day 52: embracing darkness
Yesterday I showed Ezequiel the turbine factories that are in the neighbourhood. Nice old brick stone factory buildings that also have architectural value. If you look at many contemporary factory buildings this is really not the case nowadays. It soon also became dark since again we only went after dusk was already setting in. The only thing you can do in such a situation is to try to get your camera to still pick up some of the nuances. I have been trying to capture street reflections in low light for a while, but with the wrong lens so that I just couldn’t get a wide enough aperture. This time I had my 18-55mm lens which has a widest aperture of 3.5 at 18mm. With this I finally managed to get the kind of picture I envisioned.
I also promised you a little review of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which I’ve finished reading a few days ago. Let me just say that I found it really quite hard to write something about it without a little bit of a spoiler. I think I managed to keep it minimal though since I don’t go into any details about the plot:
The book is about the life of a young woman who remembers her childhood in a sort of boarding school together with her closest friends and her big love. What gives the story an interesting twist is that these are no ordinary children, but that they are clones who are reared to become organ donors for the rest of the population.
I first thought that the plot was a bit unbelievable since the kids themselves don’t really do anything about their situation and when they finally try to change it, they stay within the cosy constraints of the system. If you wait for an escape attempt, I can spoil it insofar as it won’t come. They stay, they do their part. After thinking about it for a while I realised though that in fact it’s more believable this way, because our times show the mark of general apathy. I’m not saying that there is no social unrest or that demonstrations against governments don’t happen, they just happen at a different scale than they used to happen, say, during the times of the great depression or during the high times of communism among the work forces. No, nowadays we don’t try to change the system, we move within its chessboard rules. We do our part in making a few lucky people rich claiming that we can’t change the system. If anyone objects against this common wisdom we shout communism and remind everyone how miserably that attempt at change failed. And after all, if we do our part and work for the lucky few we have security, food and shelter and can even afford our flatscreen TVs and shiny gadgets, our set amount of holiday and so on. Who are we to object to the good life?
Ishiguro just paints an extreme: People brought up to only live until they are old enough to be organ donors for the lucky rest. Well, we donate our precious life time, is that so different?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to say anything against leading the good life and being grateful for a secure job in economically difficult times. I only want to ask: Whose fault is this “crisis” anyway and why are we bailing them out? Is it really so important to keep a system afloat that makes a few rich people richer on the basis that the masses are full and happy as long as they can make the best of it? They watch X Factor and have a laugh with their friends and that’s ok. However, it’s exactly this kind of apathy that keeps things as they are. Who would lose from setting all debt to zero? Well, the banks want to tell you that you will lose, but they are also the ones who win from keeping the system as it is. I want to ask: Is this system really the best we can do?
In that sense Never Let Me Go is one of those dystopian novels that are not so far removed from the reality we live in. And it does its job well with a compelling story about friendship and love that leaves you feeling a bit unsettled, but it doesn’t throw any conclusions into your face. You have to get there yourself. If you don’t like asking the big questions you can also just ignore them and enjoy the book as a human story. It’s definitely a book worth reading.