Slanted #30

Slanted-Magazine-Athens_00

I have an essay in issue 30 of Slanted, this one devoted to design and art in Athens, Greece.

Slanted-Magazine-Athens_04

This essay is titled “Faith/Void Split”, which is also the title of another essay that I wrote for Slanted #18 back in 2012. It has nothing to do with the other essay. I just like being contrarian sometimes.

Slanted-Magazine-Athens_33

Here is an excerpt from the essay:

Talking about gods and goddesses brings up some big cultural and societal considerations—notably, ideas of belief and notions of faith. I didn’t think about faith or belief very much for many years. I was and continue to be agnostic (a hard act to pull off when you’ve consorted with the immortal). Additionally, I worked primarily alone for many years, so I didn’t have to worry about these kinds of things. But then I started teaching in two very different design schools where the students were Buddhist. Or Shinto. Or sometimes both. Or sometimes nothing. Or sometimes Muslim. Or Christian. Or Mormon. Or smaller, less-known religions, and I just had to learn to become tolerant of different flavors of religious folks really fast. I’d adhered to the old Amebix “No gods, no masters” credo a bit too well for years, and learning to be someone who is open-minded with people of other belief systems kind of takes a lot of work.

Ultimately, I was able to boil down my ideas about faith and belief, and distill them into how I thought about my students, instead of how I thought about my students’ spiritualities. Some of my students are so exceedingly promising, talented, intelligent, and kind that I have faith in them and their abilities. On the other hand, I have many students that I must actively believe in and devote much of my energy to, because they have potential, even if it is often unrealized. Faith is when people are so talented that you know that they will create amazing work no matter most situations. Belief is… well, the opposite. Belief is having to try.

You can pick up a copy of Slanted #30 here.