Nature’s Benefits

While many blog posts may seem to focus on their reaction to the Frankenstein app, I hope to address an essential part of the novel that has not been fully discussed. This essential component of the novel deals with Nature important role in Victor’s life. Although Victor thinks he can outsmart Nature with his scientific knowledge creation, he certainly benefits and finds some peace and comfort when he encounters with Nature. Victor’s relationship with Nature reflects Victor’s dependence on it and its close bond to Victor.

Victor is physically dependent on the benevolent provisions of Nature in order to help him recover from sickness. He becomes attached to the Natural environment by observing and enjoying the Nature’s provisions. This is noted in his physical recovery process after his professors, Waldman and Krempe, torment him from their commendations of his scientific achievements. Despite Victor’s initial sickness, his “health and spirits [are] restored” and he “gain[s] additional strength from the salubrious air [he] breathes” and “the natural incidents” that occur with himself and Henry (Shelley 94). The kindness of nature soothes Victor’s physical pains and, as a result, it enhances his overall well-being. Nature provides full restoration, which Victor lacks even while Henry is with him. And it is this benefitting relationship that leads Victor to depend on Nature.

This dependence and benefit is not only manifested in Ingolstadt, but also wherever he goes. Victor also is emotionally uplifted as he begins on his journey. When he finally reaches Geneva, Victor narrates that “the calm and heavenly scene” at Lausanne “restore[s]” him. Because of this experience and more of his comforting experiences around the world, he continues by admiring the “palaces of nature” for their great ability to revive his painful state of mind (Shelley 97). In this portion of the story, Victor is becoming totally dependent on Nature’s kindness. His emotions are attached to the beauty of Nature that he sees, and this produces the closeness he experiences. He is certainly comforted, and even gladdened, by how Nature assists him to gain some peace in the midst of the chaos he is going through. This reflects nature’s benevolence towards Victor and he finds appreciates and depends on it.

As the story progresses, Victor becomes more dependent on Nature than on people and this is revealed in his relationship even to his family. Because Victor seems to remain in a depressed mood, his father marries him to Elizabeth who has been his closest companion since childhood. The father hopes Elizabeth will be restore his happiness and his former pleasant character. However, after his wedding, Victor is still unhappy, and as a result, he returns to Nature’s pleasant scenery to cheer him up. Away from his bride and father, Victor watches the scene[s] of beauty still more interesting,” “the innumerable fish that are swimming in the clear waters, where [he] can distinguish every pebble that lies at the bottom,” and observe how “happy and serene Nature appears” (Shelley 196). Victor decides not to enjoy Elizabeth and his family on his wedding night, but finds pleasure and joy with Nature’s benevolent provisions. Instead of drawing closer to his family and wife, he draws closer to Nature. By so doing, he depends on Nature more than his family, to soothe his pain and misery. Victor’s conscious action to attach himself to Nature’s greatness and neglect his family shows his strong dependence on it.

Creation and Dysfunction

As we discussed in class, biblical allusions play an important role in the communication of Shelley’s message in Frankenstein. Shelley refers to different biblical instances and uses them to highlight the disorders and troubles between the characters of Victor and the monster. But for this blog post, I intend to focus specifically on God’s Creation of Adam and Eve. This allusion is highly important because both characters accept roles that do not belong to them and this causes problems and despair for them. Victor places himself as God, the Creator of man, and the monster places himself as man, even though he does not have the full physical qualities of a human.

Victor’s position as God is immediately seen in how the monster addresses him. The monster alludes to the creation of Adam and Eve and respects him as his “natural lord and king…[his] creator,” the one who has all power over the monster (Shelley 118). As an added allusion to Adam and Eve, the monster also believes he “ought to be [Victor’s] Adam,” showing how much the monster acknowledges Victor as God (Shelley 119). And, in all of this, Victor never disputes the fact that he is God over the monster. Victor establishes sovereignty in the monster’s mind, making the monster think he is subject in power and authority to him. As God and ruler of the monster, he accepts a role that he cannot handle because he is still man and cannot function as the all-sufficient God who provides and cares for man. This accepted role leads to more problems because conflict and tension grows between both of them. With an attitude completely unlike God’s character, Victor replies “Begone! I will not hear from you! There can be no community between you and me” (Shelley 119). Although Victor establishes himself as God, he does not exhibit God’s qualities and moves farther away from his creation. Shelley emphasizes the allusion to the creation of Adam and Eve in order to show the disorder and problems that occur when Victor tries to become God rather than just a man.

