Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Universe And Trump


Pen And Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
I have always been a bit of a science geek. Early on I was obsessed with watching, and reading, Carl Sagan's Cosmos. It simply is fascinating. As I got older a dear friend, who is a bit of a scientist, was always willing to indulge my curiosity and share his knowledge. Today that interest manifest itself in the consumption of many audio books about science. These are more global perspectives, as clearly my chief love in the world of brain growth lies in the humanities, nevertheless the learning continues. It was while listening to one such book, I listen when I draw, that this piece was conceived and rendered.

However while doing it I kept thinking how the universe in many ways is like Donald Trump. More accurately how he is like the universe. Trump is an ever expanding ego force in our world. I have known of him since I was a boy, and now nearly thirty years later he continues to dominates our media and our consciousness more then ever.

Science has come to understand in the last hundred years that our universe is expanding. For a time it was speculated that it would at some point contract under its own gravity. The anti Big Bang if you will. However recent inquiries and research has shown that is unlikely. The universe will continue to expand indefinitely and one day will be a cold, and nearly dead place.

Trump seems to have no bounds within his own expansion. It is very perplexing given the inordinate amount of stuff he comes up with that should slow it down. For reasons unknown, he doesn't stop expanding. This is also similar to the universe as science has barely scratched the surface as to why the universe is expanding. There must be an energy that is driving it ever outward, but as of yet we have been incapable of grasping this. Speculation lies in the realm of dark energy. If this is true the universe would be abundant with this dark energy. Research and experiment is underway attempting to detect it, but to this point this has not happened.

One could simply say that Trump's energy is the fact that America is ripe for a demogogue. And many have made references to historical moments when such people have seized power. Hitler being the prime example. But this is not Germany in the 1930's. This is America where we have seen nearly two hundred and forty years of a peaceful transfer of power with no significant repercussions. In all of history that is truly unprecedented. So what is it about this moment that is driving so many to follow a man who seems to defy all norms of decency. What is it that is allowing them to be caught up in Trumps ever expanding narcissism?

And more frightening, what further dark energy might we discover as this demagogue continues to expand. Perhaps a reckoning is coming. Perhaps Trump will experience a Big Crunch as was once thought our universe will endure. Or maybe he will expand indefinitely and simply fade as his energy weakens from over reach. Time will tell. However we do not have billions of years as the universe does. The urgency is now.

I hope you enjoy the art and thoughts.

Doul

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

An Ethical Dilemma

Pen & Ink Illustration By Doug Ashby
Firstly, sorry for being gone so long. Life simply has been busy. However recent improvements in technology should help a bit.

This image has caused a bit of confusion for those who have seen it. Often people do not know what to make of the left side. When I inform them that it is a human embryo at day 9 after conception they simply go, Oh. I think they wonder what would compel me to illustrate such a thing.

The idea came from a serious of books I listened to about how science is ever improving our lives and making the whole world generally a better place to live. I know that is a bitter pill for many to swallow, for varied reasons. Some simply watch to much news and can not believe the world is a better place then it ever has been to live. I do agree there is much work to be done. Many see the embryo as a battle line in an moral war. One that I believe is being wrongly fought at the expense of advances that could have profound implication for all of humanity.

I wish the world we lived in was one where all human life conceived lived an ideal existence and that all had an opportunity for success. However that is overly ideal and the reality is many are born into situations that are anything but conducive to well being. Some choose, I believe wisely, to abort their pregnancies and spare the person a life that begins moving against terrible odds. The truth is those aborted fetuses could posses the requisite material we need to solve some of our most vexing medical issues and provide those alive with much less misery.

That again is a hard pill to swallow. But if any of you have seen the devastation that demntia brings to those living with it, and around it, you might want to see what scientist can accomplish to treat it with those embryo's. And that is just one possibility in many. The ethical debate on this matter, that has prevented so much movement in this country towards such research, should be debated more openly and politicians should not fear an ignorant electorate when the potential is so great. Other nations will not have these dilemmas and could potentially reap the benefits of such advances first. Then we will buy it from them. That is also economically unsound for our future.

There is so much to this debate, on many fronts. Ignorance must be combatted with the same fierceness, and hopes in educating, that the ignorant bring to the table. That is difficult however for the pragmatic type. 

I hope you enjoy the art and thoughts.

Doug

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Connective Morals

Pen & Ink Drawing By Dou
An age old dilemma,
choose one act, or another.

This is something we all are faced with everyday.
This is something that in time we learn defines who we are.

But is there a degree of control, or are we at the mercy of who we are.

What is it that makes us who we are?
What is it that guides our ability to decide one action from another.
What is it that influences our moral choices.

This is an age old dilemma,
to choose one act or another.

This is something we face everyday,
These ongoing actions do in time come to define us.

What if anything can we do about it though.

Lately I have been listening to a lot of books on brains, morals and character. There is a lot of interesting work going on in these areas as science begins to illuminate things that were once far out of our view. And in this particular epoch I think we all need to ask ourselves what it is that defines us morally. I don't necessarily mean the individual either. That seems to be compromising our compass a bit.

So this artwork is inspired by some of the learning I have been doing. It is the first in a series that has a few more ideas bouncing around in my grey matter.

I hope you like it. If you do feel free to grab a print download for yourself.

Thanks, Doug.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Difficulty Of Change And Acceptence

Doug Ashby Pen & Ink Drawing
What is the noblest of all human endeavors,
What in the end manifests our future,
What then is the outcome of our actions?

