By: Leo Funa
Solnit refashions the concept of darkness as a necessary tool in evoking response. Human existence is embedded with darkness but not in the manner in which the term implies. This concept of perpetual gloom is a lens through which people must view the world in order to anchor their future actions. The irony in Solnit’s definition of darkness is that it somehow illuminates human self-actualization by forcing us to react to change. It allows us to adapt and create pockets of light of social activity through small increments of positive transformations. This darkness is a cloud of despondency originally meant to hinder true progress but is a required evil necessitated by our shared apathy. It is not intended to be an incomprehensible sensation of dread, rather an intangible deterrent to man’s collective cynicism.
Solnit envisions the idea of home as the paradise that we all seek, the authentic conclusion in man’s journey towards desired change. According to her, this principle of arriving at the destination is inappropriate because it is impossible to determine the tangible effects of activism without the onset of time. Home will always be an abstraction that is unattainable because the purpose and meaning of activism lies within the journey itself. The beauty of the fight lies in the process of celebrating the little victories – the temporality of each victory is what makes it meaningful. However, she also offers the contradictory notion that perfection, despite being rigorous in its demands, serves as a means of grounding ourselves in the reality of the darkness. There is an inherent danger in becoming too idealistic in our activism, and the “stick” of perfection that we need is one that strikes our perceived notion of paradise out of the equation. Nevertheless, this sense of perfection is rooted in the deep feeling of loss, which therefore implies that this perfection we seek is rooted in the belief that it can be attainable once more.
The selected principles function within Solnit’s framework by focusing on the process of creating instead of settling into the comforts of mere rhetoric. Instead of establishing a concrete and restrictive endpoint, these sets allow values and methodologies to naturally develop towards something greater than themselves. It seems that the goals of these principles is not to attain paradise but to attempt to construct a dynamic process that is a paradise in itself. By acknowledging the inherent limitations of the entire movement, these principles are able to stay rooted in reality whilst remaining flexible for possible changes. The common theme of these sets of principles is shared responsibility, which indicates that this form of activism is one built on empowerment and human industry.
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By: David Huerta
Solnit reframes darkness as the unexplored, the possibility of having greater shifts that could or could not be foreseen. She does not frame it as the genetic thought of apocalyptic ends. It is not the typical daydream for a bright future but more of a realistic understanding that the future contains more than comfortable outcomes. This is what Solnit is referring to when she states that “it’s always too soon to go home.” You cannot come to conclusions when the curtains have closed, when the first sight of the credits appear because then you do not see the aftermath.
Conclusions are not always set in stone, yet Solnit mentions that perfection can bring out possibility. “Perfection is a stick which to beat the possible,” it can be said that perfection is a sort of faith that absorbs the possible from the ideal of the impossible. It is contradictory when you cross the two. One takes the side that nothing is finished and the other states that the possible is reached through perfection. If you take them as steps (like the selected principles), then these two ideas that Solnit rises establish a system which one pushes for perfection and possibility while the other does not take the results at face value. With this sort of filter, the selected principles that are mentioned in Edward’s work function in phases that cannot come to perfection but can only reinforce the goal of doing so. It turns into an iterative process where things work towards getting better but will not reach perfection.
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By: Thien Nguyen
Solnit, along with Virginia Woolf, views darkness as inscrutable rather than terrible. Solnit associates darkness with hope and future. She states that to hope is to gamble and the desire on the possibility for brighter future is better than to mourn and be gloom about.
Solnit’s statement that “it’s always too soon to go home” describes the feeling of giving up when it is convenient. People are more likely to give up and feel unmotivated when they fail to reach their goals. Another discussion that matters is the perfectionists’ points of view and how it relates to the constant thrives. Perfectionists are people who stop taking actions when there is at least a minimal flaw in a goal. There needs to be an absolute state of mind and an end to such a goal. When that is compromised by other superfluous factor, they stop. The mentality connects to the following quote: “perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible”, because perfection pertains to a sense of absolutism and that sense of behavior, carried on by people, fail to be applicable toward the natural world that contain many flaws like cruelty, violence, and destruction. This is why the possible even on mundane routines can be scrutinized by such judgment. As of result, the contradictory ideas in the construction of an intellectual/emotional framework for movement for change need a constant reminder that “this is earth. It will never be heaven” (p. 7). This notion correlates to why it more important about the journey rather than a destination. It is better to be winning than have won something that marks an end. In conclusion, a steady journey into a dark future illustrates the unbroken hope that is in an individual’s mindset when they are conflicted with the present in figuring out the future.
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By: Roaldin Fernandez
Darkness is seen as a good thing for the future because you cannot see the outcome. There is no light or yellow brick road that has been laid out for one to follow towards a specific goal; it is mysterious. It is not predetermined, you create the journey and that makes it beautiful rather than terrible. Earth will never become heaven because of mans nature to be competitive and create violence. Species have to go extinct and new ones emerge while the strong survive, it is the order of things. Humanity has to many flaws by nature and it will be impossible to reach perfection and create a perfect world between the eco system and people. However we can reduce the devastation but never fully eliminate it. Perfection creates an ongoing pursuit to which one would never reach the finish line, we can reach ninety-nine percent but never one hundred. Many people believe that there must be a goal in order to reach perfection. According to Solnit, "paradise is not the place in which you arrive but the journey towards it.” During the journey towards perfection as Solnit describes, one would eventually fall to errors and rise from learned mistakes. That within itself is a flaw, so in other words the idea of perfection being the journey shatters.
The selected principles of Edwards go in hand with the concept of darkness presented by Solnit. The frameworks by different countries such as the Netherlands or states such as Minnesota and Hannover have created a journey to arrive towards a goal. That goal is foreseen but the journey a shadow with multiple routes to take in order to achieve the goal. The people create the journey and that makes it beautiful, the notion of achieving the goal by creating the journey itself is satisfying. That goal for a sustainable environment won't be perfect because in order to fix one entity in nature you will harm another sector. It is impossible for the journey or goal to be perfect for humans and even nature are flawed.