outside context problem

11:34pm, june13, 2020

i always loved science fiction. reading the culture series by iain banks was no exception. if i'm being honest, i loved it even more because it was pure escapism: you could do anything you wanted in iain's world; change genders, generate your own drugs, live forever without anyone batting an eye. what interested me most in this pseudo-perfect culture was its conflict. most of the time these conflicts were alien: other civilizations were always battling the culture for their own petty ideals. but sometimes, the culture would come across an OCP, or Outside Context Problem. like a society in the woods encountering iron-clad colonizers, Outside Context Problems described situations where you realized you were a fish out of water, at a loss of what to do next, flopping uselessly against the cold floor of someone else's boat.

i think about OCPs a lot. the vast terror of something so completely out of your lane you can do nothing about it, the longing for a way out, of something to bring you peace, something akin to david's slingshot in his fight against goliath. OCPs remind you that your own life, all struggle and fight and win and lose, is nothing more than a miniscule resource in the blankness of space to be exploited by something bigger than you. i don't mind it. but i have to wonder: 2020 has brought an incredible number of OCPs, but it somehow feels like it's even worse this time, David and an army of Goliaths that can't die. what can we even do? it's not like any one person can solve any of these issues. (except billionaires, lol, but we don't see them doing that too often.) what do we do? where do we start?

i don't have an inspirational answer to this question that will spur the world into action. this year has been fraught with OCPs. all my friends think that humanity should just be nuked- that we should start over. i'm clinging to martin luther's quote, "even if i knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, i would still plant my apple tree." but it's getting hard. every single OCP that's thrown at us isn't getting solved. we're flopping around on the floor in God's fishing boat. and i want to believe that we can make it back out into the bright, blue ocean, but i'm tired. so tired.

in iain banks' books, the people of the culture had Minds, massive supercomputers that did all the hard work for them. here, we have nothing. and even if we did have Minds, no one would listen to them. i don't know how we're going to ride out this year. Outside Context Problems rarely have happy endings. and i don't know if we will, either.

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