Tuesday night Dr. Jeff Gusky delivered his talk on “The Hidden World of WW I and Finding Hope in a Time of Terror” as the Texoma Patriots met at Buck Snort BBQ in Van Alstyne on Dec. 5.
Gusky is an emergency physician who’s career as an explorer and artist began in December 1995. His intuition first led him to photograph a Nazi-era compound in Poland. Since that day he has been exploring sites around the world where millions of innocents have been slaughtered in modern times.
Gusky explained how scale, the size of things, dehumanization and the need to balance power affect how terror operates in our lives today. Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe in each other? Do you believe in America? Where does modern terror come from?
Gusky has looked at massacres over the ages, coming to the realization that that media incitement is an example of how scale dehumanized us. Frederick Olmsted, an American landscape architect, created New York’s Central Park to make people feel human and not isolated. Mass media can be an existential threat to life on Earth. Terror was born in Paris in the 1880s, and the discovery of newsprint allowed the results of this terror to reach millions of people in one day. Yet we have no way to validate whether it is real or not. Therefore, myth amplified by media results in fake news.
Terror also resulted in power ending up in the hands of the few. Terrorism is not about hatred or making the world a better place — it’s about power, and this has fueled the murder of millions. In World War I people started killing eachother for no good reason.
Through his explorations, Gusky discovered that the WWI armies built underground encampments for safety. Gusky took the audience on a journey into a Hidden World underground that has been frozen-in-time. One encampment in France was 25 miles underground. It housed 24,000 men and had a 700-bed hospital. The soldiers left carvings of life events at that time.
It became apparent to Dr. Gusky that a Utopian New World Order is not possible. An impossible standard of perfection leads to a la la land and forms a wedge between us and our Founding Fathers. Where are we heading with robots and Artificial Intelligence? Technology is not human and does not have a soul. It could lead to the end of America as we know it.
The lesson is that humans must come first. Freedom is the lifeblood of America. Gusky’s goal is to inspire belief in a future where we find hope in the human decency and courage of ordinary people and find safety in embracing human nature for what it is.
In addition to his work as an ER physician, Jeff Gusky is a National Geographic photographer. His work has been featured around the world, most recently as the only living artist in “Artist Soldier,” an 18-month exhibition now on display at The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. A concurrent solo exhibition at the Museum of History and Art in Sainte-Menehould, France, just ended on Nov. 26. The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, NPR,The BBC, USA Today and more major news outlets have all covered Jeff’s discoveries and photographs. To learn more about him, go to jeffgusky.com.