Also, Shelley alludes to the creation of Adam and Eve when the monster desires to get a wife. The monster dreams of finding a friend and companion that would listen to him and sympathize with him, but he does not find such a person. He laments about why his situation has to be different since he thinks he is not much different from Adam. Once, he “remembers [that] Adam [made] supplications to his Creator,” but he cannot find his creator (Shelley 145). He mentions his desire that Victor creates an “Eve to sooth his sorrows,” so he is not abandoned or alone (Shelley 145). However, the monster forgets that he is not entirely human and having a wife or mate is not something he is entitled to as a monster. The monster sees himself as a human and demands human qualities, but he does not appear as human. He wants to be treated as a human who can live with another human, but this is not possible since monsters cannot exist with humans. As a result, more troubles ensue between both characters because of this allusion. The monster accepts a different role that is not himself and this causes more trouble and distress for both characters. This allusion to the creation of Adam and Eve further illustrates the problems that can arise from accepting the wrong role or becoming the wrong character.

Shelley uses the allusion of creation to point out the fundamental error in accepting a role that is contrary to one’s identity. By comparing Victor and the monster to God and Adam, she clearly expresses the importance remaining as oneself and not becoming another character.

Overactive Ambition

Many blog posts seem to have explored the benefits and detriments of technology or science in our technologically advanced world. While most attention is immediately placed on science or technology, it is also important for us to look at human nature. This concept of human nature is expressed through the over-ambition of both Robert Walton and Victor Frankenstein. The over-ambitious efforts of Robert and Victor help cause their predicaments.

Robert’s extravagant desire to venture towards the cold and bleak land of Archangel is not accepted by anyone who knows him, certainly not his sister. When he initially writes to Margaret Saville, his sister, he reminds her that she “regarded” this trip with such evil forebodings,” revealing that Margaret does not approve of this perilous voyage (Shelley 51). She believes that Robert’s voyage is too ambitious and can result in more despair than glory or success. In fact, Margaret is not the only one who feels this way. Robert still wishes that “some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative,” concerning his excessive determination to sail to the poles of Archangel (Shelley 53). It confirms the truth that no one truly wants Robert to put himself in predicaments for his passionate ambition. Nevertheless, Robert chooses to continue on the dangerous voyage, due to his ambition and desire, knowing fully well that Margaret could “never hear from [him] again” (Shelley 56). Robert disregards the safety and importance of his life in order to fulfill his extravagant ambition. This desire causes him and his sailors to be surrounded by ice on Archangel.

Similarly, Victor becomes so enthused and filled with passion from the scientific knowledge he gains from his studies that he desires to create life. His over-ambition to create out of nothing becomes a detriment to him when his creation is finished. As he contemplates making life, he imagines that “a new species would bless [him] as its creator and source,” and that “happy and excellent natures would owe their being to him” (Shelley 80). Victor ponders on how gratifying this achievement would be for him, but neglects the despair and danger that comes from attempting to create life. He does not understand that this ambition to be father of a new species would cost him much more than he would ever gain. Thus, he becomes so engulfed in this task that he cannot stop working on it. As he narrates his past to Robert, Victor remembers “dabbl[ing] among the unhallowed damps of the grave and torturing the live animal to animate the lifeless clay,” which explains how this ambition has toiled with his sanity (Shelley 81). His mind only thinks solely on fulfilling this extravagant desire and he takes bizarre and over-ambitious efforts to achieve this desire. In addition, Victor feels the physically and mental strain of being overwhelmed by his ambition. He mentions that “[his] limbs now tremble, and [his] eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic impulse, urge[s] him forward” (Shelley 81). Victor seems to have lost his control over this ambition. His conscience is held captive by the passionate desire to pursue this one ambition, and this becomes highly detrimental to him.

The power of over-ambition in the text helps to explain these two characters vividly. Robert and Victor both seem to have their eyes fixed on things that are too costly to achieve in real life and this becomes a massive problem for both characters.

