Camera: Katie Osediacz
I had been lamenting for some time on the impact of humankind on our beautiful planet and how the system makes perversely utilitarian greed based decisions on behalf of humanity, our planet and the beings with whom we share it (and who have just as much right to the bounty of its miraculous balance as we do).
Sitting in discussion with Katie Osediacz and Megan Miller in a classroom of a Boston art school in 2007, we watched a video piece by Katie Osediacz. In watching the video, the viewer was asked to look into the eyes of a horse without respite and thus to focus on a quality that might be described as a sort of urgent nervousness and longing.
For me it was a powerful piece of work in this sense and I posed this question to my friends:
“How do we begin to apologize to the beings with which we share our beautiful planet and who have just as much claim to it as we do, and who live in harmony with their surroundings (until we create disharmony for them)?”
If one accepts that everything is connected at the most fundamental level (as long held by various eastern philosophies and now being revealed and disseminated through the, decades old, science of quantum mechanics) then our fellow beings are much more in touch with reality than most of us humans are, cut off in our civilization: our illusion of separation, our technological progress and our blind quest for material comfort.
And we have much to learn about our reality by looking into their eyes, whether an oiled bird in the gulf, a mercury-crazed polar bear or a horse on a farm in a seemingly unspoiled corner of the world.
To me Katie’s video was a opportune reminder of my own desire to be part of the process of acknowledging where we are as a species in terms of our impact on our surroundings, in order that we can move beyond it and assume the positive custodianship that we are capable of and that we created the need for.
Katie suggested that I might take the idea of acknowledgment through apology into action, and actually start to apologize to our fellow beings.
And so Project Apology was begun.
With Katie behind the camera, I began apologizing to beings in and around Boston in the winter of 2007 .
Since the first series of apologies in 2007, life events put the project on the back burner, and it is now regaining its momentum out of a renewed sense of urgency.
Thank you Katie for inspiring me to take the idea of apology into the actuality of apology. I could not have imagined the scope and breadth of insights that have arisen from it, and it is only just beginning.
Some would say that is is ‘sad’, and perhaps it is, yet it is where we are at, and only through mass acknowledgment of the reality, can we take effective action to change things, because what is required now in tempering climate change and habitat depletion (of which species extinction is a symptom, though it has other causes too) is a massive social, cultural and political shift – away from material considerations and greed towards the sustainable greater good for all inhabitants of our wonderful planet.