The Ontological Museum’s collection policy is such that no distinction is made as to who can contribute to the museum. From the very beginning we have had an open door, open arms policy. The gate stands open, there are no gatekeepers, no committees, no judges. Virtually anyone can contribute to the collection within the range of our collection goals and once inside our gates all works are cherished equally as a part of the whole. We, as institutional policy, strive to maintain a vision that looks beyond the differences or distinctions such as race, gender, age, culture, class, experience, economic standing, market value, in order to record the panoramic nature of humanity as a whole in the contemporary moment.
In this moment there are many issues being discussed related to racial bias, cultural bias, economic bias, etc. and what we in the present consider the wrongful patterns of the past that continue to reverberate and reecho in the present frustrating progress. Old patterns, old ways of thinking die hard. The more institutionalized these patterns are, the harder to see and to change. From our perspective we see all of us as fundamentally human. This is the root of all of our relationships among ourselves and with the rest of the world we occupy and all of its inhabitants – the other living beings that we share this planet with.
There can be no question that there are endless inequities in life. Each of us is a minority of one but all of us together are also only one – one humanity. What that means to each of us is a continuously evolving perspective based on an endless number of factors. But in the end we are all one family, one species of beings and that is our common thread that binds us all together. It is natural for each and every one of us that we become an individual, that we identify ourselves as one different than all others. It is also natural that we identify ourselves with being a part of various communities. We might start out identifying ourselves as a part of a family, then as a community of children. Eventually we identify ourselves as a part of a particular race, or gender or culture or religion. We might begin to identify ourselves as a part of an economic class or a community of specialists like being a part of the art community or the medical community or a part of a particular political philosophy, etcetera and so on. Each of us can identify ourselves as being a part of an indefinite number of fluid communities and at the same time we are not a part of many other communities usually by default but yes, sometimes by exclusion. But we all tend to include and exclude others, we tend to distinguish, we tend to discriminate, these are all human traits that we all share. We all also tend to love, to hate, to appreciate and to resent others depending on our particular place or perception of place in relation to others and how others place us in relation to themselves. These are all human things, we all do it.
But what can be a good strategy is to develop a positive attitude toward ourselves and toward others. It is up to each of us to develop tolerance, sympathy, empathy, the ability to harmonize with others, to respect ourselves and everyone else as well, to overlook what can be overlooked, to call things out when they need to be called out, to be brave, to watch out for the well-being others , to be helpful when help is required, to allow others to be who they are, to treat others as we would want to be treated, to become inwardly peaceful and act thoughtfully from that peace. And to practice all of these things unilaterally, on our own regardless of what others do. Making the world a better place is something each of us can do right where we are. Each can take care of their spot in the world. Make our own policies then try to master them and live by them. Each can develop our strengths, correct our weaknesses. Tend to those things that are ours to tend to and let others tend to their things the best they are able.
Studying the past has it’s value but occupying the present is where the power is and the place from which we build the foundations of the future. Remodeling and refashioning what a different generation no longer with us built doesn’t work if the foundation is broken. Walk away from it. They are gone, we are here.
What kind of future do we want to see? Start building it. That’s our solution. Start from the ground up. Make something new, something better. That’s what architects do and painters and product designers, poets and composers. Why not societies? Start with a fresh sheet. Let’s begin there and then let’s continue step by step. Each individually and all collectively.