Life is - it goes without saying - for the most part a tragic affair. But being clear-eyed about the horror shouldn't prevent us from taking great pleasure in the things that go right; we can laugh on our way to the gallows.
What will life be like after peak oil, in an age of major climate shifts? Hollywood movies often depict it as a bleak, dystopian world where each day is a struggle to survive after every system we depend on has been stripped away.
[W]hat if, instead, a post-peak-oil lifestyle was something we aspired to? It’s a radical idea that involves reimagining existing societal structures and what constitutes progress.
There is no inherent morality to the whole of life within you, and then from having to send e-mails out and pester people and the acquisition of wealth have thus become the abiding interest, if not the only way of life itself. …?…
“A man divided against himself, by definition, lacks integrity.” -Alan Watts
Unwillingness to be honest with ourselves about ourselves leads to an unrealistic assessment of our actions.
Values and actions become disconnected. Creating a life that veers away from integrity.
How do you discovery identity within oppression?
People of privilege (middle class / white / college educated / male / etc) don't see themselves as vital cogs in the wheels of oppression.
They do not see the oppressed.
They do not see themselves.
They can't see themselves. The disconnect between their values and their lived lives is too great.
Reconciling that disconnect, in a world that has only ever told them their comfort is divine, is extremely painful.
The privileged push this pain / fear / guilt away by establishing relationships that nurture complex, largely unspoken, social norms which justify and excuse oppression. That hide behind the ego by way of fictional internal and external heroic narratives.
This traps them in a cycle:
Feel: pain / guilt / fear
Double down on consumer comfort - Elevate the supposed life in the perks of privilege (‘finer things’)
Achieve some degree of those comforts - by real or unrealistic methods (IE: credit) and by profiting from disconnected oppression
Feel “relief” - Which is really “newness”
Feel: pain / guilt / fear
Double down on comfort
Compromising integrity is a slippery slope. The refusal to try and see oneself as one truly is makes meaningful change feel impossible.
What starts as a collection of bad habits becomes a system of values.
This is not a charge against any attempt to relate Parasite to other contexts. Bong’s social critique concerns the international conditions of globalized capitalism, but particular to Korea’s neoliberal and neocolonial present. Examining the film as a story of class in the neocolony shifts it from a decontextualized tale of rich and poor to one of compradors and the colonized. This lens takes Parasite from an allegory of “class conflict” to one of imperialism, and illuminates the film’s recurring motifs of English, militarization and appropriated Indigenous material culture.
Catherine, a 58-year-old Florida snowbird who uses Blink cameras to watch her home in Minnesota and who requested to use only her first name, said the cameras have become so easy to turn on that many people don’t really think about what’s at stake. Parents who installed cameras in kids’ rooms, she said, might end up depriving them of the privacy they need to grow into independent adults.
“We’re all getting too paranoid. Everybody thinks they’re going to be the next victim. And it’s set into us this mentality that we have to watch everything and everybody,” she said. “They think, ‘If I put all these cameras up, I’ll be safe.’ Safe from what? … It’s only making them more afraid.”
Perhaps the most difficult beauty and the hardest-won glory of true adulthood is the refusal, vehement and counter-cultural and proud, to relinquish our inner magnolias as we grow older, declining to sacrifice them at the altar-register of a culture that continually robs us of our self-worth and tries to sell it back to us at the price of the latest product.