughout the ages. Sublime Arts is a formal expression of this belief and is intended as a way to investigate how, in our contemporary times, we might attempt to form a so-called religious organization while recognizing that the source of all life is by and large indefinable. It is to forge a sort of meta-religion, unlike traditional forms of extant religions, as we understand the danger of dictating one particular path in a holographic paradigm.
For autonomy in our society and government, we believe it prudent to organize and define our faith, demonstrating a tie between Transcendentalism philosophy and our daily practice, as our belief is not merely a philosophy or artistic concept but a deep conviction and way of life. Our lives are inextricably connected to Nature and Art and each are equally important in our traditions. Our actions are based on the principle of the ancient Golden Rule as it applies to all living creatures. People daily dedicate their time and lives for these shared values and principles. The protection of our bodies against toxins or the sharing of information that we depend upon for survival is not merely a good idea but a human response to living. Gardening with unmodified seeds, retaining the right to use the seeds from our plants, eating food without synthetic chemicals as well as using natural methods of farming have been a time-honored tradition of all humanity and continue to be core to our principles. Free access to uncontaminated commons – air, water, land, is necessary for our sustenance. Our ability for self-sufficiency should be protected at all costs – it is sacred. Self-expression via art has been a driving force in human progress and indicator of vitality. Beauty – aesthetically pleasing environments – are critical to our well-being. Creating and sharing in the arts as a social act serves more than an ornamental function – it connects us to other humans and gives us insight into others’ lives and our own. It teaches us empathy and social responsibility. It also brings us joy and a sense of individuality. It, too, has been a tradition as old as civilization.
Only until recently have these traditions and moral codes been severely threatened by fundamentalism and authoritarianism. Fanatical consumerism has usurped our values – where the idea of the hyper-individual and economic ‘growth’ is quickly destroying the possibility of individual happiness. Happiness – not as it may exist in the fleeting moment but as it addresses the root of our being: lasting satisfaction; the meaning in our existence. We do not subscribe to the prevailing norms; we are not all intended to be drones, drugged-up on corn syrup, mindless entertainment, and anti-depressants, shuffling around on asphalt, cordoned off in cubicles, cars and condos, mere automatons for the ruling elite, exalting obedience and mediocrity. The corporate bottom line and excessive greed of individuals are no longer kept in check by community pressure or moral conviction as they once had been in our now-extreme capitalist system. Marketing campaigns, industry propaganda and entertainment-driven media confuse us, convincing us that what we want is to obey, work as much as we can, spend as much as we can, numb our brains and ignore the consequences. With such a lifestyle, we rarely have the energy to fight it. There is a term used in marketing machines: “philosophy of futility,” which has been an apparently useful method for those looking to scam us for our worth and convince us to willingly continue the relationship, even though there is no proof that we are any happier for it. We have not been vigilant; our world and days have lost value right before our eyes. We are suffering for it. Our world is suffering for it. Countries steered by people with such a philosophy cannot possibly remain strong enough to defend the natural rights of its citizens.
The traditional strongholds of faith are likewise problematic. Perhaps in response to a soul-bashing consumer culture, fundamentalist religions are as strong as ever, selling people a meaning to their existence as defined by an authority outside of themselves. They continue to foster social separation and attempt to impose control over the minds and bodies of individuals. Some seek to create a homogeneous society wherein the only form of expression is that of one narrow-minded faith. Some, though less fanatical, have sedated their congregations by holding tightly onto irrelevant doctrines rather than re-interpreting the roots of their spirituality and breathing life into their message. Perhaps it is because they, too, have lost perspective in the chaos of extreme consumerism or of existential panic. Certainly some of these organizations could and would do much more to address suffering in the world around them and this is a motivating factor in our intention for ecumenical and interfaith work. Fortunately, there are a growing number of progressive religious and spiritual groups that are stepping up to the needs of our times and are working to nurture others, protect basic rights, help the impoverished and seek justice for the disenfranchised and we join them in their efforts.
At its best, religion can serve to balance and improve the individual and society. It can mobilize efforts of justice, peace, and goodwill – and provide a truly intelligent platform for reasoning with our society. It can empower people, provide solidarity and strength, and focus their constructive efforts. It can help the individual feel that his or her internal voice is valid. It can give us an anchor in the world, reminding us of what is truly important in our lives and urge us to act on those truths. Most of all, it has the power to console each of us; reassure us that we are existentially okay so that we may continue to reach our potential as individuals in service to our shared world. Religion is by no means required to achieve any of these things but it is potentially exponentially helpful if employed with wisdom and integrity.
Sublime Arts is interested in a constructive progress – one that feels internally right. We aim to inspire people with beauty and wisdom, empower people with information, to bring people together to build each other up. We want to re-interpret our existential notions, our faith, to ourselves as it is relevant today where we live. We believe that many people are interested in the same spiritual concerns and would like to work with others to achieve this end. The idea of the individual, privacy and self-interest has a powerful place in our society, as does community, shared resources and kindness toward others. It is not one school of thought or the other but a balance of these that we’re most interested in – a reasonable solution that seems most natural and soul-gratifying.
By celebrating Nature and employing Art, we’re attempting to empower people with beauty and deep wisdom to bring our world into balance and make this life a rich and rewarding experience for each of us. We welcome you to join us if you’re so inclined.
FIAT : 25 May 2009