Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, Austria

I have kept a philosophy of life for some years now, one that I call “on the circle”. I believe there is repetition in life, not just one straight path. Being ‘on the circle’ is like a spiral, always changing in movement, repeating a cycle and reaching inward to one goal. The straight path leads to nowhere. Those that seek the straight path will always be tangents, uniting for a time, but eventually travelling away from the desires they seek. The idea is simply this: If you run on a straight line with one goal you will run right past anything that is changing as you go. This is good for some people. If you travel ‘on the circle’ you are ever changing and able to catch the things you may have missed because they changed. This is a dynamic interaction. The linear way is static and considers only what it encounters on its way towards an end goal. It is a difference in meaning. Does the end goal matter more than the journey? These are deep questions for each of us. I make no judgements, nor condemn one way over the other. Some people are linear and seek one direction, one goal. I am a person who likes the dynamic refinement¬† “on the circle”.

I like this poem by the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser who condemns a straight line. His points are well taken, if perhaps a bit over the top. He does make some valid points. Read for yourself:


An ecologist without a conscience is doomed
to failure, and the same is true of an artist
who does not bow to the laws of nature.

The world has not improved.
The dangers felt have turned into reality.

Nevertheless, today, although
nothing has been done,
my longstanding warnings are at last
being taken seriously.

Yet there are still no lawns on the roofs,
no tree-tenants, no plant-driven water
purification plants, no humus toilets, no rights
to windows, no duties to the trees.
The essential reafforestation of the town
has not come about.

What we lack is a peace treaty
with nature.

We must restore to nature the territories
we have unlawfully taken from it.
Everything horizontal
under the sky belongs to nature.
Everything touched by the rays of the sun,
everywhere where the rain falls is nature’s
sacred and inviolable property.
We men are merely nature’s guests.

In 1952 I spoke of the civilization of
make-believe, the one we must
shake off, myself, the first of all!
I spoke of columns of gray men on the march
toward sterility and self-destruction.

The same year I used the term
“transautomation” to show the way beyond
the rationalism of technocrats
toward a new creation
in harmony with the laws of nature.

In 1953 I realized that the straight line
leads to the downfall of mankind.

But the straight line has become
an absolute tyranny.

The straight line is something cowardly
drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling;
it is a line which does not exist in nature.

And that the line is the rotten foundation
of our doomed civilization.

Even if there are certain places where it is
recognized that this line is rapidly leading to
perdition, its course continues to be plotted.

The straight line is the only sterile line,
the only line which does
not suit man as the image of God.

The straight line is the forbidden fruit.

The straight line is the curse of our civilization.

Any design undertaken with the straight
line will be stillborn.
Today we are witnessing the triumph
of rationalist knowhow and yet,
at the same time, we find ourselves
confronted with emptiness. An aesthetic void,
desert of uniformity, criminal sterility,
loss of creative power.

Even creativity is prefabricated.

We have become impotent.
We are no longer able to create.
That is our real illiteracy.

– Hundertwasser (1928 – 2000)