2012 – oil on canvas, 150×200 cm / 59×79 in
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”. Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi made a crucial observation when he said that humanity has a natural tendency to consume. This dog, comfortably installed in his leather couch, is the perfect mirror of what Gandhi called “a society without limits”. Without limits to our tendency to consume, he explained, we can become obsessed with satisfying our desires, consuming ever more as we chase what little satisfaction we achieve.
The number of obese people, and dogs, in the world has now surpassed the 800 million malnourished and still we continue our blind dash for more, ever more. To buy vast quantities of unnecessary goods, waste much of our food rather than eat it (about one third), is effective to generate growth and raise the Gross Domestic Product or GDP. At the same time we are moving further and further away from what really counts; Nature, which becomes a distant dream, like the trees in this painting with the dog.
All this happens because of a one-sided, materialistic, view of things. It has been calculated that all the services rendered by Nature have a value double the global GDP, and still they are not counted anywhere in our statistics. Robert Kennedy had the perfect description for this phenomenon when he said that “The GDP measures everything except what makes life worthwhile”.
Don’t you think this dog would be much better off in the countryside, instead of lingering in his couch? Should we not change our calculations to measure quality of life rather than quantity; to measure durability, sustainability, and a general well-being in harmony with our natural and social environment, instead of piling up on consumer goods until we choke? How can we measure happiness and Love?