This is my first attempt in blogging, so why not start with sharing the story I’ve written in Sustainable Development class, back in Sweden in 2015. We tried to find out the niches where Sustainable Development might dwell in the art itself. A hint: a photon reading Karl Marx’s The Capital is the main character.
158,99 LITERS OF AIR
an environmental story by Davor Nikolic
Illustration by Radovan Zeleznjak
It has passed several days since China, the head of East-Asiatic union has banned export of rare earth elements to western countries. Strategic oil reserves as a geo-political means became obsolete, because the world has experienced sporadic turmoils for the last three years after the last drop of oil derivatives, especially petrol, was distributed in the global market. Markets lost trust in oil and its ability to influence other markets. States kept fueling their economies with oil reserves, but the markets had sound reaction to overwhelming notion that the fossil era is seriously at its end. We are left with gas for only 14 years. Of course, during that period, gas consumption went sky high, thus making forecasts of gas production and current rate of consumption given in previous years sound like nice utopia for transition in energy systems. Transition never occurred. The envelope was pushed. Russia had energy supremacy over the past months, since they are nasty political players. Even now they refuse to be a member of the East-Asiatic union. Some think of that move as being wise, some think it’s a speculation again.
The reality was gloomier. At least the presentiment was much worse. The overall situation felt like involuntary confinement. Worldviews were funneled and shaped by the economic events. Humanity hit the lower “energy state” again. Thanks to the bloody 20th century, nothing serious happened. I mean, only thousands died, of various causes — drought, famine, armed conflicts, dysfunctions of social state. That wasn’t horrible at all. It was reality. The only thing we could do to fight the reality was to try to avoid the feeling of helplessness that lingered in our head. My headaches used to be more frequent than ever. Well, actually, this is the first time I had headaches.
However, some changes did happen, but certainly not at rate and not in parts of the world which weren’t better off.
After a medium solar flare burst, I started my journey to the deeper space. As usually, one can’t go on a journey in outer space without proper equipment. It is cold on the journey, once one escapes the heat from the sun. On the other hand, the background deep space radiation still might present some problem, but, since I am so small, I can cunningly escape the grasp of the gamma rays and some other nasty waves which whip across the space. It wasn’t getting cosy in the sun’s surface and core anymore, since hydrogen kept hitting and turning into helium. These two fellows tend to be angry, therefore it is sometimes better to escape. One not so distant civilization — approximately eight minutes away — calls that internal confustication fusion. And they call me a photon — a small corpuscular wave. Sometime I behave like a particle, sometimes like a wave.
Once the trajectory was defined without my will, I decided to take few minutes for myself. Traveling at the speed of light makes my clock tick a little bit slower, I surely have several hours to hit whatever I will hit on my journey — presumably Earth — the rocky marble, as it is called by its civilization.
I was reading on the concept of civilization in Interstellar Library, but as far as I understood that concept, it is still a vague one, because Interstellar Library and its opus is life-resistant. That means, we only care about particles, waves, positions, spins and overall thinking of a way how to interact in order to be better, nastier particle. Sometimes I am a wave. Earth’s civilization would call me ambiguous, somewhere even bisexual. Therefore, term of civilization still sounded to us quite distant.
I was reading Marx’s “The Capital” on my way in order to understand term civilization. When I was passing by Mercury, my corpuscular quality couldn’t withstand Mercury’s gravity. Therefore I felt pull-push sensation in my trajectory. Still, I maintained the direction towards Earth. I could see Venus in the distance, because some waves of lower energy bounced of Venus’ atmosphere and interacted with my electric field induced due to my wave qualities. I was advised not to get to close to Venus. There is the Great Boxing Party taking place on Venus. Particles go wild and hit each other. It becomes hot and then you end up having relations with some strange particles. Either with iron atoms, sulfuric compounds (quite honestly, I don’t like entering their electron shells and then be a part of an acid which attacks rocks) or some other fierce particle that decided to enter the atmosphere. I think of myself as a pacifist.
A photon on its way to Earth
It was getting dark and during this time of the year Sweden gets covered in dark really fast and the dark is darker than anywhere else in the south. The “South” — Africa, South America still enjoy reasonable welfare, given the political conditions. Leading world companies re-invested their capital in discovering substitutes to rare earth elements. Africa and South America, wisely, took a neutral stance in the current situation, thus ensuring at least some prosperity. Of course, immigration influx was noticeable, for humans like to dwell in peaceful environment.
In case you wondered, it didn’t rain because the author didn’t want to burden the reader with usual depiction — using weather as the means to describe the character’s feelings.
I dropped my match while trying to light my cigarette. Mankind, at least its smokers, nowadays smoke a blend of cigarettes that uses a mixture of real tobacco and artificial substitute in 70:30 ratio, in favour of substitute. As I have said — markets failed. Well, our perception of market is what fails, obviously.
While reaching for the match, I felt crawling tension rolling up my back. My body became a burden to my thoughts. I was walking home, managed to get home quite quickly — one fair lad gave me a ride on his horse-drawn carriage. I was amazed how fat the horse appeared to be. I assigned this horse’s quality to Swedish approach to life — cherish present in order to live without disturbances or being disturbed. Lucky bastard that horse!
I came home, had usually good sex with my girl, although the main presentiment we were both endowed with, made it feel like a really good staged performance. I was feeling my life-role getting bigger and better played. I am still wondering whether this attitude will change. Will I ever grow up and have control of my thoughts? I felt sad. I wondered how it would be to be some other particle, or to be in some other system. I longed for numbness and closure.
Luckily, when I was passing by Venus, its magnetic field redirected me towards Earth’s parts of the land, uncovered by any clouds, so I was sure that my wave length won’t be altered that much. Although I had some rough encounters with ozone on my way through the atmosphere, these guys aren’t so usual to meet anymore. I remember reading stories in Interstellar library that ozone used to alter us photons, in so some of us ended being stuck tenths of kilometers above the ground. Just lingering with ozone, suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere.
I was approaching black areas scattered in the desert, somewhere in the lower part of the planet. It felt good to hit these panels, because afterword I ended up having a nice roller coaster within wires. I liked the travel, although I didn’t know where I ended.
I plugged my cell phone in the socket. I went under the shower and let the water run. I needed a getaway from all the millions of people who talked to me through the media. I didn’t care. I was standing wet in the bathroom, overlooking the neighboring buildings. I gazed at a huge Coca-Cola sign flaring with lights. I wondered when all this shit will end. I wanted to travel. I wanted even more. I was sure I wanted more than I needed. I felt proud wanting more than needing. I bluntly wanted.