Selective Dissonance

I am thinking about and posting this blog as I watch the live stream of Dragon capsule 'Endeavour' carrying it's human crew (and Tremor the dinosaur! First dino in space! Take that extinction meteor!) towards the International Space Station.

As I've posted before, I love space stuff like this!


What I haven't been thinking too much about, or posting about has been the situation on the ground in the USA - arising from the killing of George Floyd.

And I am far from qualified to comment on the nuances of the whole situation; but clearly there are all kinds of wrong things occurring now (as they have done for years and years; this is just the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of race-based injustices), which is as unsettling as ever.


It has been interesting to see how there is obviously a coordinated effort across Nasa/SpaceX to avoid mentioning anything about the Minnesota situation, and I am sure that a lot of people will be crying foul (especially when statements from the live stream commentators about 'all of America watching this momentous occasion' naturally fall flat). Not even an oblique reference to it, which is interesting.

As the picture at the top of my blog attends to (taken from /r/Cyberpunk), there is a stark contrast between what 'Launch America' is all about, 'contrasted' with the protesting that is taking place, simultaneously, in many cities in North America, and beyond.

The stark dissonance between money being spent on getting to the moon, versus being spent on resolving the social issues across America has no better been highlighted before than via 'Whitey on the Moon', which I must admit I only became aware of during 'First Man'.


So is it okay to be focusing on the space stuff?

Even on watching the space footage, I have been selective about what I am taking from it. The whole 'America Fuck Yeah' content I definitely mute in my head; and I've been lucky to avoid almost all mentions of Trump - I believe he gave a speech in Florida (because obviously there aren't any pressing social/health situations that the president really should be focused on resolving...). 
But whilst I'm scrolling Twitter and other sites, I'm still reading and seeing things in relation to the George Floyd situation, some brief flashes of UK government nonsense and even Brexit (hey remember Brexit??!).

And I think even without the whole COVID-19 situation, I would still naturally gravitate (heh) towards the space stuff rather than the civil unrest. Naturally because one is uplifting and the other is not.

But it is interesting how the picture at the top juxtaposition works; IE it is reliant on the concept of 'America'.
And I agree; it is ridiculous that two extreme things can both occur on the same day; but that is only heightened because just about everyone subscribes to the concept of the country of America (and countries in general).


Now I do not wish to dismiss any part of what is going on in America. Very much in the same way I wouldn't want to dismiss any of the shit stuff going on these days, not just in the US, but particularly in the UK, and everywhere else in the world.

It is comforting that so much of my timeline is about the unrest, but also a bit unsettling if I'm 'balancing' that with my excitement about the space stuff going on.

I'm having to be selective - particularly at this time - to stay sane and not get too depressed about what a toilet the world can be; but there is a fine balance with not losing sight of the big issues that face us going forward - and very little of that will be resolved by getting back to the moon, or landing on Mars.


But the fact is both of these states exist. They are not mutually exclusive.

If you put both states into the same 'container' of - in this case - 'the country of the USA', yes it is very dissonant; but if you put it in the wider context/container of 'the whole Earth', then it is still dissonant - but it is much more akin to what occurs all the time.
IE there is always great stuff going on (I have to hope!) and there is always crap stuff going on.

Which is not to say I don't believe the crap stuff should come to an end! Of course it should. And when I have the opportunity/energy to affect that, I try to.

But it is I think natural for humans to focus selectively on things. And it is also possible to carry the dissonance of positive things and negative things, whilst remaining human. And I think that how you process the dissonance indicates what sort of a human you are; I am carrying some awareness of what is going in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd; and I am also carrying some awareness of what is faltering in my own country's attempt to control the pandemic - despite still performing the worst in Europe in terms of deaths - and yet I am also carrying the awareness of the marvel that is humanity in space; whilst also carrying the appreciation of the friends I will interact with today - be it to simply watch some Deep Space Nine with; or to hopefully hang out with for a while.


Like the few previous blogs, I think I've lacked a particular point or punchline - but this was, again, helpful to get some thoughts out of my head and into the world.

I would appreciate any related constructive thoughts you feel comfortable sharing with me :)


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