|Book Cover, 1987
One tree in the garden of Eden contained the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge itself is neither good nor bad, but rather inevitable. Historically, the idea of Evil has been associated in particular with the "black arts," such as magic, sorcery, and microwaving.
As it is, Humanitarians Not Heroes practices all the above. Subjugating any form of knowledge is akin to intellectual fascism, and scientific studies have shown that such repression usually leads to corruption and the abuse of power. The less humane side of Nietszche's "will to power," this repression is commonly exemplified in politicians and religious fanatics who cotton "ethics, morals, and superiority" as a way to control and allay their own fears. The Unknown, or finite knowledge, is terrifying to these individuals, and their Faith is not enough. Why, did Gregory the Great not pause to think in the sixth century when he outlined the seven deadly sins in Moralia in Job that God himself is foremost guilty of all these spiritual offenses? Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, wisely states that "fear leads to anger, and anger leads to the dark side."
In the story of Doctor Faustus, from a German chapbook written four hundred years ago, the protagonist willingly offers his soul to Mephistopheles in exchange for illuminating him to the great mysteries - and a date with Helen of Troy. It is not of little coincidence that one of the most common ways we accumulate knowledge is through the reading of books, which literally are made from trees.
With this in mind, the 1987 HNH product is a 24” x 18” book cover made of brown craft paper, imprinted on the inside with a simple "Contract" for the exchange of knowledge for soul, which the buyer is free to consummate. Though Faustian in reference, the HNH version is ambiguous, not identifying who the “Agent” is, but rather leaving that quandary to each individual. Thus we cover up our books to protect them, and in turn protect our choice to experience knowledge that allows us to truly grow as we tend to our own gardens.