Friday, June 01, 2018

'38 Rue Utopia ~ Ep.9

Follow me, the wise man said,
But he walked behind
~ Leonard Cohen ‘Teachers’ 1967

Shusei Nagaoka

“Just because we no longer make transactions in anything that has no intrinsic value doesn’t mean the system and the problems caused by the system have gone away”
Joe pauses to see how many have fallen asleep: the usual work-weary suspects; it worries him no less than the fact that, in his (self)elected capacity of ‘educator’, he feels no confidence in the validity of his opinions.
“We’re still living in a binary system; a system where those who need are exploited by those who want”
There is no requirement for the young ones to listen to, let alone to agree with, Joe’s opinions; some of them only turn up to get a break from their chores; others are willing to have their minds stimulated after the drudgery of those chores.
“So, are you saying,” Eva, one of Ellie’s girls, “our needs and wants should be the same thing?”
“I hadn’t thought of it that way, but yeah,” says Joe, “without advocating anything as dogma; if our wants were to coincide with our needs we would surely be making good; satisfying some higher ideal than just surviving”
“But to me it looks like all we have time for is surviving” Eva looks out the window, her disquiet prickled as always by the scratch marks on the glass from when they had fought off the intruder – too close to forget.
“What are you trying to teach us Joe?”
“I’m not trying to teach you anything, I just think it’s important that we don’t forget why the world is like it is; how that came about”
“How do we know this is the best way to live?”
“I was there… through the last bit anyway; we don’t want to continue down that road”
“Okay so what’s bad about the collapse anyway. I mean they got the bad guys in the end, didn’t they? I’ve seen the pictures; but are we the only ones left? Just us and Bigmark?”
“There are about eight communities Eva, as you well know”
“No I mean are there any other areas where people survived the collapse?”
“Undoubtedly, but we have no way of contacting anyone outside of the wire range. The collapse took place when a whole lot of consequences were piled on the system, we were so bogged down in information that it became impossible to do anything without major crypto-surgery; we were so immersed in the game that we didn’t even notice the final straw, we don’t even know what that was…” Joe’s voice tapers off into the distance of his remembering.
“So with regard to the photos of Wall Street you’ve seen, the sheer brutality of it; here’s a thing: I read a story once where one of the characters asks whether it is possible for good people to be in positions of power, without that power corrupting them to the point that they are no longer good people; are the concepts of goodness and of power mutually exclusive?”
“I don’t think so – surely the Clave is run by good people?”
“Ah but do they have any power?”
Eva looks out the window again, then, seeing Lee out there waving both arms in the direction of the commons, she jumps up, her sagemono swinging, contents rattling.
“Gotta go Joe, they need help on the windmill”
“Okay guys,” Joe raps the table three times, “See you all later; I’ve got potatoes to peel”

Leonard Cohen

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