Apathy & Environment: The Next Generation

Shoot, I’ll be honest. This wasn’t easy for me to think about my proposed ecology and how it relates to affect at first. From Fueller, I started to get what an ecology actually is. Everything in this world is an object. It is matter. This matter is what makes this world a world. Ecology is the language that takes all of this matter and makes it into one. It creates relationships, dynamics, and conversation when you put one object in relation to another. How we express this relationship is the building blocks of an ecology (I think). In better terms, “information ecologies discuss the development, contestation, and invention of life in the present day.”

Although I am aware this is a big deal, it’s almost as though I’m desensitized to how important our relationship with our environment is. They are our everyday building blocks. And I’m not talking about how our environment is important, no. (While it is important,) I’m talking about the actual re-la-tion-ship and interactions we have with our environment and how that adversely has an impact on the people who live in it. But, it got me thinking.

Han Solo shrugging

Even Han is indifferent in an entirely other realm.

I live in the Lower East Side. My mother and father lived in the Lower East Side. My grandmother (up until very recently) lived in the Lower East Side. (As an aside, my grandmother is well. She just isn’t mobile enough to walk up our six story walk up anymore.) With three generations of my family all living on the same block at one point in our lives, you can only imagine the changes that my neighborhood has seen. Upon first moving to New York, my grandmother was very scared for me to stay out past 8:00 PM, because that was the neighborhood she knew, that she was familiar with, that she raised her family in. In stark contract, this isn’t my reality (or at least, it’s not the one I know.) I come home late all the time. I worry for my safety from time to time, but it’s never actively on my mind.

On the subject of affect, Bennett spoke about the notion that there is a separation between things and people. The human and the non-human. The living and the inanimate. With this separation comes a sort of apathy; at least that’s what it appears to me, especially with this generation.

Even if you remove the people, what’s left says a lot about the people who were inside this bubble, their mood, their lifestyle, their work ethic. For my grandmother back in the 70s and 80s, her life consisted of factory work in a low income housing area with seven children in and out of the apartment. She fit seven children and a husband in a two bedroom apartment. I honestly don’t know how she did it, but she did. For me, I lived in that same apartment for a year and a half. She and I shared meals around a cramped dining table every evening, and then I would wake the next day and go off to school. On my walks to school, I’d see Starbucks, cute brunch places, bars, and galleries with little echoes of the Lower East Side grandma once knew.

Bennett says that change isn’t possible without human mood or disposition and mood towards the change affects how the change happens.

For my grandmother, the Lower East Side was a place of hardworking families and factories, of people trying to get by. My mom always told me that you could feel the sweat. Our neighbors would be in the same position as us. There was a mood of determination and hard work. There was a feeling of provision and needing to provide, a sentiment everyone in the neighborhood could relate to.

Nowadays, that mood has evaporated. It’s been replaced with overpriced, bougie bars and boutiques trying to emulate a semblance of culture and “vintage” aesthetic. It’s the hollowness of a mood. It’s a fake mood. It’s not a mood. It’s apathy. It happened a while ago, but it’s happening again, pushing out the last bit of history and feeling that made the LES what it is today.

Which frankly has me feeling a little like Tyra right now.


~ by ylauvazquez on September 19, 2016.

2 Responses to “Apathy & Environment: The Next Generation”

  1. I thought this was overall a great post both in terms of learning and style. I really connected with your last paragraph – your observation of apathy is frankly very relevant and also quite disturbing! You also did well with incorporating your personal story as well as adding a funny gif at the end.


  2. I really enjoyed the way that your personal narrative informed the critical theory that you’re engaging and found it to be overall the best post for learning. It positioned the difficult theory that we’ve been reading in a way that was aligned with personal narrative that wasn’t overwhelming or confusing in either way. It was clear and concise and I really enjoyed it. — Seth Loftis

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