文化 Culture

VIDEO: A dance of destruction on planet Earth

Watch the chilling history of environmental exploitation unfold in an animated video about man’s destruction of the earth

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Steve Cutts's "Man" is not as innocent as he seems. (Image courtesy Viral Spiral)

The blank-eyed figure in the video below looks innocuous enough. Yet as he blithely dances through half a million years of planetary destruction, he morphs from whimsical to something utterly terrifying.

The video, “Man,” is the brainchild of London-based artist Steve Cutts. In three and a half minutes, it excoriates humanity’s contamination of virtually every element of the natural world, from hormone-pumped chicken and polluted seas to e-waste and snakeskin boots.

Set to the increasingly ominous score of composer Edvard Grieg’s classical piece “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” the video packs an emotional punch that no amount of climate or pollution data can match.

“It’s my general view of what mankind has done for the earth,” Cutts said.

Cutts, 33, is a UK illustrator who began working in animation three years ago after moving to London. He posted the video in December. Since then, it has been viewed some 5 million times on different social media sites around the world.

Despite the grim subject matter, response to the video has been overwhelmingly positive, Cutts said.

“Absolutely stunning,” wrote one viewer on the US video-sharing site Vimeo. “Are we really this destructive? We simply must change our ways.”

chinadialogue is pleased to introduce the video to a Chinese audience. For those who don’t read English, the character’s shirt says “Welcome,” and the introductory caption reads “500,000 years ago.” Apart from that, its message needs no translation. 


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The relationship of humans and the environment

In traditional Chinese culture, wise men have always believed that the rise and fall of human moral integrity and the state of the natural environment are intimately related. This is concept referred to as the “Unity of Heaven and Man”. The origin of this idea comes from the most important ancient classic of traditional Chinese civilization: The Book of Changes.
This kind of thinking can be interpreted in the following way:
When the moral fabric of society begins to fall apart, the deterioration of society’s cultural environment inevitably follows. The breakdown of the cultural environment then influences every person’s way of thinking, and people’s activities are directed by their thought processes. After people’s moral integrity (i.e. mental state) has fallen, it will bring about many perverse affairs, such as harming important long-term benefit for the sake of obtaining momentary benefit. In many ways, China’s current environmental pollution is the result of people naively pursuing their own benefit while neglecting the common good. This behavioral pattern unceasingly creates an evident tragedy: Cutting down an entire tree in order to obtain one apple.
From a broader standpoint, Western-led human civilization’s current perception toward the relationship between life and nature is still rather limited, and this kind of limitation will lead to the occurrence of the previously mentioned perverse affairs. For example, in Western medicine’s chemotherapy, the damage caused by anti-biotic medicine to the human body’s internal environment has already attracted people’s concern.
Eastern and Western culture possess fundamental differences between them, and both sides each follow different philosophies. Therefore, they have developed completely different systems of civilization. However, these two civilizations, who understand the universe from different points of view, will certainly follow the process of deepening exchange and the continuous blending of Eastern and Western cultures, forming a brand-new, more tolerant and well-rounded human knowledge system.

Note: The above mentioned Eastern civilization is referring to the traditional culture of ancient China. The culture of present-day China and ancient China’s Eastern culture are completely different in their spiritual content.