Drypoint on 240gsm Arches etching paper, 2009, Ed 25. by Chris Diedericks
The main inspiration for Flying Lesson was the discovery of Meta Biology, a dystopian poem by Matthew Ford on the Internet.
We were taught from school to deal with future shock,
Yesterday already a footnote
In the Global History Text, we rush with open arms
Towards the next new miracle,
Ready to deal with the fear of not knowing
What our generation will become
After the Solstice, when all people sleep.
Waiting at the bottom of the ocean
For cast off news, machines monitor
Flux and pattern in the Text:
A slithering binary map of all events.
Anticipating failures far ahead, they intensify
The conditioning to compensate,
While in our every living cell wait
The genetic masons, benignly fixing flaws,
Until a blueprint is relayed to them.
They re-craft our DNA.
Philosophers agree -
This is the end of evolution.
No longer the incidental egg for passing on
Family traits, merely for survival,
No more the coded legacy
Carried like a manual,
Freed from the tyranny of mutation and selection.
Projections show no more
Of nature's accidental heroes will exist
Next year. The automatic masons pick them out.
One Orchid was preserved, one Bee,
But fewer people go to see them.
I pressed my ear to the ground, but I all could hear
Was the Earth growl impotently back,
Like a stomach whose last meal had been creation.
- Matt Ford
However, in retrospect, I believe that Flying Lesson mainly deals with escapism. Escapism is mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant aspects of daily stress. It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to try to help relieve feelings of depression or general sadness. Escapist societies are common in dystopian novels for example Fahrenheit 451, where society uses television and "seashell radios" to escape a life with strict regulations and the threat of a forthcoming war.
Some believe that this diversion is more inherent in today's urban, technological existence because it de facto removes people from their biologically “normal” natures. Entire industries have sprung up to foster a growing tendency of people to remove themselves from the rigors of daily life. Principal amongst these are fiction literature, music, religion, sports, films, television, role-playing games, pornography, recreational drugs, video games and the Internet. As subtly suggested in Flying Lesson, activities that are normal parts of a healthy existence (e.g., eating, exercise, sexual activity) can also become avenues of escapism when taken to extreme.
In the context of being taken to an extreme, the word "escapism" carries a negative connotation, suggesting that escapists are unhappy, with an inability or unwillingness to connect meaningfully with the world.