Benefits of Inaccuracy

In her last blog post, Soloff vividly explains the general limitations and detriments of photography by referring to Trethewey’s, “Bellocq’s Ophelia.” She mentions that photography can only paint a single moment, instead of surrounding details, and that photography cannot portray pictures and emotions accurately. Although these observations are indeed detrimental, there are also some benefits to these limitations that apply to Ophelia’s situation. Ophelia uses these restrictions of photography to control her appearance and identity even in the conditions of subjection in which she finds herself. She also empowers herself with this control of appearance as an apprentice photographer.

The level of Ophelia’s control is first observed in her relationship with Constance and her mother. When Ophelia writes to Constance about the “lewdness” of her photographic experience at the police station, she immediately decides to send “this picture of her good work/,” one “modest portrait for [her] mother.” She makes it clear to Constance and her mother that they “will not see those [lewd] photographs,” because the photographs expose the accurate truth about Ophelia’s life experiences (Trethewey 29). By sending a “modest portrait,” and hiding the lewd photograph, Ophelia chooses to mask the reality of suffering from the external view of Constance or her mother. The modest portrait provides an inaccurate description of her conditions, but is beneficial to Ophelia because she can choose the appearances that she wants people to see. In essence, she is in control of how she is represented in each photograph, even though she is auctioned like a slave to white men.

In addition, Ophelia mentions that she “knows how not to be exposed,” when in front of the camera because this knowledge retains her sense of power (Trethewey 42). Knowing how to avoid exposure influences the appearance of her posture and makes her invulnerable to the judgments of men who look at her. Her true identity as a mulatto is hidden from the portraits, but she controls herself so that she is acknowledged as the white woman she thinks she is. This obscured appearance of the photographs helps her benefit personally because she is portraying how she views herself to the outside.

Ophelia also benefits from the control she gains as a photographer herself. In her diary titled “Disclosure,” she enjoys the “power/ [she] finds in transforming what is real—a room/ flushed with light, calculated disarray” (Trethewey 44). The room that is referenced is disorganized in reality, but becomes an object of wonder because of Ophelia’s influence and power to transform an ordinary room to an object of significance. When she is behind the camera as a photographer, she has control over what specimens to include within the frame of her lens. She also has the power to portray the picture in whatever manner she desires. This freedom of desire benefits her because she controls the appearance of the picture and she enjoys it.

Although photography inaccurately portrays Ophelia’s appearance and true identity, she is able to gain some control over her life through her choices and knowledge. This incorrect portrayal of appearance and identity serves as a benefit to her because she is satisfied and content by them.

The Importance of Memories

“Bellocq’s Ophelia” is not just of collection of poems by Natasha Trethewey, but also a strong expression of the importance of keeping different memories. Although, Ophelia prostitutes her body to several men, her past and present recollections of a life of hardship and discriminations help explain why she acts in this manner. Ophelia writes to her dearest Constance Wright partly to justify her immoral lifestyle based on the rough memories she recollects from her society’s discriminative attitude toward her as African American mulatto.

In her first letter home, Ophelia remembers the effects of this racial judgment on her self-esteem. Initially she walks the streets of New Orleans, as confident as a “white woman, so [she] thinks” but shrinks into a “negress again” once she encounters any white stranger (Trethewey 7). She is compelled to lose her sense of importance when she meets with any white stranger. Without the presence of a white stranger, she is free to hold herself in high esteem and bask in the comfort that high esteem. But when she returns back to the sad and harsh reality of the society’s perception of her as a black woman, she becomes an ordinary person without any form of confidence.

Also, Ophelia recollects that she is unable to get a job because she notices that company or merchant “needs a girl,” because the society believes that black women should be restricted to ‘back-bending” work and “picking time” in the “cotton fields” (Trethewey 7, 8). At this point she is hurt by the harsh misrepresentation of her as a “girl,” and by the unfair qualifications that undermine her competence as a company worker. But these are all causes of the way her society views herself and other black women like her. These situations of subjection make her greatly concerned to the point where she feels a certain “desperation that tightens her throat (Trethewey 7),” which reflects her desire to live a life of freedom where is not restricted by society’s perception of her. She needs a new lifestyle that would remove the pressures and burdens of her past and present memories, whether moral or immoral.

Finally, Ophelia recounts that her inability to “keep up her [job] inquiries,” as the “rent was coming due,” made her choose to live and work for Countess P as a prostitute. Like the other memories, this experience portrays the kind of burden she faced in a harsh society. She cannot seem to sustain herself because she has been deprived by the society’s discriminative attitude towards her, giving her no choice but to prostitute herself in such a desperate moment.

