But where did we get these fantastic abilities? Was it from some freak mutation born deep within our genetics or was it from the bite of a radioactive graduate student? It was none of these. Instead, our powers come from being the last children of dying nations which might as well be light years away. We are destined to translate the arcane practices of long dead civilizations to create a brighter future for the remaining masses...or at least that’s the story. Prop buildings, laws, and books have been made to help actors play out this story, but these props buildings are made of bricks and prop laws can kill will impunity. This story is so powerful it has made a witchcraft out of skin pigmentation and blood. For example, you can be killed because of your skin color. If that isn’t magical thinking I don’t know what is. So, in a way the story is true. We have been jettisoned from our homes into alien hands, but we aren’t the last of our nations and we never left the planet. Instead, we are stranded in a fiction. A tale where the reality of your people has been vivisected and placed in antiseptic examination rooms called “departments.” Out of fear of messing with the narrative flow, these departments rarely interact. Now us superheroes come from a reality where the world isn’t separate so when we try to navigate this story we end up reconnecting old pieces to build an escape craft back home. We aren’t even interested in finishing the story. Most of us just want to get home. But in our efforts, the actors find our work and scream “NOVEL!” “INNOVATION!” “MIND BLOWING!” “NEXT CHAPTER.” In the cacophony they clamour over your ship they dismantle it and add it to the props. Another chapter in the story. So, you are probably wondering how are you supposed to avoid this fate when the people who are substantive experts in the political and economic cultural realities you are interested in are physically housed in a separate department? When your willingness to meet other people who might be able to help think about something from a different angle is seen as catastrophic? When the screaming praise of actors fills your ears to the point you can’t concentrate? You can’t.
That would presume that a story can be changed when its ending has already been outlined and published. An ending where you are a superhuman...the last son of some far off planet. Destined to death. The best you can do is remember that back home you aren’t special or unique or magical. You are not having wonderfully novel ideas. That is not our future. Our’s is a future where the ideas and ways of being we have are normal, boring, and commonplace. Where we remember that we suck at hunting and fishing. We don’t know how our uncle knows when the taro is ready. That we are helplessly just trying to do what we can to get back home.
Thank you for taking some time out of the Matrix to share in the glorious splendor of our apocalyptic present. We will be back next week with a lesson from the course Visiting for Settlers 101 titled “How to be comfortable with not being on time to your next meeting.”
As always, It’s probably not!