What Can Or Cannot Be Maintained

Having been a little invested with the parallels of our world and with that of Jemison’s, I’ve been the most fascinated by the environmental distinctions. While they are rather different in the plains of reality and tangibility – they draw upon similarities in regards to natural disasters and the occasional indignities via the lovely human race. Much emphasis on lovely.

My primarily thoughts as of this moment pertain to the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that my group has been been working on. Admittedly I was rather aloof upon the initial delving of tsunamis, and particularly that of a country that I’ve never seen or had the interest in ever seeing. While I am of course empathetic towards tragedy via natural disasters and those who become affected by them. It has and still is a tragic focal point when furthering discussion on the environment, yet it is one of the very raw parallels that fascinate me when considering Jemison’s fictional world and how far off of reality it is, yet at the same time it is not much different when considering the indignities of a damaged world. The circumstances are by no means comparable, yet considering so many lives being easily taken away due to natural disasters (with California being a recent instance), regarding the hundreds of lives lost back in Indonesia is in a similar vein to the destructive power we have become witnesses to in the literature we’ve been reading (pg. 384 in case you wish to skip this next paragraph).

One passage pertains to how much the world – or in this case, the Obelisk Gate can maintain. The overwhelming amount of history this planet has been accustomed to would have me wonder how much is too much? If not that, how much is this world worth? How capable can it be, and the natural disasters that come with it – how much of a disaster is it really? Before I go on a tangent about world peace and or free coffee, here’s the passage: : “It is a stalemate that cannot continue. The gate cannot maintain its connections forever, and the onyx cannot contain the chaos of the rifting forever – and two human beings how ever-powerful and strong-willed. cannot survive so much magic for long.”

Despite the powers that be via the primary characters, how much can be taken? Could this be no different than the typical college burnout, or with that of how the world may react when a boiling point erupts. As with one particular character who believes in the destruction of the world, one may wonder how valid such a belief can be. The world goes through devastation and brings about devastating consequences, and that is quite daunting. Can there be some notion of balance? Is such a thing tangible sometime in a few decades? Free coffee?

That “Solarpunk” Thing

Due to my increased curiosity with the term and without enamored me and my group was with it…and in my trend of getting sick again before class, I’d feel that this would serve as a perfect excuse to keep talking about/another excuse to ramble on about how cool and mind-blowing it sounds.

One thing to consider is how young of a term it is, which would very well explain why me and such contemporaries have not heard of it until just recently. I remember thinking “if we need world peace, then let’s Doctor Manhattan the earth!” Of course that would be incredibly unpleasant, and I suppose in a way, that was my (or our) initial thought when looking into solarpunk. Besides reminding me of Vitamin D and Joe Strummer, I was thinking of a rather progressive – yet far beyond that – idealistic world where virtually every single problem has been solved, or is virtually capable of being solved with little to no issue. Another example came about Greek Mythology’s Golden Age via the rule of Titans, which in itself may also refer to the rather powerful hands at work throughout our current reading. One of the best readings from Monday would likely come from this if anyone may be willing to look further into it. Skeptics be damned, like myself. Yet all the more fascinated.

This may also bring about the indifference or uncertainty of such a world. This is especially evident when considering our own realities and the many pros and cons that come with it. The first quoted line in Jemison’s The Stone Sky further brings about that skepticism – yet all the more intrigue – “One person’s normal is another person’s Shattering.” I would not want to exploit the line for this particular purpose, but I feel that this instance becomes further enhanced by the lines “Would’ve been nice if we could’ve all had normal, of course, but not enough people wanted to share. So now we all burn.” This borders less on my sacred cynicism but high school-era Steven’s pessimism. As horrifying as that sounds/was, there is a very rough yet-honest truth in the powers of simply giving way to allocation, let alone contribution for the bettering of society and or the world. One could argue that independence can be rather dangerous if under the circumstances of self-interest or exploitation. Whereas the means of independence as in the means to think and decide for oneself offer a tremendous weapon against blind ruling.

What I’m trying to get here is perhaps the means of independence and individualistic ideals are both important and dangerous if used improperly. When revisiting the ideas and dreamlike scope of a solarpunk society, it seems to encourage both independence but also unity. The latter is of course something we are struggling with virtually every single day of the week and of time itself so far, be it in fiction or in reality. So maybe some of us have become so integrated with such views that consist of a general norm so much that we’ve been (in a way) brainwashed by an alternative form of unity that appears to be work in a somehow ideal way. This leaves me wondering how much of my thoughts consist of my own, or essentially footsteps of something someone else came up with. That itself could be dangerous, as is life…and stuff. Or maybe it could be beneficial in order to begin something in the lines of a solarpunk world? Maybe?

Environmental Doubt?

I suppose I could say that this question grew within my odd mind during class today, and perhaps for good reason. The instance of highly examining the environment and that of other social conflicts and or issues is a spurning obstacle that, as a society, I’m sure we manage to overcome with time and through enough effort. With that said, would it be fair for those who hesitate or distance themselves from such activities hold a sense of doubt?