In truth, she probably would not have made this decision, were it not for these rough memories that increased her discomfort. Moreover, these are just a few memories that illustrate Ophelia’s feelings and choices toward the life of prostitution throughout “Bellocq’s Ophelia.” Thus, the importance of memories is further communicated through Ophelia’s decision to free herself from desperation, however immoral or unacceptable it might be to the society.

Mimicry For a Reason

We expounded on the idea that these bachelors enjoyed their comfort only at the expense of the women’s hardships, and this was a major connection between both stories. We also highlighted the narrator as another major link between the stories since he had the opportunity of witnessing both contrasting sides of life. Literary Critic Karen Weyler points out that this narrator only mimics the attitudes and moods of the both the bachelors and maids, but she never fully expands on why this is the case. I believe the narrator copies their attitudes and moods so that he reveals his empathy for the working women. This is shown by the satiric view of the first story and the seriousness of the second story

Although he may have copied the attitudes of the bachelors, the ironic and satiric view of the bachelor is what hints at his beginning sympathy for the women. This view explains the relation of the narrator’s mind to the serious issues beyond the merriment of these bachelors. After a night of perpetual drinking, all the bachelors seem to be in a state of happiness and good feeling. The narrator finds it natural to only introduce a serious concept of pain just when these bachelors are in their happiest state, unable to feel pain because they are in the farthest possible emotion from pain. He copies the attitudes of the typical bachelor who cannot “suffer himself to be imposed on monkish tales of pain and troubles,” but raises the important issue because his heart and mind definitely remember such a thing as pain, even though it is in light of the bachelor’s attitudes (1264). He is struck by this one important idea of pain that hits his mind and really does not concern the Templars or the bachelors, but the rest of the world outside the bachelors, which, in this period, could be those people who suffer in the society. The narrator may not have directed this idea immediately towards working women but he surely flashes his mind on those who are pain for suffering. The narrator digresses to such an important issue just before the beginning of his journey, furthering the notion that he has thought about the possibility of pain contrary to what the bachelors think. But it becomes clear who he is sympathetic towards working women.

During the second story, the narrator can engage himself by viewing and empathizing with the pain he has reflected on and he can sense that actual magnitude of suffering is enough to experience what these working women experience, “tearing pain…since his “cheeks are white and frozen,” similar to the moods and attitudes of the maids. (1271). Now the narrator is beginning to see the cruel example of suffering and is partially experiencing the suffering of these women through his pale cheeks. He deeply feels their tragic pain from the unrelenting machines to the point he himself is speechless at the sight of them, just observing their pallid faces in their different assignments. Many times, the narrator become concerned and confused by the horrible, negative images of these women next to the unrelenting machines, to the extent that he stammers this question: “why makes these girls so sheet white?” and this answer “These are all maids” (1274, 1278), all filling him with the same miserable emotion and empathy for their state of depression, which he mimics. He is overwhelmed by their suffering and his representation of their frozen looks makes him empathize greatly with them.

Contrasting Places

The short stories, “The Paradise of Bachelors” and “The Tartarus of Maids,” show great contrast between the living experiences of the bachelors and maids. As explained by my fellow classmates, it is evident that the narrator closely details the extreme polar conditions of these two groups of people. Full of knowledge and literary scholarship, the well-to-do bachelors enjoy a life of merriment and abundance which they seem to communicate and share together. However, the maids become objects of desolation and misery through the harsh working conditions they face. After further examination, I have come to understand that the narrator also uses the setting of each story to show this difference.

In the initial passages of “Paradise of Bachelors,” we are given pleasant images of the Temple, both natural and artificial, that display the freedom of comfort that these men are allowed to experience. They are allowed to “sip [their] leisure in the garden” or “worship in the sculptured chapel,” to act in whatever manner that appeals to them as bachelors in all the beautiful places of the Temple (1257). The beauty of the Temple’s environment makes it conducive for doing any activity. It makes the Temple accessible to them at any moment and gives them the freedom to make use of its attractive resources. These bachelors are not affected negatively by the outlook of their surroundings, but are motivated to enjoy their lives in the Temple. “The narrator himself describes the Temple as a city of its own, filled with “flower beds…. courts, banquet halls, cloisters…” The temple is aesthetically pleasing, and if it is a big as a city, it provides these men with the luxury of living and experiencing this abundance of provisions for their own gratification.

