A Guide to my Final project: Make ‘Murica Strange [Again]

By Donald Hutchins

Questions I intend to have some sort of understanding or conclusion on by the end of our semester together:

What drives climate change denialism? (connection to strangeness: Addressing climate change continues to get spun into politicized debate. Around 70% of the world felt a need to address the axis powers in the 1940’s, while today, greater than 97% of the world’s scientific community, and a majority of the global community, are confident that climate change is happening, is intensified by human activity, and will greatly impact the nature of our planet, as we’ve come to understand it from experience. It is strange that even with the technology, the majority of support, and endless amounts of data: we have yet to address our impending challenges. It is also strange that this never gets addressed, so I will.)

Why is there considerably less public awareness campaigns and consequent policy influence than in previous years? (Connection to strangeness: everything from segregation suffragettes, and the Clean Water Act to SNAP programs, labeled cigarettes, and subsidies for school meal programs depended not just upon information, advantageous technological innovation, and financial backing, but with unending public support for the causes at hand. When people are convinced of something, they hammer it home– to the point that it is far harder to convince a person that they’ve been deceived than to deceive them in the first place. In recent decades, public awareness and general interest in national, political, social, and foreign matters have dwindled in comparison to the 1960’s and before. Many things are likely the cause, so deduce it as thoroughly as is appropriate.)

Why do we praise responsibility and loathe accountability? (connection to strangeness: this duality is a plague upon the American people, and it likely goes unnoticed. Deducing, to any degree, the drivers and motivators of this phenomenon would provide great insight into the human condition, as well as other topics of interest– like climate change.)

Where did the self-destructive affluence come from? (connection to strangeness: radical nationalism, socio-historical dissonance, ingrained exceptionalist supremacy, unconscious nihilism and white-saviorism, neoliberal colonialist imperialism, a fundamental flaw in the development of our culture? Who knows precisely where this began. I’d at least like to brush the surface here, if not flank the topic from within the studies of another. Without intending to I may stumble upon this understanding in the pursuit of the rest.)

Do we value our expectations more than reality? Do we anticipate future value with greater motivation than that used to recognize the value of the present? (connection to strangeness: the degree to which we devalue or discount our present directly impacts the flow of time and space in positive and negative ways. If we’re to understand our relationship with valuation and time, perhaps all these other questions will be easier to address. The past has shown us that we have yet to learn from our lesson, but in the now anything is possible.)

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