Is Empathy only present if you are well and well fed?

Starvation Diet. What is it?

Mmmmmm chocolate, Mmmmmm sandwich, Mmmmmm doughnuts, Mmmmmm beer. Spoilt for choice. Trying to resist. When I resist I put the money in a pot. When the pot is full I send it (the money, not the pot) to somebody who needs it to survive. The art comes about through the documentation of the process, here and in other places. There is no end to this project.

10 Feb 2010

Gone all High Brow

It had to happen at some point. Here comes the theory.

Am reading "Small is Beautiful-Economics as if people mattered" by Eric Shumacher. He was talking about Divergent and Convergent problems. Convergent being easy to come to solutions about, write down and sell to others and divergent "Which have to be lived and are solved by death" and allow contradicting thoughts to exist in the same place. Divergent thoughts keep life going forcing us to strain ourselves to a level above ourselves whilst convergant thinking leads us away from life. I was thinking about the Starvation Diet Project in relation to this and it seems to smack of the Divergent. The two clauses I hold in my head are the "Want to Loose weight, want to look better, want to care for myself." the second is the "Want to redress the balance between having too much and having too little in the world, want to make the place a bit fairer, better, stronger" . They are not mutually exclusive but often they have seemed that way. When I focus on how I have or have not lost weight I become introspective and this leads me to take actions to swing back the other way, looking for pictures of starvation reality, seeking out the right charity etc. the challenge is to hold both thoughts in my head at the same time. That is the core of the project, two ideas which constantly bounce off each other, move apart, cross paths. The other element which I thought was true to divergent thinking is the way that the project has to be lived through and may only be resolved in death, (when I would no doubt loose a lot of weight pretty rapidly). I guess I could falsify information or just plane make it up but what would be the point of that?


  1. The selfish act of "I want to lose weight" is the thing that will give this grounding in something people can relate to on a day-to-day basis. People will then follow the reasoning to arrive at the real meaning themselves. People should respond in a stronger way than to what is for most the abstract notion of world hunger.

  2. I think you are right. It does allow it to be less abstract from day to day. Its easy to shed a tear at the misfortune of somebody and then turn your head and get on with life. If the life lived supports the values of your life there is no act of turning away.

  3. Maybe it would work like town twinning? Each individual twinned with a person less fortunate. This is the principle of charities like Action Aid where you get a specific child to sponsor and money given goes to help that person's village. Maybe I should approach them.