NOTES , 1992
1 June 1992
So-called circumstances cannot be changed by reason and insight; they change themselves in unpredictable ways, more or less spontaneously.
For instance, the realization of climatic damage and the prospect of a climatic catastrophe creates fear, but no effective action towards changing it.
On the contrary,fear is only a sign of our certainty that we can change nothing, and to palliate our fear we go in for displacement activities that make not the slightest possible difference; just like our ancestors, who faced up to Nature, armed with nothing but prayers and sacrificial offerings.
Nature goes on, as naturally merciless as ever. It creates the continual changes that we have always feared. We are helplessly and painfully at its mercy, and can do but palliate and comfort ourselves.
Palliation is always childish: a few green corners in the car parks. Comfort is always a lie: false promises of a beautiful future. That seems to sum us up.
3 June 1992
Consciousness is the capacity to know that we and others are and were and will be. It is therefore the capacity to visualize, and therefore the belief that keeps us alive. Without visualizing the future, and our own goals and tasks, we should vegetate and – since we lack the instinct that the animals have – we should perish. Belief ( view, opinion, conviction, hope, plan, etc. ) is thus our most important quality and capacity. And in the form of faith it can dominate us with such power and conviction that we transform it into destructive superstition. That is why we must always confront belief with scepticism and analysis.
The Daily Practice of Painting-Gerhard Richter