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Notes From A Meek, 2021

From behind my screen, the window on the world during the pandemic, I was not the only one who felt some hope at the beginning of the lockdown. The dolphins were returning to the canals of Venice, the air over China was visibly cleaner than ever, satellites showed, here too for lack of air traffic, several long lost species were spotted in cities again, and my news- and facebook feeds kept feeding me more such hopeful messages. Weeks later most of these messages turned out to be fake, and with that the hope for the pandemic as a solution for all major issues melted away. While scrolling through my newsfeed during these days, where there was this small window of hope, I documented all kinds of reactions to what was going on, and collected them into 25 proposals for a better future. Hopeful solutions to big problems typed down by angry facebook users, naive thoughts about a better future in the news comments, wild statements against the system we are trapped in, all from this window of hope, a window that welcomed a thinking about alternative systems and solutions.

The images on the background are abstracted, and are all snippets of a single image, an archival image I found online showing the faded utopian dream of Henry Ford, who once tried to build a city called Fordlandia in Brazil, but it failed. As the first structures build by this big industrialist were exposed to the forces of nature again, nature took over, showing its versatility, adapting to a rather different utopian dream, perhaps one that fits the contemporary spirit better than the initial one.

These works for now only exist as exhibited framed works, in which there are 3 layers. On the bottom of each frame there's an acetone print, an abstract leftover of the image we see - this same image is in the middle of the frame, printed on a transparency. The glass is engraved with one of the proposals, numbered in various different numeric systems. 

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5).

Notes From A Meek

A. Any Minister that has worked on any policy, should be banned from getting a further career in the area of that policy after his duty. The influx of for instance ministers of finance that later become a CEO at a bank is a recipe for corruption and disaster. We must prevent that. In order to make sure they won’t remain jobless afterwards, they will have a life-long pension after their services for the country.

B. Education will be free. An effort must also be made to push this measure through worldwide. All countries should have the same tuition (free).

3. Health care should also be free. Everyone should have the right to never be afraid to go to the doctor. This also applies to dentists.

IV. Shell will lose its title ‘royal’, because there’s little to be royal about.

-. Speaking of Shell, they, like all other internationals operating in the Netherlands, should pay taxes for the services they provide in the country. The tax system for internationally operating companies should be radically changed, and no longer based on the address where they are registered (how medieval is that?) but on the amount of sales/services they provide in a region. Let’s strive to apply this for all of Europe, and hopefully the rest of the world will follow. If Facebook makes 23 billion in revenue with ads in the Netherlands, then that should be taxed in the Netherlands. Ireland (where FB is now officially based) should only get the Irish taxed revenue. Not for the whole of Europe. This way we can avoid the existence of tax havens and have companies pay locally for the services they locally provide.

F. The developing European rail network should be given absolute priority. Europe must be better connected; all major capitals must be within easy reach. This is the fastest and most pleasant way to create a sense of unity; to make it really low profile to get into other countries and see what they have to offer. The sense of borders in Europe is still quite strong, an affordable train network connecting the entire continent would reduce that.

七. State and church should be separated (didn’t we write this down before?) – so political parties based on religious learnings should be banned.

8. The state should never interfere with journalism.

9. The state should never interfere with art in any form. (unless the concept of art is abused to physically hurt living beings)

X. Machines that convert seawater into drinking water should be distributed worldwide. (some proven technological options are already available)

II. Referenda can only be applied for local issues that affect a region of up to 100.000 people.

十二. A system that calculates fines and other financial penalties by ratio will go into effect, since the law should be the same for everyone, so should the impact of the penalty if you break it.

13. All claims made in parliament must be fact-checked, this is the only way to inform the people and keep their vote rational. A list of disputable claims will be published in all newspapers each week, with a list of sources providing the information used to dispute the claim.

ΙΔ´. Online insults, threats and other forms of verbal/written abuse will be punished in the same way as in real life. This may result in a serious prison sentence. The first offense will be a warning, the second a fine and a ban from social media for a period of time. If the perpetrator uses social media under a pseudonym during his ‘ban time’ to make further death threats or something similar, this will be treated in the same way as violating a restraining order.

O. Totalitarian regimes will be dealt with as such, and business with regimes known to violate human rights will no longer be allowed.

ט"ז. We will welcome those who are willing to flee from such regimes.

Q. Countries within the EU that violate human rights, and attempt to tear down basic equality between sex, gender, race or preference will lose all financial support from the EU when laws that push these boundaries are put into effect.

R. Growing your own food will be subsidized and encouraged by free agricultural courses and the provision of fertile plots of unused land in urban and rural areas. The government will provide organic seeds (no Monsanto stuff) and growing supplies to all families in need.

١٩. All drugs will be legalized.

<<. A giant offshore wind farm must be built.

U. We will no longer import meat products, nor will we export it. Buying meat grown and slaughtered in your own community will be encouraged, as opposed to buying meat from large-scale production factories, which will close over time. Limiting scale and transportation of animal products will help prevent future pandemics.

V. There will be high taxes on consumer goods made in low-wage countries like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam to discourage the exorbitant consumption of single-use clothing and other single-use items.

�. Funding for the arts will be rebuilt over time so that all the theaters, exhibition halls and concert halls can continue to inspire us to all thing freely and critically, to express ourselves, to be entertained and to be encouraged to engage with someone else’s ideas. These are essential building blocks for a tolerant society, which have been vastly underestimated in recent years.

24. Banks will be thoroughly screened for risky investment funds, these will now be banned (internationally). Banks must go back to providing a service instead of being casinos. Banks that operate abroad, or are foreign, will have to pass this scrutiny before they are allowed to do business here. Their entire operation must be focused on service, and they must not hold risky funds, nor must they be affiliated with banks that do.

Y. Lobbying: We need to separate the firm and state. No corporation should donate to political campaigns, especially not anonymously. Nor should they be allowed to buy political influence, in any form. Currently, most of the lobbying sector acts as an intermediary between the corporation and the state, and should therefore be abolished.