Brave New World
Topic: Shy Lux
A strange congruence between two opposite ends of the culcha spectrum yesterday.
I watched a lifestyle show that veered off wildly out of safe and rewarding and into very very Wrong. A poverty stricken Glaswegian family were given a month's paid relocation to Tuscany, to change their lives. They spoke no Italian, had no savings and no skills to sell.
The wife was a nurse, but Italian bureaucracy wouldn't allow her to practise. She was a chiropodist by trade, anyway and no-one in Tuscany particularly worried about whether their feet looked nice. They kept their children out of school a few months to 'avoid upheaval'. Then the husband had a stroke, became paralysed down one side. He moved into an Italian nursing home fifty miles away, where, not speaking the language, he was unable to communicate at all as he tried to learn how to walk and feed himself all over again. The wife, with no income, was forced to leave the fantasy isolated farmhouse that the TV show had rented for her, for the nearest city, and could no longer afford to leave her children to find work. Which would be unskilled anyway, as she had no contacts, no family and no Italian.
Being thrown on the mercy of the local city meant her children were made to attend the local school, where they began to speak Italian. Through her eldest son's football games, the wife began to learn the language, haphazardly, via contact with other boy's mothers.
Their 'lifestyle makeover' had plunged them into the worst situation they could have dreamed of, and there was no happy ending. In the saccharine fixed grins and orchestrated anomie of a daytime TV schedule the jarring effect of this slic, this intrusion of raw, cutting reality and hardship was unsettling. It was as if someone had come to the party and pissed on the birthday cake.
I thought about it later on, staying up late to watch an awkward TV adaptation of Brave New World. It's fairly obvious that culcha acts as our modern day soma to some degree. But the Controller's advice to the Savage, just as in the book, stood out, juxtaposed within a messy, flabby, adolescent plot, irritating and gnawing at your conscience like all big truths do. The insect in the amber.
And it's this: without pain and sadness, we have nothing of any worth in our lives.
Art, religion, love, philosophy, science - they originate in tragedy, they stem from dissatisfaction. If we lose the social instability from which tragedy springs, we lose the rest.
I had a really shit day yesterday, but that's what life is all about.
I want good, evil, pain, beauty, freedom, sin because they're part of being alive. To be awake is not to be alive.