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October 11, 2013
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Sower of Discord by jflaxman Sower of Discord by jflaxman
A gigantic, malevolent figure strides across a burning world, fuelling the flames with symbols of conflicting ideologies. None alone is as dangerous as the toxic combination of messianic, exclusionist, apocalyptic and utopian themes that finds expression in them all. This concept dates back to 2003, but as the intervening years have reinforced the pessimism that prompted the original, I felt it worth revisiting.
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:iconcherardon:
I have your original, and found it better. This one looks too much like pulled out of a comic book. Too overdramatic.
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:iconjflaxman:
This one's gone through a few manifestations, and responses to each have been mixed. When you say the original, do you mean the other colour version or the even older monochrome?
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:iconcherardon:
The grim one, with the naked bald guy dispensing purely religious symbols (which I figured was both ballsy and absolutely spot on).
It also looked more like a real painting -with a perhaps message- than a hissy fit from an teenage boy listening to Iron Maiden all day long. :D
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:iconcherardon:
My, those typos. Sheesh... -_-
Need sleep.
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:iconjflaxman:
No need to apologise. The first version featured a robed figure and dates from late high school (I listened to a lot of Maiden, so your comment cracked me up). Most of my friends preferred the robed figure so I went back to it the third time round. 

I've got mixed thoughts about this piece. I don't normally use such lurid colours but I wanted to try something new.

The first version also dated from a time when I felt all religion was evil, but these days that seems a little simplistic (indeed adolescent hissy fit). My conscience compelled me to add other symbols. The monotheistic faiths have historically been the most divisive, but secular ideologies that share some of their worst attributes have also done the world great harm. If National Socialism and Communism (for example) have been less durable than Christianity, Islam, etc. it's because the very human failings of their equally human "gods" are more evident. Traditional gods only have to deliver their promises in a presumed afterlife and will always be infallible in the minds of their followers.

The strength of all these ideologies - religious and otherwise - is their ability to unite and inspire people of a given race, class or faith; but all tend to demonise outsiders, often to their detriment. I've touched on the four main factors above; removing one or more from any doctrine would make it less dangerous. Two non-exclusionist religions could peacefully coexist (as often happened in pre-Christian Europe, where different pantheons were merged) while an intensely nationalistic, but non-expansionist dictator, might prove more successful than one whose popularity depended on repeated military victories (compare the histories of Pinochet, Franco, Napoleon and Mussolini). 

On a purely aesthetic note, everyone's got their own ideas, and I think this concept's strong enough to revisit yet again. You may see another version some day!






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:iconsarahcolleenjane:
very powerful. any one that can not see or feel the beauty of truth in this is dead inside or there is to much darkness for them to is reality
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:iconnosvertu:
Nosvertu Oct 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
We all kill for something daily; the symbol we herald means little.
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:iconcherardon:
Yesterday I killed a salad.
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:iconnosvertu:
Nosvertu Dec 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You are truly a monster.
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:iconcherardon:
I know and I wheep at night. :(
I only walk on pavement so I don't kill grass.
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