Keep the country small and its population controlled (2019)
Found concrete/rebar and stones from Bajie, Yunnan
In the final section of the Book of Dao and Virtue,
Laozi writes: "Keep the country small and its population controlled...Let
the people be content with their food, like their clothing, enjoy their
customs, and settle down in their homes. Let the neighboring countries look at
each other, yet no citizen of one visit another..." For Laozi the containment of
community and culture was an ideal that promised lasting stability.
Where are we now? Many world leaders seem intent on putting Laozi's genie back in the bottle. Governments in
the United States and Europe are increasingly nativist and strive for more
concrete (literally) borders, fewer immigrants, absolute assimilation, and a warding off of those cultures deemed
threatening to the peace of the majority. In other countries,
policies ostensibly based on the philosophy of "keeping different cultures
united yet distinct" are actually motivated by a desire for a
homogeneous state, in which all people share a system
of like values and, effectively, have their edges and distinctions planed.
We face a choice: we can fight tooth and nail to make our own culture
dominant at the exclusion or disintegration of other cultures; or, we can embrace all
cultures as valuable. Do we want familiarity at all costs, or are we willing to
nourish a more colorful society?
When you view this sculpture, you have to bend over the
heart-stone suspended in the middle to read the small text. This involves you
in the balance. Sometimes the biggest problems arise from our having just enough exposure to a culture to fear it, yet not
enough exposure to embrace it.