Some "pearls from Leunig" (the cartoonist in the Fairfax Press here with his own web page.
Sent to SAM byStevie Bee who was also editor of Third Opinion alternative energy journal for roughly 20 years here in Sydney, and a graphic designer by trade. The first diagnosis on 'over stimulation' echoes the same comment of famous Everest climber Tim McCartney Snape regarding the exhaustion exhibited by much of western society:
"The individual is overwhelmed by the magnitude. We have embraced technology and economic systems that are just unfathomable and massive and all-powerful. I think television is a totally destructive and corrosive medium. People are living lives though television and films and the media rather than through their own lives. They are not living creatively. They are living reactively and passively all the time. We feel we need all this stimulation, but in fact we need very little.
"I suppose it dates back to an early childhood feeling that people weren't really saying what they were thinking. I think a lot of children grow up thinking, "Hang on, more is going on here, but people aren't saying it." I wanted to know what they really thought, what they were saying to themselves that they couldn't say out loud. People lie constantly, we all do. I think we suffer from the absence of the personal. When society lapses into the personal it gets all maudlin and inept and clumsy. Because we are not used to incorporating spontaneous, natural, truthful response."
"There is a kind of letting go of the particularities of this time in which I live. You start to relate more to nature. You start to identify with all cultures and all humans. The problems of existence and this whole matter of living you start to see as having been essentially the same for the past 2000 years. You begin to feel for all things from all times and places so you are no longer a creature of these times as much as you used to be: concerned with the novelties of the moment. I have been shedding the technologies, the gadgets. I don't have a television. I cook with things I have always cooked with. I believe if you can move away from the time in which you live and allow yourself to be drawn to the eternal aspects of life, and the simple tools which simplify life, then you can almost move from this life automatically into what follows in another."
"You see a society that's provided for by television is a society that says it doesn't need too many parks or natural situations for children to play in because television will look after them. So I think we, we start to construct the shape of our cities and our suburbs is built around this fact that people can be taken care of, they can be plonked in a room and absorbed in this virtual reality and reality itself becomes kind of a little bit degraded. I have a sense that it is mad making somewhere. That the quality of attention we give to each other as humans is degraded and diminished eventually with the sustained cultural usage"
"I made that piece with the total compassion I feel for what I see as a sad drift in the nature of family life in modern society, and that its infants and children who are so vulnerable are being forced onto a kind of production line of life too early. I think play, and tenderness and slowness and safety are being taken away more and more. You see I was just representing the voiceless one, the child, as I understand it. My sympathy is with the mother and child both-I understand all the different reasons for putting babies into care. One of the functions of my work is simply to try and speak for the voiceless ones, and there are many voiceless people."
"My work is often therapeutic because I often give expression to this inner voice. For example, I might make a small piece about a person oppressed and ground down by tiredness. This life is actually very exhausting. It doesn't give humans much time to contemplate anything. We are not resting ourselves and there is the feeling we have got to keep working and pushing really hard. So I draw the person running and running and running-for no apparent reason. And suddenly I find that I have touched on something that is perhaps universal."
"At the very simplest, I think as Van Gogh said and St Francis would have said, we must find nature. Just to be in the presence of nature your feelings and 'little seedlings' start to awake. So if we disassociate ourselves from God we cut nature out, too. More and more we turn nature into a commodity, into eco-tourism. But we must integrate it into the way people live every day."