Jungle

I've been listening to early-to-mid-90s jungle music (example) on YouTube in the mornings while I study, and its profound optimism has become infectious. It's hard for me to articulate exactly what about it is so inspiring, other than its sense of warm expansiveness. It's the sound of a future that isn't grim, but inviting and full of possibility. This is the kind of music you blast in the spaceship while flying around the galaxy meeting aliens.

The art in these videos, too, matches this sentiment: it's primitive CGI, and while the primitiveness is interesting in itself, it also exists within a historical context where it's only going to improve in quality alongside technological advancement (which was glaringly obvious to everyone then, though it's less so now despite still being - mostly - true: now our recent progress has been in large-scale data analysis, which is more important than CGI but less immediately impressive). The upsides of technology were obvious and the downsides had yet to manifest. Even the most optimistic of jungle artists became darker as the 90s progressed.

Maybe it's time to regain a sense of optimism. Life, for all its struggles, is good, and we can't build a positive shared culture while we're mired in negativity. Lately I've been explicitly thanking God every morning at sunrise for the new day, and trying to cultivate a sense of gratitude for everything that happens, good and bad. I could be ungrateful, but when you take your life for granted or view it through a lens of antagonism it's harder to learn its lessons, at least for me. So I'm grateful. I've been ill the past few days, but I'm grateful for it. I got to sleep in and had an excuse to watch a movie.

Many people in my life have fallen into despair and dysfunction as a result of 2020. I call them up and they complain (or they call me to complain). They've lost their joy, and their sense of humor, and even, I think, their personalities (at least a little bit). They're not who they once were, and I'm not sure they'll fully recover. There's no reason for it. Life is good, despite all the struggles, and it's only with optimism that we can build a strong future together. Listen to more jungle.