I hope that you have been feeling the love and being filled with love.
I’m sending you this love letter to tell you about just a few of the things that I have recently loved with the hope that maybe you will love them too and if not, that at least you will love how I loved them…
WHAT HAVE I LOVED THINKING ABOUT?
I find violence a very interesting phenomenon to contemplate because it’s right at the core of our civilizations. Many of them were formed out of violent circumstances: to either defend against it or to inflict it. A lot of our moral philosophies are rooted in trying to control and harness violence. Right from when we are born, we are always being told by society, religion and the state how to feel about it, when to ignore it, when to condemn it, when to praise it, who to inflict it upon, and who to never wish it upon.
I have also enjoyed contemplating how modern societies outsource violence to the armed forces i.e. the police and the army, and how this creates a unique phenomenon where all of us are able to shed our responsibility for it. The ones actually inflicting it can sleep well knowing they’re simply following orders – that it’s just their job just like anyone else’s. And the ones who give their mandate to have violence inflicted on their behalf can sleep well knowing they are not the ones doing the actual spilling of blood.
I also find it interesting how a state only collapses when it loses the monopoly on violence. A country could lack all the basic public utilities and have a failed economy but as long as there is only one group of people in that country that are capable of organized violence, it can’t be considered a failed state.
It’s also interesting to think about the future of violence as far as sovereign states go given how industrialized it has become in the form of the global arms industry and the private mercenary industry.
WHAT HAVE I LOVED (TO HATE) WATCHING?
The new season of Westworld.
I’ve not yet even finished watching it (yes, I procrastinate on other things too, not just this love letter) but I love how beautifully and spectacularly the story has unfolded in third season especially how the concept of free will is being explored even further. This show has helped me deeply contemplate what it means to really question one’s reality and the implications of actually finding the answers.
However, I hate that the critical acclaim and commercial success of Westworld seems to reinforce the idea that dystopian sci-fi is the way to go. I won’t lie, I do enjoy this sub-genre (I mean, who doesn’t love seeing killer robots?) but I’d really like to see more mainstream sci-fi that explores non-dystopian story lines. I think it’s quite lazy and misguided that most of the sci-fi we get to watch is all doom and gloom.
WHAT HAVE I LOVED SEEING?
This piece of art titled ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WHITE SUPREMACY by Esteban Whiteside (2020)
I came across this piece through this tweet by Artists of Colour, one of my favorite art curation accounts on Twitter. I immediately loved it because of how boldly the artist addresses the times. I looked Esteban up and discovered that his body of work is filled with similar pieces addressing modern day oppression.
I also found a great interview he gave last year and a quote from it that stood out for me was this: “I see a lot of artists who speak out about something, but their artwork really hasn’t changed a lot. They don’t want to want to ruffle any feathers or lose fans.”
And that’s it for today…
Thank you for reading this, I hope you loved it.
Until the next Busy Love Letter, I remain…
Yours busy in love,
The River Rwizi.
PS: You can also listen to this Love Letter here.