Flagrans Veritatis Studio: "Burning with the Zeal for Truth"

As humans became civilized we found it necessary to create a society in which people have a feeling of security. However, in order to create that feeling of security the majority willingly traded individualistic thinking for a society in which a minority group dictates how we engage in all aspects of our lives. The purpose of this exhibit is to explore "the truth" of the dynamics of power between these two distinct groups.

In Epic of Gilgamesh the reader is told the tale of King Gilgamesh who abuses his power and mistreats his subjects. On the other hand, Enkidu, the "ruler" in the wild Enkidu, causes the hunters to lament, saying, "[He fills in the] pits that I [myself] dig, [he pulls up] the snares that I lay. [He sets free from my grasp] all the beasts of the field, [he stops] me doing the work of the wild" (6). Unlike Gligamesh, Enkidu uses his position of power to cater to those who need protecting. This piece is a representation of how a ruler can be benevolent and use his/her power to protect; like a shepherd protecting his flock at all cost.
When discussing what motivates people to mistreat each other, some claim that the desire for worldly possessions causes people to devolve as they work towards becoming a part of an elite group (the powerful ruling minority). The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the tale of Enkidu, a man unburdened by the desire to seek out worldly possessions; being "tamed" by Shamhat, a temple prostitute. I believe that Shamhat is a symbolism for power and status in civilization; and their interactions highlights that some people are able to be close to power without being corrupted by it. Although "she did for the man the work of a woman" (8); Enkidu was willing to challenge Gilgamesh. I believe this painting provides a visual for how eagerly Enkidu succumbs to the lure of civilization.
From birth we are subliminally taught about our society and our role in it. In The Trial of Socrates, Socrates defends himself against the accusations brought against him by saying, " besides, they also spoke to you [the jury] at that age when you would most readily believe them, when some of you were children or young boys. Thus they simply won their case by default, as there was no defense" (28). This piece would have certainly appealed to Socrates because it shows how dangerous misinformation can be to the masses. In addition to this, the argument could be made that in order to ensure the masses think in a particular way the ruling minority gives only the information they want the masses to know/believe.
After being sentenced to death Socrates spoke with his friend Crito to whom he explains that, " the majority could do the very worst things, then they might also be able to do the very best ones - and everything would be fine" (64). Although the majority does not explicitly hold the power in society, the majority is powerful when united. The pyramids are seen as the pinnacle of civilization; therefore this piece highlights the importance of the masses in our social structure. Although the majority may not realize it, they have the power to create the society they want to live in.
Humans are innately curious and ambitious and these traits have propelled the creation and evolution of "civilization". In the Holy Bible it is evident in the interaction between Eve and the serpent that humans are easily swayed towards making self-serving choices. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God" (2). It is noteworthy that women are often portrayed as the gateway to the corruption of humanity throughout literature in history. It is undeniable that language is a powerful tool through which certain thoughts can be engrained in the minds of the populous; and religion is an excellent mode of delivery. The power status of women is such that regardless of one's social standing (haves or have nots) women are viewed as the weakest link and the key to "civilization". This piece depicts a woman who like wealth and power is appealing but can lead to temptation.
Religion is a pillar of all societies that subtly influences even the most mundane aspects of our lives. In the book of Luke there is clear tension between the minority (the haves) haves and the majority (the have nots). However, through religion the social structure is maintained by giving the masses the promise that, "blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh... But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep" (838). Through the religious doctrine the potential rebellion of certain individuals who are mistreated is pacified. The image represents how through religion an oppressive social structure can be justified or ignored because of the human hope/belief that ultimately we are all under God's control( since the armillary sphere sits on top of a well crafted man-made structure).
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