March 17, 2022

One of my all time favorite lyrics is early in Portal's closing song "Still Alive" - Aperture Science is the game's incredibly messed-up parody of big orgs, and the line is "Aperture Science: We do what we must, because we can." - i.e. we'll do these (presumably ethically dubious) things because no one can stop us."

But I guess for my life there's a humbler reading of that line - I'll muddle through even the crap parts of life, and I have enough privilege to do so.

A few years ago I remember some memes, maybe echoing this NY Times article on Is Resilience Overrated where the author quotes friends saying "'You're so resilient' is just code for 'You're on your own, sorry.'" and "resilience is made up by our capitalist overlords".

But the world is what it is, right? Everything is the way it is for a reason. Some of those reasons are malice and greed, some are just the unfortunate truth of entropy, but most of the deliberate ones are serving some "good" or other, and change will only come with a range of sacrifice of one type or another.

Some of it swings back to my recent wonder at people being driven by emotions. Raging and ranting against the unjustness of the world... maybe it's needed to power efforts to correct what we can, but it's a SUPER inefficient energy source - the waste heat it throws off is so damaging to our internal mechanisms and sometimes those around us...

(Thinking on despair and people's emotional reactions to things - yeesh, almost a decade ago I tackled a parallel line of "if you can't live without me, why aren't you dead yet?!". And the idea of how while "can't live without" isn't a literal claim of life and death it does point to a real sense of not being able to live as a whole, complete person. The death of our best self, the break from our self-actualized self. There's a parallel with outrage at the world for not letting us live up to our potentials.)
When People imagine Superman pushing a planet, they imagine him being in space, in reality he'd just be doing a handstand