Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.
~ Octavia E. Butler, The Parable of the Talents
Kindness eases change.
Love quiets fear.
And a sweet and powerful
And engages each of us
In the greatest,
The most intense
Of our chosen struggles.
~ Octavia E. Butler, The Parable of the Talents
Years ago I read Octavia Butler’s books, The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents. I’d like to read them again. In 2016, or maybe it was sometime in 2017 or 2018, a couple of books about a future dystopia were mentioned as art coming to life or eerie predictions of current events. Those books were George Orwell’s 1984 and Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. I think, perhaps, Octavia Butler almost nailed it more so than the others in some respects. For instance, from The Parable of the Talents, there is this:
The Donner Administration has written off science, but a more immediate threat lurks: a violent movement is being whipped up by a new Presidential candidate, Andrew Steele Jarret, a Texas senator and religious zealot who is running on a platform to “make American great again.”
~ from The Parable of the Talents, Octavia Butler
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Ms. Butler died before she finished the third book in the series, The Parable of the Trickster (which might have been the third of a series of seven). I wish she’d been able to stay with us and finish her story.
I’ve been a fan of science fiction since long ago (my teen years — which is the equivalent of long ago). It is sometimes scary to see some of the storylines play out, as if the authors are somehow directing the plot of what we’re seeing today. Then I remind myself that one of the attributes of a good author is their ability to observe, to see how human nature and change will play given a certain direction or path. It’s not prediction, but the prowess of understanding where a certain path might lead and observing the forest (the big picture) as well as the trees.
I’m not reading as much fiction, much less science fiction, lately. Since the 2016 election, my reading has taken a big turn towards non-fiction. I’ve been doing a lot of unraveling and unlearning, especially in regards to the mythology of the country I live in. History, they say, is written by the victors (who are more than likely going to make sure you see things from their point of view). It’s been an interesting journey, one that has required a personal journey as well. A peeling away of the layers and layers of the white, patriarchal, land owner’s, culture in which we live.
A lot has been happening since I last posted. It’s a busy world we live in, a world of interesting times. Perhaps that’s always been true. It’s more noticeable now because technology brings us up-to-the-nanosecond updates. I don’t have the almost prescient abilities of good authors, but I do have some reasonable observation skills, albeit somewhat different since I come at it from a visual (photographer’s) perspective. What I’ve been observing (and participating in, in the ways that I can) brings me a feeling of hope. I haven’t had that feeling in a long time. It’s a precarious thing, hope. The change that might be coming is a long way off and can be derailed in so many ways and yet… there it is: hope, “the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul,” as Emily Dickinson defined it, or “hope is the phoenix, and the people give it wings,” according to Patti Smith.
Take care of the mind/heart, take care of the earth upon which we are kneeling, take care of the world which we make with our views.
~ Joan Halifax, Buddhist teacher
Several months ago I started a photography project. I briefly mentioned it here. I don’t think I said exactly what the subject matter was going to be. Originally, I was photographing things with the idea of trying to present my own vision, without my glasses, playing with blur and the softening of the world that happens when your vision is blurred. My working title, until I could come up with something better, was “What do you see?” Then it began to morph into something else. It became a look at the wounding of trees, some of it intentional (barbed wire fencing, the cutting/pruning of branches, girdling), some of it accidental (lightning strikes, wind, and other “acts of God”). I’m sharing some of that with you now because I see hope there, too. Healing, although it might take a long time, is possible, even with the worst of wounds. Not always. Some wounds are too deep to bounce back from, as we all know. But sometimes, in spite of it all, life wins and healing happens.
Thank you for visiting with me today. I know most who follow me are near my age or older. You’re probably not out on the streets with the protesters. For those who are, please stay as safe and well as you can given the circumstances.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,436) This life, as frustrating and strange and wonderful as it can be. 1,437) The possibility of healing old wounds. 1,438) Love, in all its forms. 1,439) A gift from a friend arriving in the mail this week. 1,440) Rain, early this morning. We needed it.
To know love we have to invest time and commitment… dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love — which is to transform us. Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.
~ bell hooks