The Blind Leading The Blind

I decided to do a new painting based on one of my favorite classic paintings, “The Blind Leading the Blind” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1568). It’s of course based on Matthew 15:14;

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

This came after some debate on the specifics of religious ritual (which is why Bruegel would have chosen it I’m sure, as that was a big issue during his time); with Jesus saying that it’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out of your mouth, explaining (my paraphrase):

What you eat passes through you and leaves your body, but the words you speak come from your heart, and when evil comes from your heart, these defile you — eating with dirty hands will never defile you.

The reference itself is actually from the Katha Upanishad (about 900 BC, Vedic), which was first translated into Persian, and later made it into Europe and has been widely referenced;

The Hereafter never rises before the thoughtless child (the ignorant), deluded by the glamor of wealth. “This world alone is, there is none other”: thinking thus, he falls under my sway again and again.

There are many in the world, who, puffed up with intellectual conceit, believe that they are capable of guiding others. But although they may possess a certain amount of worldly wisdom, they are devoid of deeper understanding; therefore all that they say merely increases doubt and confusion in the minds of those who hear them. Hence they are likened to blind men leading the blind. The Hereafter does not shine before those who are lacking in the power of discrimination and are easily carried away therefore by the charm of fleeting objects. As children are tempted by toys, so they are tempted by pleasure, power, name and fame. To them these seem the only realities. Being thus attached to perishable things, they come many times under the dominion of death. There is one part of us which must die; there is another part which never dies. When a man can identify himself with his undying nature, which is one with God, then he overcomes death.

As it is often said that one should read the book instead of watching the movie, it’s often better to read Vedic scripture than Christian scripture. Anyway… Sorry about the poor photo.



  1. cirrin wrote:

    YAY! More snake guys!

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Permalink
  2. I like the concept Shannon.

    My hubby and I were just talking about your paintings and I’m surprised the question hasn’t crossed my mind before… any reason behind the snakes and lizards?

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  3. Shannon wrote:

    TWM – They’re easy to draw, hahaha… I don’t know… I just got into them — they’re so simple, but so versitile.

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  4. jezebel wrote:

    To be honest, I have followed your artistic career fairly recently, and the only reason I even know who you are, or what your art is, is because of BME.
    That said, I still read zentastic, and check your other blogs as well.
    I was trying to describe your work to my bf, and he just didn’t understand, so I showed him the site. Now he’s a fan as well, and is forwarding links to other friends.
    I really like the lizard series, but to be honest, I think some of the best work comes when you work with Nefarious – You’ve (both/all) done a great job allowing her personal creativity to explode at a young age!

    Bf also really enjoys the pieces you collaborate with her on, and has a good mind to follow your example with our son when he gets a bit older (it’s hard to be creative or artistic when you aren’t even two months old!)
    Thank you for inspiring what I hope will be a great bonding time for my son and his father :)

    Monday, May 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
  5. kivaka wrote:

    jessica wants to save up so she can buy one of your painting for the baby. love the painting and have a great day keep smiling

    Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 3:46 pm | Permalink
  6. Well I like them. :D

    Monday, May 26, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

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  1. Shannon Larratt is Zentastic › Victoria Day Weekend on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    […] — “The Blind Leading The Blind” — you can get a deeper explanation and read more about it on I Need More Life if you’d […]

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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