The same doubt that may question oneself to the extent of how capable their contribution via thinking more carefully about their ecological footprint, speaking their mind in regards to social and or political views? Can the same even be said for those many people who hesitate or neglect the thought of voting (myself included)? Would it be fair to consider that the very ambiance of doubt can bring about uncertainty towards their contemporaries and general environments that they altogether ignore the concept of reminding people that they exist? That their substance is just as valid and as important?

This includes reusing material and throwing trash in their respective bins and actually knowing (and caring) if it’s the right place to put it? Of course, I may be thinking too deeply on this subject but could it be something that any of you – or anyone you may know have struggled with?

The Rock Thing

I’d like to start things off with some hope and motivation, along with somehow avoiding the dreaded “p” if at all possible. My first post in this instance would be the deal (insert Seinfeld quote here) with rocks during our starting class. The first thought I had was that the question McCoy shared with us was more of a trick -a metaphorical one, at that. Family, for example. Sometimes a family is referred to as a rock, a place of solidarity and origin. That, or just a heavy, profound, and sometimes rough and or vexing kind of rock. Mine may or may not be close to the latter, since I only said Igneous because it just sounds friggin’ cool.

As for the rocks, the heaviness of natural disasters (eg. hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.) also came to mind, or perhaps that was just my weird mind thinking too far ahead in the syllabus, along with my still-present hope that I may actually post nine more of these things and maybe add some genuine desire into them rather than a required means to an end. All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if family, or the foundations of solidarity may play some role in our future discussions. That, or something that may or may not blow my mind. Maybe even convincing me that Igneous doesn’t sound all that cool…possibly.

Oh, and geodes are rocks.

In Regards to Kin and Reality (and before I change my mind about posting)

Before I go on a tirade about somewhat old class notes, I just want to say that it is exactly what this post is going to be. I’m typically mute in class as I pay attention to every nearby voice and jot down my thoughts onto a sheet of paper. I’m often aggravated of hearing the same kind of format about consent, identity, and racial tension with nearly each and every bit of literature of article that we’re presented.

With that said, I suppose I’m glad to be aggravated, for how one class – the 16th of October actually – gave way to the ideas of propaganda, disillusion, and dullness. The latter is likely the reiteration of how I sometimes feel when succumbing to my timid self in class. The first two on the other hand, relate back to what my title says, and I believe this can be a tangible issue that plague everyone who happens to possess any kind of quote on quote, family. I’m just talking about disagreements or teenage angst here, but unfortunate circumstances like political violence and social disorder, along exposure to foreign elements (such as the type of exposure we see in Clay’s Ark). I written down “varying degrees of fairness” when hearing the contrast between labeled fairness and actual fairness. A few mentions of real life give way to “The Chicago Machine” and Mayor Harold Washington essentially going against “Black Chicago.” Upon hearing the terms “too fair” personally upset me, but that’s my own bias behind what I wish in regards to equality. This may relate back to a more recent discussion regarding identity and interdependence, but I suppose that is for another post in itself. Apparently the phrase upset me enough to write down “either side wants to blow themselves” and I found the description hypocritical. I believe the term came during a hearing of This American Life podcast, if I remember correctly. Another term I wrote was “violent politeness” – something I likely heard from the same podcast. I was also trying to find a middle ground in order to pave some connection between all that I’ve taken in, along with the body of work via Octavia Butler. I think I’m still confused by it, but I suppose it’s meant to be familiarized with the system we live by, whether we like it or not. The same instance can be said for somebody whose city has been touched by bombs, or by a significant lack of clean water. Maybe I’m assuming Butler is presenting not only a discussion that ponders the extent of consent, but also the environment. Going more into a more recent class (the 23rd of October) via aliens desiring to affect the human race for seemingly good intentions –  despite the lack of trust, consent, and full awareness of the environment.

Does that sound a bit familiar?

I’m also bound to sound incredibly confusing at this point, but I’m starting to think that Butler’s output on the world when paralleled with her writing is safely silhouetted with sci-fi elements, all the while including a conspicuous message towards the human race.

This may or may not be continued in another overly broad post. (Sigh)

Currently Typing (In Class)

This may be the second-last post I’ll make here, and for good reason. The first reason is that I think a fair closer is needed for the posts throughout the semester. The second is how few posts I have made. I suppose that regards the merit of my words holding any sound content to share, or to expand on something that I believe has not been discussed during class. Either way…

