A Senegalese Consortium/Tribute to Ursula Le Guin.

A number of fluorescent bulbs illuminate the room.

I tell this story now, not as who I was at the time when I was an audience to it- at the time while I was immersed in the related experience, but as who I am now.

Who I am now.

I was reading Ursula Le Guin’s “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”, earlier today.

Yesterday while browsing the internet, was when I became aware of the fact that Ursula Le Guin had died.

The online page making me aware of her death, was what reminded me of her.

Not at all to imply that Ursula Le Guin was not an important person, but right now I wonder what people one will need death to be reminded of.

A lot, I imagine. A lot.

A number of fluorescent bulbs illuminate the room.

I tell this story now, not as who I was at the time when I was an audience to it- at the time while I was immersed in the related experience, but as who I am now.

I got that from her book- that technique.

In “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”, Ursula (intriguingly in my perspective) was surprisingly bold at inserting her own voice as an author. While she described the scenery in Omelas to the reader- she periodically interjected in first-person voice- acting as some sort of exuberant intermediary between her story and her reader.

I liked that.

Now I find myself doing it.

Ursula Le Guin lives on?

A number of fluorescent bulbs illuminate the room.

The floor is robed in thick rugs.

I like the rugs. They are furry to the touch, and they help me keep warm.

In this room with me, are about twenty other men. Or thirty. I am not sure.

There is more than one style of writing I picked up from “Those Who Walk Away From Omelas”. I might not be able to say what and what and what precisely, but I feel it.

In this room with me, are about twenty other men.

They are listening to the man seated in front.

I say “they”, and not “we”. Precisely because I am not listening.

These people appear interested in the ongoing sermon.

I really am just here for the food.

The Senegalese have interesting food. Very interesting food.

You should see me eating when it’s time. Oh you should see me. You should see me eating their food.

A number of fluorescent bulbs illuminate the room.

At previous meetings, a wood fire was the central source of illumination.

Now there are fluorescent bulbs.

Is that to be taken as progress? Really?

Are these people better now because now they employ these phosphor bulbs for light, and not a wood fire anymore?

There are rugs now. I am much warmer now at these meetings. There is also more food. There is much more food. That is progress. Life is better. Life is much better.

But with bulbs, really I feel it’s not nearly as clear-cut.

Let me explain why:

The Senegalese have their food. They have their clothes. They have their culture. The people in this room with me, have their religion. One I actually have no business with, because the food is my target variable. But that aside.

The Senegalese do not have bulbs. There is no such thing as a Senegalese bulb, I do not think so.

 

Working with that, if we designate fluorescent bulbs as some sort of metric for progress, then it means the Senegalese people are always going to be behind whatever people in the world that it is, design bulbs.

And so I am not thinking like that. It’s illumination. In my beachfront studio apartment I employ candles for illumination. And I like them. In my opinion, I am no way behind anyone else, just because they appoint fluorescent bulbs as being responsible for their own illumination.

But I like these rugs.

I’ll stay behind after the meeting to enjoy the rugs some more.

A number of fluorescent bulbs illuminate the room.

 

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