BALANCING INNER AND OUTER FICTION
Inner fiction (the means): the details: what are they? What do they do? When and where?
Outer fiction (the end): why are the details there? What do they mean? What is their purpose?
To show and/or tell
To revisit assumptions and quick interpretations
An image can lead from one to the other
I will use this dynamic as a lens to read two elements of our post lockdown-ongoing pandemic life starting with two images:
A monkey climbing up a dead tree/A mask
1- PLANET OF THE HUMANS: the short range/long range
The title is programmatic, and clarified throughout the documentary. The critical review of renewable energies is the means to a larger end indicated in the title: we continue to behave as if the planet has unlimited resources, and current alternative solutions have removed the guilt. They do not really question the status quo—not only in terms of our ways of life but also in terms of the logic of our economy still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. The goal of the documentary is not to scapegoat or target one group or another for the sake of doing so, its point is to reveal that “you cannot rebuild the house with the master’s tools” in poet Audre Lorde’s words. The question raised early on—“can machines produced by an industrialized culture take us beyond that culture?”—launches a very systematic and well-documented critique. Capitalism has hijacked the original vision and resources. It is urgent to come up with new bold ideas. With renewable energies, humans have already shown that they can tap into other parts of their creative powers. As these solutions are not perfect in terms of the impact on the planet, it is urgent to rise to the occasion again.
Beyond the wink to “Planet of the Apes, the final image represents a possible state for our humanity on the planet if we keep on denying the crisis. We will be climbing up that last tree, noticing that there are no leaves and that the landscape below is totally barren, but hoping we can escape to the end of the tree, expecting something better up there for us.
The monkey is about to die under the scorching sun. Until it is rescued, and saved.
Who will rescue us?
The question is for us to consider. Today. When the land is not barren, when trees still have leaves, when we can still live in their pleasant shade.
If we miss the deep underlying question raised in the documentary, we will miss the call to act. Collectively.
There is time still to attend to that tree and to the ground below. Before we are forced to climb up to nothingness.
2-THE AFTERMATH OF THE LOCKDOWN (the short-term/the long-term)
To wear a mask in the open air might appear useless.
But such an analysis confines (no pun intended) the mask to the inner fiction ring.
In the outer fiction dimension, to wear a mask reveals its pedagogic function: with a mask on, we are reminded of the ongoing extraordinary context.
Awareness of the virus must have an impact of on our ways of interacting and socializing. This simple but essential tool facilitates overall social distancing rules in a world that looks the same but is still being shaped by a virus that is anything but gone.
When wearing a mask, we are protecting others. We take care of each other. The mask is only fully operative if reciproquated and framed within the protocol of all the other sanitary measures (hand washing and physical distancing in particular).
A short-term surrender of our immediate and individual comfort.
A long-term collective benefit if we contain the spread of the virus.
What model will prevail on the planet? The mask-off or the mask-on model?