Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017 – Changing ‘X’

steampunk-hands3-2017-xpkImage Courtesy of Mr. XPK

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

 

These words of wisdom by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr serve as reminder and check as to how we might best spend our time and efforts. Do we dwell on the unchangeable past, do we plan for different outcomes in the future, do we make changes right now which show that we have learned from our experiences and ensure a better path forward?

Previous posts for this year’s Steampunk Hands Around the World have discussed the value in exploring alternate pasts, understanding the roles and forces in play, and how those ideas help us decide what kind of future we want to have.

Steampunk makes our lives better by giving us the tools and the community to make real changes in our own lives, at least, if not in the larger world, as well.

Steampunks have the opportunity to be role models every day by the example we present to others. It may be our attention and effort in looking well groomed and well dressed or our politeness and courtesy.

Maybe it will be the idea of equality and inclusion, through altruistic actions and egalitarian intent. We can show how there are no true boundaries or limitations on who can do what, aside from a person’s skills and abilities. There is only one biological role for women, and one for men, but all other tasks and jobs in the world can be done by anyone.

Society and culture may want to enforce artificial rules and support peer pressure which limit what a person aspires to do, and it may try to shame those who go against them. Each and every one of us can break that cycle of influence and show others that there are other equally valid paths and perceptions of what is possible.

What an individual can do is not determined by their gender, or sexual orientation, or the color  of their skin, nor by any other factor or description other than “Can you do “X”?”

Steampunks can be part of all social changes. We can speak out against discrimination, and exemplify inclusion. We can take action in marches and call our government representatives. Perhaps most importantly, we can have one on one discussions with others, and share our own personal stories.

We may not change the world overnight, but we can work to expand perspectives and understanding, one person at a time. If we don’t at least try, then surely we will always fail.

 

Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.

 

Published in: on February 27, 2017 at 8:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017 – How Did We Get ‘Here’?

shaw-2017-xpk-2Image Courtesy of Mr. XPK

In the real world, there’s strife, hardship, and a world seemingly in aggravated turmoil. There’s also admirable displays of leadership, generosity, and genuine compassion.

In the steampunk community world, we have, and had, our share of disagreements, destruction, and ego, but we’ve also had shining examples of outreach, communication, and engagement.

Steampunk and the community makes our lives better by creating an environment to research and review history on several levels – national, local, community, and self. It all gives us perspective and knowledge how to ensure we do not fall into the trap of “Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it”.  Each one of us has the ability and responsibility to learn, apply, and guide.

Looking at the real history of the 1800s, we can understand the foundations which led to next steps which ultimately brought us to this world we live in. Why is there race inequality in some (all?) countries? Why do the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Why is there cultural and philosophical animosity between Group A and Group B? Why are we just now getting to adopting electric and self driving cars? Why isn’t the future I was promised here now? Where is my jet pack?!!!

Similarly, we can see how our steampunk community has grown and evolved  in a fairly short period of time to be the groups and events, and the ‘feel’, which we have today. Which groups persist and which have fallen by the wayside. Which expressions of steampunk get more attention and which have faded to obscurity? How have topics of discussion changed from year to year? How are things different now from the start of regularly held conventions, to before that when there were just message boards, and before that when very tiny groups of people talked about a similar world theme in books they had read?

In the previous post, we briefly looked at how the steampunk worlds we create show us those things we want to be part of our future. it’s important in that process to recognize the reasons why things are they way they are — we need to learn how things work if we want to change those systems and build better ones.

Steampunk in its many forms can lead us to learn how, and why, and with that knowledge, we can understand more fully the here and now.

How does steampunk help you better make sense of “here”?

 

Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.

Published in: on February 26, 2017 at 11:56 am  Comments (2)  
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Steampunk Hands Around the World 2017 – The Future

shaw-2017-xpk

Image Courtesy of Mr. XPK

Tinkering and DIY. Form as important as function. Equality and acceptance.

These are common themes throughout steampunk, and they not only say what we want our alternate 1800s to be like, but also what we want our future to be like.

Steampunk as a means to inform our future makes our lives better by letting us build our wish list of what that future holds, and gives us the playground to try out all of those ideas.

Steampunk may say that common courtesy should be the baseline behavior. It may say that our technology should be more accessible than electronics which can only be replaced and not repaired. It may say that quality if far preferable over quantity. It may say that everyone is invited and no one is excluded. It may say there are no glass ceilings and no limitations on what a person could do.

In the documentary, Vintage Tomorrows, it’s commented that steampunk makes a statement – quite a few, actually – and the initial dinner panel, which included yours truly, essentially asked “If steampunk is about building a better past, what kind of future is built from that?”

We can bring all of our steampunk goodness from the fictional realms and social gatherings into our current and future life. We can make today be about ensuring equality so that it is part of tomorrow’s structure. We can add elegance and fashion to how we dress today so that tomorrow it’s custom and tradition instead of an exception. We can be a constant example of politeness and civility today so that such behavior is the norm tomorrow.

Everyday we have the chance to build that future we want, one step, one action, one expression at a time. Out future is always rushing toward us, and steampunk gives us a chance to shape it in ways which make our lives better.

How are you building your future? What steampunk elements are being used as the foundation for it?

 

Follow along each day as new entries are added to the Official Link List and join the discussions on the Facebook event page.

Published in: on February 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm  Comments (3)  
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