Melancholia

Today I stumbled upon a Flickr feed from a guy called Sean Doran. In this feed are images, cobbled together from many images, of NASA’s Juno orbiter, currently making its way around Jupiter. There’s some videos up too.

It struck me suddenly that these were not CG images or artist’s renderings of what Jupiter might look like. These are photographs of Jupiter. In these photographs of Jupiter, taken from a wee satellite whizzing around a distant planet, are a number of complex and infinitely interesting layers. The south pole doesn’t look like the north pole. In fact, the South Pole looks bloody amazing; deep azure and white swirling masses. It almost looks like an ocean. In this ocean are many cyclones. What I discovered next blew my tiny mind; each of those cyclones are the size of our Planet Earth.

jupiter2

I remember listening to Shaun Keaveny on a Tuesday morning, a while ago now. Professor Brian Cox was on and they were discussing the Trump campaign and how it had succeeded in securing the Presidency. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but what I took away from it was that all these people, the men and women on a desperate drive for power, they don’t perhaps realise, or allow themselves to accept that in 100 years they won’t be here. They are, as are we all, temporary custodians of this magnificent place. We look after it for the next generation. That’s it; no more, no less. Having all the power in the world doesn’t change the fact that we humans, as a fundamental rule, don’t live forever.

Yet here we are, with a bunch of people so hell bent on power that they’re putting our planet, and futures at risk. Not just in the immediate nuclear sense, but in the long term generational sense. Tonight one of these people announced the USA were withdrawing from the Paris agreement and with it closed the door on climate change and all the amazing work that is being done in the field.

I’m not going to pretend to know anything about anything intimately, but I do know that every day I sit and look at the news, and each day I have to wrap my head around this situation and the constant, unrelenting ridicule they all endure. Literally every single day since one of these monsters took office I have read something awful he has done or is in the process of doing. Often regarded as the most important and influential position in the developed world, and some fucking mad man is occupying it.  I don’t know anymore. I’m fatigued by it. Maybe that’s the plan, to tire everyone so much that he can get on with his great plans without anyone caring anymore. It’s too crazy to imagine. Mutually Assured Destruction. MAD indeed.

I look at the photographs of Jupiter and I am reminded to regain perspective. We are but a speck on the infinite expanse of the Universe.

I found a late night/early morning radio broadcast with Thom Yorke, on which he talks about some of the music that he’s listening to. It was from 2015 I think. One of the tracks was by a chap, Abul Mogard, called Half Light of Dawn. It’s found on the “Circular Forms” album. What an absolutely perfect accompaniment when viewing the Jupiter images and videos. Please, check it out. 

I’m in a melancholic mood. It’s all out of our control, isn’t it? People can and do spend all their minutes each day hustling to gain traction and have their voice heard in the political world – last night’s debates on the snap election perpetuates this miserable feeling. For what? What’s all this hustling for? We have countries in turmoil because of nothing more than political power struggles. Why? We are all just people trying to live our lives. We need people to run things aye, but all this grandstanding and tittle tattle. He said this. She didn’t say that. All is Lost, it seems.

There’s so much to be excited about. So much to look forward to. Yet here I am, feeling pensive that in 1 or 2 years the world will be in turmoil. What of 10 or 15 years, when my little girl is making her way in to the wider world? When I rationalise it and try to work out how all this can be, it comes down to a tiny group of people. Without this group in power, there would be no rumours of collusion and back-channel corruption. There would be no reversal of climate change pledges. No cutting of NHS funding. School meals. Nuclear armament. Certainly a damn sight less friction in everyone’s daily existences. To think that the world is at risk because of a small group of people. Inconsequential people, in the grand scheme of things. Or maybe consequential people, in the grand scheme of things. Who knows.

7 billion humans live on this magnificent sphere. A few little gobshites putting everything at risk. I find it all completely ridiculous.