Contact

On my commute to school, I was listening to The Incredible True Story by Logic (for about the thousandth time). It’s such a well-composed album, with scenes of dialogue between all the tracks. It provides perspective and gives deeper meaning to all the lyrics. The premise of the album is essentially that Earth was destroyed by its inhabitants in the year 2023, and now, we follow the story of the flight crew aboard the Aquarius III and their search for a land called Paradise. Paradise is told to be just like Earth once was many years ago. They’re uncertain of what Paradise holds, but they still travel the depths of space to find it.

After reading The Transmission of Affect by Teresa Brennan, it made me wonder about space. Space is vast with thousands upon thousands of celestial bodies floating around without a (visible) end in sight. Listening to the album, I envisioned myself attached to the Aquarius III, drifting in space and thinking,

“If there’s nothing really here, how would I feel in space?”

But there is something there, right? There’s space. There’s light. Okay, so we can’t confirm there’s life, but that non-human agency (that Bennett spoke of in Vibrant Matter) has to means something…right? It made me wonder if you could feel the atmosphere (of the literal atmosphere) the same way Brennan describes walking into a room and feeling the atmosphere.

I mean, look at it:


But to feel is different than what emotions you experience. Emotions have transformed over time. They are not to be confused with feelings. On the subject of affect, emotions are the bodily responses to affective states. It’s essentially how you internalize the relationship between your surroundings and your physical state. They are not the sources of affect. Like a math equation, when you include the person and their experience is when they project or introject a judgement. That is when transmission occurs. It orients you to your surroundings.

This, in turn, makes you feel something. But that feeling isn’t affect. Feelings are simply “the sensations that register these stimuli and thence to the senses” or a “unified interpretation of that information (5, The Transmission of Affect).”

The difference between affect and feeling is how it’s transmitted.

Back to my commute. So, I’ve got all these thoughts running through my head, and I had an epiphany. “Like Whoa.” (That’s a song title on the album, too.)  Transportation in the city is like space. The stars and asteroids (and all that good stuff) all works with each other. The pull of gravity holding onto Jupiter’s moons, the sun sustaining the gas levels on Mars, the asteroid belt protecting planets (like ours). It all affect the “life” in space.

For the city, it’s a commodity that is purposeful for society to function. The pavement buses drive on, the locations of the bus stops and train stations, the people who pay to ride on them. They all communicate to each other, even if no words are exchange. The life that transit gives to us affects us, just as we affect the transit that exists. Sure we make it dirty, and we use it, but it’s life breathes into us and affects how we live, and maybe even how we are raised. It affects our opinions and assumptions of neighborhoods stations are in and buses pass through. Transit is in and of the city. It’s what we think of when we think of New York. It’s how we make contact.

– Yangsin

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~ by ylauvazquez on October 4, 2016.

4 Responses to “Contact”

  1. First, I really liked how you opened your blog post with talking about Logic’s music. I too loved the album and Logic, and it’s interesting how you were able to incorporate this particular album with what we’re learning in class. I found your conversation about feeling vs emotions really informative, and it helped me better understand the concept. Overall, it’s really well written as well. Good job!

  2. Best overall, not only because of how well you wrote the narrative (A segue, a nutgraf, the recursive, back to the point,) but also because your writing voice is both pedagogic and casual, allowing you to work with the content in an appropriate manner for this blog.

  3. Best learning: Love how you add music playlist and i do have the same feeling of a personal space whenever I put on my ear plugs. You explained transmission of affect as “internalize the relationship between your surroundings and your physical state” and that’s a good point. And I like how you make connections with the songs’ titles with a bigger topic of life and space, affect and feelings.

  4. I really like your opening of taking about the space and its relative affects. I think I have learnt the most from your post in that you specify and consolidate the theory we read and connect them to your ideas pretty well.

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