On the other hand, “The Tarturus of Maids,” immediately presents us with the dismal environment that surrounds the paper mill. The author explains that gusts of snow “blast piercingly and shrilly” and that “mountains stood pinned in shrouds…a pass of Alpine corpses,” creating a completely lifeless environment (1268, 1269). The stillness of the surrounding contributes to the severe lifestyle of the girls because they become depressed from the monotony and dullness of what they see around them. They are unable to enjoy the peacefulness of their homes, but must work as frozen and solemn as the mountains that surround them. They are strongly affected by the bleakness and dullness to the point where they do not talk even to one another. The fact that these girls keep silent explains that they have adapted to the lifelessness of their surroundings. The harsh weather and natural conditions do not leave any hope for their lives, and this is not worth speaking about. Also, the paper mill is referred to as the “Devil’s Dungeon,” or a “Dantean gateway”, signifying hell, the place where people there are made to suffer without rest (1266). These descriptions are extremely cruel and frightening, but they portray the harsh intensity of factory work in this paper mill. The girls undergo continuous physical labor and are subjected to twelve hours of work every day for an entire year. It only depicts the factory as a place of torment and cruelty and shows the girls’ misery and pain as they work in such a place.

My question is quite different from my blog post. I was just wondering that, the owner of the factory happens to be a bachelor, who is cruel not only to the girls, but strict with the narrator. This totally goes against the character of bachelors from the story “The Paradise of Bachelors.” I wanted to ask from the points of view of both stories, “Who are Bachelors?”   “Are they just selfish pretenders, or what?”

Foster and Identity

While reading Foster’s, “Meat Puppets or Robopaths?” essay, I found it quite challenging to find an opposing view to Foster because his explanations and expositions were so strategically detailed. However, I noticed that he did not delve into what I feel is a pertinent question: Is the lack of owning oneself a good thing or a bad thing? Foster echoed that cyberpunk fiction represented cultural identity as one that showed no personal ownership of one’s self, but then he threw the question which I now consider. In the context of Neuromancer, a lack of self-ownership is most often detrimental to the characters because it prevents them from maximizing their potential and developing relationships with others. There are, I believe, so many characters that lack this quality, but today I say this in reference to Wintermute because he is Foster’s first symbol of cultural identity.

Foster mentions the scene during which Case and the Flatline are thinking about whether the AI owns itself. The Flatline answers that he is a “Swiss citizen but [Tessier] owns the basic software and mainframe,” revealing that Wintermute has been constructed to share his identity in diverse ways (132). Then the Turing police is created to watch and regulate the AIs abilities, which, as we know, Wintermute can only visit people through cyberspace to create memories for them. I am sure that if he were given the chance, Wintermute would strongly support receiving at least Neuromancer’s creation of personality but by operating under T-A, Wintermute loses his ideal character and is restricted from displaying his potential, a decision which he cannot change or influence.

Similarly, Case sees Wintermute as a representation of other characters like Finn or even Linda, which highlights the void of a true personality in Wintermute. He finds it difficult relating and connecting with Case, mostly annoying him, despite the fact that he controls Case, because he cannot be definite in his identity. In fact, he uses Armitage, formerly known as Corto, to bridge the relationship between him and those he recruits. Yet, this attempt at togetherness wavers because he has affected the person of Corto all to the amazement of Case and Molly. This is only just another attempt at establishing a relationship that cannot be.

Although Wintermute leads the assignment for his release, it becomes evident that his capacity for genuine leadership is hampered by his like of identity.

The interesting idea that Foster raises is that this loss of identity is a pivotal part of the history of cyberpunk fiction, which calls to question the historical connections that exist between “new forms of domination and potentials for freedom.” It seems that many cybernetic characters are content in finding freedom something that almost enslaves them. How could such freedom and slavery dwell together? Could it be that the concept of cyberpunk fiction centers on losing one’s identity in order to seek or gain something that is much more than oneself?

Clash of Powers

In retrospect, we have all observed, commented and heard about the disastrous effects of mass betrayal from almost every character. Without a doubt, this theme could certainly be a growing concern as Gibson projects us into the future. However, I hope to take this notion further by speculating what Gibson’s idea of government could be. Can we expect to have a form of government in such a technologically savvy world, or not?