I’m both excited and indifferent about this final essay. The ambition behind discussing the housing crisis and the contrasting narratives of literature showcase so many ideas as to how we view – or how we begin to view them. One thing that comes to mind at the moment is that of Inside Job and The Big Short as a heavy contrast in comparison to that of Dominion, A Mercy, and Parable of the Sower – one may consider these pieces of literature are differing perceptions of housing. What kind of crisis there is, when and how a crisis may begin, or if an individual is aware of a crisis at all. That also includes those who are even affected despite some knowledge of economic or social disarray. I’m likely overthinking at this point in favor of a streamlined final paper (in my head, anyway), but the words I’m currently hearing regarding insurance also relates to the earlier aspects of the class. Again, I go back to The Old Man and the Storm that demonstrates a crisis for ordinary people being almost another number to place on a list that says “assist” but not so much “help”. More recently, This Old House reminds me heavily of the “reality” TV series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As Jess calls it phony and transparent – that is how I feel with the perceptive contrasts I mentioned earlier. There is a greater emphasis on “assist” than “help” in order to showcase a means to help but not so much a means to give way for resolve. Or may I’m being cynical about how meretricious (new word, yeah!) the premise of building an old house and rebuilding the remnants of it into a new home. This of course also relates to Mister Blandings Builds His Dream House while demonstrating the hollow nature a home can be, despite the incredible sentimentality it is allegedly supposed to be. That can even be said for anyone who is wealthy enough to afford (and maintain) more than one house. I know I’m young, but the idea of that still sounds absurd and a physical display of self-absorption, which that too can relate to what I have discussed in my Dirge essay, and may very well be mentioned in the final essay. My home life – or at least in parallel to the illustrated lives throughout the semester – leaves me detached.

Perhaps that is a good thing. Regarding the final essay, at least.

(Very) Late Feelings of Home

A late bloomer at this point, but I guess I’m meant for it. I struggled with finding a suitable image when thinking of home back when we shared personal items. Having lived the majority of my life in an apartment building, including scheduled visits to my mother’s house every other weekend made me feel disjointed during class. Toys, posters, even clothes or furniture begin not to mean much when they come, go, or become replaced with similar devices somewhere else – one example being my brother who wanted the exact same set of toys at both of our parents’ homes. It began coincidentally with Power Rangers – it ended with Lego. This relates to class due to how tangible virtually everything can be, and how capable they are in regards to replacement or liquidation. Hell – in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, we see an idea of what a home is in the contrasting views of James and Muriel, and how they eventually build a dream house that is a departure from what the house originally was. We see the former state of the house destroyed and built into something that feels rather hollow – not even when the walls weren’t put up yet, but with how the view of a home can be distinct. A place to live, eat, sleep, or simply just to exist. The regard for home varies on the individual, and I suppose that in itself can be worth writing about under a different setting.

Eventually, marital and financial issues affected our mother and then we were forced to gather what we could before it was to be thrown out. Keep in mind, I said a few. In the efforts to show my excuse relation to the text – anything can be bought or sold – or abandoned. Especially if your home is on mortgage (mom) or on the long-term rent (dad) for several odd years. Let’s not take into consideration for those in military families who move from place to place, natural disasters, or simply getting kicked out. I’m not only considering the property of a home, but property in general – which can relate to financial ownership (or lack thereof in regards to Inside Job or The Big Short), while also that of living property in A Mercy.

Maybe I find my idea of “home” in my journal (the item I chose) as both a shield and of extremely personal value in favor of what can be easily taken away or diminished. Maybe that’s also why I feel a similar resonance in music (cue “Isolation” by John Lennon). It was either gonna be that, or the hat I rarely go anywhere without – be it on my head or tucked within my bag. In my experience being here (e.g. on campus and apparently furthering my education), I feel more “at home” because I can certainly do, decide, and be more of myself. Maybe these aforementioned perceptions have affected the way I view the idea of a home, but it can certainly be anywhere – just as much as it can easily be torn down or unwillingly vacated from our lives.

Trust & the Need for Credit (and before I forget to post this…)

Perhaps I’m caught up with the vibe of energy from last week’s class. With that said, I am conflicted with the use of credit. It could be due to the means of not (so far) requiring the need for credit, but or more so to the uncomfortable nature of using credit (if that makes any sense). To be frank, finances bore me, and I mean bore in the sense of sincere disdain for money. I dislike the desire for money, and I hate the necessity of it (says the introspective college kid). I prefer not to dwell so harshly on a current events that relate to the economy, or becoming vexed by the idea of being critiqued for what thoughts arrive into my head, whether they hold any validity or not. That probably explains as to why I’m still apprehensive for the need for education requiring a heavy payment, which to me should be a freely given option if such a tenure can be maintained. I suppose all of this comes to mind due to a close friend of mine referring to the education system as a scam. Albeit a very successful one.

In that instance, a drive for stability – and overwhelming “over-stability” leaves me to wonder how unstable we (as in everyone) really are. This (to me at least) relates to corrupt officials in the bank industry that seem to ignore the risk of financial instability, despite the many signs as demonstrated and later realized in both Inside Job and The Big Short. On Monday, a classmate in our group mentioned the act of trust, which in itself relates back to trusting the relationship between the bank and the loaner. There is a massive bout of instability that kept growing and growing, despite the warning signs of a financial crisis. It leaves me to wonder (yet again) on how unstable we really are. This instance goes in regards to not only the financial system, but the educational system, legislative, and judicial systems (sure, we’ll include the executive as well). Doesn’t this behavior reflect poorly on how we treat the systems that are meant to guarantee, or at the very least, ensure stability? The risk in trusting higher ups to not exploit their position also leaves me to question the amount of deserved credit. I suppose this entire body of contemplation may find more weight when revisiting Roach, primarily regarding the Bodies of Law section. With or without coffee.