Archive for California

Do-It-Yourself! …Disaster?

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Post-Apocalypse, Religious Roots with tags , , , , on February 10, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Will the environment call forth the power of evil and devastation against those who harm it?   Apocalyptic literature points to devastation of humanity as we know it, but is this the proper response to an environment that endures constant destruction and abuse from human activity?  We look for answers about what our future might bring in literature and religion, but maybe the most reasonable approach is to let nature take its course.  By becoming so infatuated with the future destruction of the environment, it seems that we are deliberately separating ourselves from the foundation of our existence.  It has become socially acceptable to destroy the environment in a world that only exists in the pages of numerous authors, but at what extreme are we actually writing the future history based on our actions today?

As a survival mechanism, we seek to endure and adapt to ever changing environments.  During plague and disease, we cope with the sick and dying, while also studying the causes of the problem.  During war, we devastate the environment of our enemies, but then lend a helping hand to the refugees that survived the turmoil,  forcing them to endure hardships  that we created.  If we are the cause of environmental change, we must then adapt to the possibilities that nature has in store for us.  Lauren, in Parable of the Sower approaches the subject:

Our adults haven’t been wiped out by a plague so they’re still anchored in the past, waiting for the good old days to come back.  But things have changed a lot, and they’ll change more.  Things are always changing.  This is just one of the big jumps instead of the little step-by-step changes that are easier to take.  People have changed the climate of the world.  Now they’re waiting for the good old days to come back… We can’t make the climate change back, no matter why it changed in the first place.  You and I can’t.  The neighborhood can’t.  We can’t do anything. (p. 57)

What are we looking for, that we believe is in apocalyptic literature?  We know the history of our decisions, yet we focus on problems that we do not want to take responsibility for.  We don’t want to do anything different than what we are used to doing.  We do not want to disrupt the modern system that tells us that we are in power.  Lauren is exposed to several of these aspects that we face today.  Drugs, that induce vandalism and pyro activities play a significant role in today’s society, yet we pretend that the outcomes and side-effects are beyond our understanding.  She is exposed to natural disasters.  She  encounters other characters that pretend that previous decisions and actions do not affect the outcomes of those “natural” disasters, but justify the daily tragedies as a daily means of endurance.  Today, we acknowledge the devastation occurring in our own backyard, but fail to remember the decisions made prior to the “disaster” (some examples include the removal of vegetation, which can create dust storms and floods; building infrastructure on active fault lines that can create economic destruction when earthquakes take charge;  ecosystems that have been destroyed by the “necessary” management of  those systems; among other disasters that have come about due to human involvement).  So if we victimize ourselves in futuristic literature, to what extent do we take responsibility for our own actions?

By all means, please, make it your duty to create your own version of the future of the environment you live in.  It is up to you to take part in the destruction of nature as the foundation for human existence; nature, as the foundation for all living things, including plants and animals.  Create your own disater using the Forces of Nature.  And by all means, take the risk, sit back, and let nature take its course!

When all is at it’s worst…make it better

Posted in Natural Disasters, Religious Roots, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2010 by juneaudale

The Parable of the Sower… Dark, Bleak, Dystopic, Beautiful. In this narrative set in the future where the world (California) has become a state of  collapse from environmental degeneration, scarce resources, poverty,  drug induced pyro sociopaths, murderers and survivors, a young woman  escapes her destroyed community after her family is murdered. Lauren who experiences “Hyper-empathy” decides to migrate North with other survivors in desperate search for anything better where her privately developed religion “earth seed” can take root and flourish.

This is a tale of survival, of poverty, of racism. It is a cautionary tale because the future presented as Butler states “is alarming but possible.”(pg337) It has hints of Millinarianism, of colonialism and an eluding towards an apocalyptic apparition of final demise. It is a tale of loss, of pain, passion, love and so much ever present that swims deep amid the human condition. But most of all,  Parable of the Sower is a lesson in morality. As a parable defined, it is in short “a short tale that illustrates universal truth.”  As mentioned, Lauren, the main character possesses  hyper empathy syndrome which was passed on to her in the womb by her mother through the abuse of a drug named Paracetco .  She literary feels the pain and joys of others . However, it is this “hyper empathy”  ultimately that leads her to truth. Her empathy acts as  her moral compass. Acting on impulse for Lauren comes with it much greater and deeper consequences and so she must choose correctly. Through constant hardship, struggle, intelligence and empathy,  Lauren slowly and patiently weaves her image of god that will in time and in hope, transcend  her blend of various ideas, philosophies, and observations  into her own “earthseed” religion. The ever present reoccurring truth identified throughout this narrative as expressed by Lauren is “change.” In her earthseed verses,  the “true one and right one”(pg 24) Lauren “keeps coming back to”(pg 24)  states “God exists to be shaped, God is change” (pg 25)

Her world as so vividly portrayed page after page demonstrates the power of change. It is the only definable reality for her. It is her ultimate truth. And from her world as horrid as it is, she takes that truth and shapes  and sculpts it into her own vision. It is her vision of hope  and survival of the “earthseed” to “eventually take root in the stars.” It is her chosen path to resist. For in her words ” resistence isn’t always safe, but often necessary”(pg134)and in the end when all is at it’s worst…a change is made, and she makes it better.