Should we be committed to a path no matter,
Should we swear allegiance at all cost to a higher purpose,
Should we accept ideas that challenge beliefs?

If we do then will our life have purpose,
If we do then will we find content and harmony,
If we do then will progress be a closed door.

For what if progress challenges our notions,
For what if our nature demands us to adapt,
For what if a purpose is really an adaptation?

What then is the noblest of all human endeavors,
What then becomes of manifestation,
What actions then challenge us to rethink our outcomes.

There is great difficulty in change, and it can be incredibly hard to accept challenges to our dogma. 

However they are inevitable. 

Perhaps acceptance of change then is the noblest endeavor.

If you like the art you see here then please feel free to download your own print copy. Simply follow the link provided.

Hope you enjoy the thoughts and art,

Doug


 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Personal Moral Choice Or Survival

Pen & Ink Drawing By Doug Ashby
Ray Kurzweilis an interesting guy. I have listened to a few of his books and for the life of me I can not decide if I like his ideas, or agree with them. Some of them are pretty out their. His book, "The Singularity Is Near", was exceptional difficult to get through. The ideas were, in my humble opinion, a little to far fetched. I wonder if other listeners and readers felt as I do. I was almost ready to give up on him as an author, which is hard as he basically pioneered so much that is so useful and important. However I didn't and I tried his latest book. "How To Create A Mind."

This book was along a similar path as the previous one mentioned, except it was a little more boiled down and not as grand in vision, as well as grandstanding. The basic premise is that we are near to having the technology to not only completely understand the workings of our minds, but to also enhance, artificially, their capabilities. Basically making us cyborgs. It also addresses the real possibility that in the near future we are likely to create a true A.I. and what that will mean to all of us, socially and morally. This artwork here deals with the enhancement aspect of our own brains.

Sci-fi has for many years envisioned the possibility of human technological enhancement. Many believe that sci-fi not only exists as an accurate predictor of our future but also exists to help us prepare for the many challenges our advances in science will bring, both morally and socially. I tend to fall into the camp that sees it that way. In Kurzweil's "How To Create A Mind" he discusses the possibility that through computer integrated technology we will be able to enhance our own intelligence both by adding memory, connecting to the internet and allowing us to think faster, as computers now compute faster then we think. I find this to be interesting and the possibility raises many questions.

Who will first have access to this technology when it arises. As with all technologies it often first goes to those who can afford it. In many ways to those who will not benefit most from it. The uber wealthy in many ways will just use this as a way to further keep their grip on the world. What also are the implications as the tech becomes more widespread? Will there will be those that find this alteration to be abhorrent and against human nature. Will we then see a "Gattaca" like effect where those who choose not to utilize such technology will e left behind? Will a new sub class emerge as in "Gattaca."

I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter and to get a discussion going. If Kurzweil is right on this one, and he has been right many times, perhaps now is the time to start thinking about it. At this moment I do not know what I would would choose for myself if I had a chance to do such a thing. Would my concern for my children's future be different then mine? I just don't know right now.

So lets chat. Get in touch at dashbyart@gmail.com. If you would like to download a print of the artwork to do yourself then simply visit my downloads page.

Thanks and I hope you like the art.

Doug

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Whole Life Force

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
In my many years of cooking I have become a big fan of purchasing a whole chicken as opposed to it's cut up individual pieces. It is safe to say that it is more economical as the processing adds to the cost. However it may not seem that way to you at the time of purchase due to spending a larger amount in one shot, but when you achieve three meals out of that one chicken, well that adds up.

My preferred way to utilize the chicken is to simply cut it in half, removing the backbone and boiling for stock. Make sure you use a sturdy and sharp knife for this as it makes the work easier. Then I typically roast one half that night and brine the other half for two days before cooking. The last time I did this I smoked the second half, took the meat off the bone and made chicken salad with it. That made a delicious dinner and lunch the next day. Oh and the leftover smoky skin and bones makes an impressive smoky stock.

The drawing here is my homage to the whole chicken. It is drawn cut up into it's constituent pieces, which I sometimes do. And those breasts are further cut in half cause they are big. A while back I started purchasing all my meat from a few local farms that raise them. Personally I think they taste better, as they are raised better, and taste tends to drive my choices. The electron in the drawing is there to symbolize the life force behind the chicken. Sorry if that bothers you but one must consume life to live. Another reason I prefer local chickens, they tend to be closer to their nutritious life force. That's probably what makes them taste better.

I do hope you like my drawing. If you wish to download a PDF print file for your own use please do so by visiting my downloads page.

Thanks,

Doug

Friday, April 3, 2015

To Toil And To Till

Pen & Ink Fine Art By Doug Ashby
To toil and till once was all.
To toil and till once was considered undignified.
How was it possible that we were so wrong.

Impressed with our perceived dominion we set about to save.
And save we did but at great loss.

Now some are beginning realize that to toil and till is worth our deference.

Now some are beginning to understand that we wish to not be adrift when it comes to toil and tillage, and we understand that what once was all needs to be acknowledged.

And celebrated.

For to toil and to till is worth the energy and redress of all.

A stippled pen and ink drawing of an eggplant. I know it might not look exactly like that, but that was the inspiration. I will always return to food as subject as it is an important source of creativity for me, as well as nourishment.

If you are interested in purchasing this original drawing please visit my store page. If you are interested in downloading a free print your own copy then please visit my downloads page.

Thanks and I hope you like the artwork,

Doug.