I believe it important to understand the meaning of government before anything else, and, to my knowledge, a government is a leadership system that is enforced by a set of people for a particular region. It is method of control, a perpetual practice of regulation and maintenance of those of a certain sect. With this in mind, there seems to be no concrete evidence for a true government because, throughout the story, there is always flawed or distorted perspective of what could be considered government or not. Initially at the beginning of the book we are introduced to something similar to anarchy where the government is virtually nonexistent. Case experiences the “terminal overdrive” that leads him to “[kill] two men and a woman over…ludicrous” sums of money (7). There is no higher power could establish the grounds for what is appropriate or not, and consequently, he can never be punished or legally dealt with for such injustice. Gibson even characterizes Case as a “thief, who worked for wealthier thieves” which connotes that the anarchic disorder encompasses the entire futuristic world where judgment can be relative to any person’s standards.

However the “shattered wreckage” of the Panther Moderns, “nihilistic techno-fetishists,” destroying and piling up “bodies on the barricades,” closely mirrors terrorism, a government that thrives on creating fear in the hearts of its masses (67). Certainly, they are a body of leaders, in the Sprawl, that follow the belief that people must be killed to achieve their purpose or help out those of their own. Ideally, Armitage never wanted to pay Lupus for going out of control but he had been subject under the Modern terroristic system of government, leaving him no choice but to pay.

Perhaps the most influential government of all is the dynasty or dictatorship set up by Tessier-Ashpool. Though, they appear to be secretive in nature, they have constantly usurped the abilities of ninjas and cowboys in the quest to build some sort of imperialistic regime for place like Zion, Freeside and Villa Straylight, creation of AIs and more gadgets. Tessier has also compulsorily killed those who are in opposition with them as evidenced by the killing of Jimmy, Smith’s supplier. Smith and the Finn examine “the fantastic tangle of powers the T-A’s have” and since “Jimmy got into Straylight and lifted T-A’s intricate head,” the T-A’s send their ninja to kill him (76).

These examples are a part of many more patterns. The one conclusion I can draw is that there could possibly be more violence and destruction associated with the way the world is governed. Also, I think allegiances will play a key role in governing our futuristic society. As we all know almost every character in the story belongs to a larger body that administers greater authority.  I think we cannot point exactly the political direction to which Gibson is leading us. But it is definitely worth examining.

Case of Despair

The overwhelming complexity of this novel is what makes it a fantastic read. It captures the coexistence of technology with human reasoning and the inverse correlation between such advancement in technology and degradation of the wisdom that makes man unique. Many instances from the story hint or reveal the extent to which each character will engage in an outburst of cognitive dysfunction and mass hysteria. They tend to forgo their sense of reasoning, falling in total submission to what they perceive as the center of their livelihood, technology, no matter how obscene and unethical their actions might seem. Perhaps the person with the most explicit reason is Case because he is the main focus of the story. Once a technological wizard, he was intellectually endowed to discover any information, desiring the gratification of innovation that came with each practice and mission. This striking excellence was the purpose of his being, his niche. In essence, the loss of his niche meant the loss of fame and power, a systematic decay in his lifestyle. He would spiral down in to the permanence of emptiness. After his scientific demise, Case struggled to find himself because he lost the perception of reality in his character as an individual. He sought for the vanity of his passions, his interests in cyberspace and the matrix something not even the neurologic Japanese system could fix. And in extreme levels “he’d still see the matrix in his sleep,” explaining and affirming the intensity to which his reality had become warped (Neuromancer 5). He never seemed to grasp the next step when he reached the closure of his psychological journey. As a result, Case became mentally unconscious, much disjointed in his way of life. This also applies into the broad spectrum of our contemporary world. The book has given substantial evidence that we, as humans like Case, are disposed to making psychological, social connections with the array of gadgets we consider as technology or scientific. We want to beautify our phones and laptops, make them most suitable for ourselves and our styles. We cannot imagine a day, or even a moment without some high-tech system which, we understand, qualifies our sophistication. In fact, we want the all the benefits they can give us. Truth is, we enjoy the level of ease and contentment we receive these mediums, but we refuse to ponder what happens next when all else fails.