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Sitting Inside Globalism

Thoughts surrounded by overwhelm
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Catskill Mountain Range, NY 2022

I’m trying to find a word larger than collection and closer to encyclopedia to describe the type of diverse agglomerations that evoke a grief-like overstimulation upon contact. This grief-like emotional experience occurs when visiting a place designed for pleasure or education that offers a compressed display of globalism readily available for individual consumption. A mall containing department stores equipped to be their own malls. A massive spanning museum with geographically separated wings.

 

A kind of nostalgic reaction begins to appear when I witness curated, yet disparate ideas, objects, and cultures contained in one meticulously manufactured space.

A cell phone equipped to connect shared opinions without shared context.

A botanical garden, adorned and cultivated with foreign plants requiring foreign soil.

Places where the subject matter is curated to share qualities of sublime beauty, but remain distinctly categorized. This is where I find a deep sense of sonder and subsequently, remorse. The overwhelm comes next, when it feels far beyond the scope of control, irretractable.

A zoo. 

 

A zoo. What an aptly connotated word to describe the phenomenology of moving through a space designed to transport one across large distances of time and location, doing so within short, nearly negligible distances. Accessing inconceivably vast amounts of information within a few steps or swipes. While the technology that makes this possible is something to marvel and truly appreciate, even to express gratitude for encountering, for me, it results in that grief. When my compartmentalization capacities are too saturated to make sense of the whiplashing excitement and confusion witnessing a giraffe in such proximity to a penguin, I’m not sure I can maintain gratitude.

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