Doug’s excessive, mostly unnecessary notes (made as wiki; insert corrections and comments at will!)
Links provided by Miranda:
TIME: 8 Books That Eerily Predicted the Future
Prospecting Futures Online (Miranda’s research project; sign-up by following the link)
0:01 - 5:30 - Introductions, Check-ins and Orientation
5:30 - Initial Reflections
Themes of loss, bleak realities, relevance to/ reflection of current socio-political realites
Mary - notes the harshness of the story; loss of children
Geoffrey - Butler sets us up for the harshness, the loss
Marco - only the latest in the string of calamities; Butler now introducing the political, militant mind; notes Jarret’s religious fundamentalism; the loss of significant others a strong theme (Dan); notes Butler’s own diffuculty with writing this depressing material.
Mary: not here in US (yet), but in the world there is this calamity
Doug: prophetic voice as a warning
14:09 Enter Dona: loves the book…Butlers character development; Talent has more depth; Sower introduces us to the world, Talents broadens the themes
Butler’s Storytelling methods + Depth of Characters
Marcos, Larkin, Seeds of Doubt + Character perspectives, storytelling, intergenerational dynamics
Mary: discussing Marcos; his call to be a religious leader…
Doug: Talents introduces seeds of doubt against Earthseed as a religion; Marco
Dona: who is telling the story? …is it a discovery of the journals…now we see that this is a future generation revisiting the history; from literature POV: who is telling the story; Larkin, reviewing the story of her mother; the book has great character depth…. Lauren is idealistic in Sower….Marco helps her face reality.
Mary: notes the interview of Butler: decision for mother-daughter relationship
Geoffrey: Bankole; the book who are considered heroic are women…gives voice to masculine with Marcos and Bankole
Doug: notes Marcos’ real experience of pain
Marco: Larkin’s subtle pain; without the mother she needed; the delusional vision got her killed, father killed…; other perspectives adding depth;
Miranda: intergenerational significance; coming to the surface in fragments and glimpses; the counteracting elements introduced
Mary: Acorn’s build-up and then wipe out; takes guts as a writer
Emotional requirements of the text
29:38 - Jocelyne: A flow from head to toe: the emotional connection to book’s dystopian pain was too much…hard to detach; in the religious meaning: demonstrates that meaning of life is not what you think it is and religion cannot define your meaning of life; you are the change….very powerful to realize this; loss of children is worst nightmare. Sad and powerful…Butler does not allow us to escape the emotional logic of it…submerging us (and characters) into the darkest side of reality; questions deeply how we build our reality…without social obligations
Mary: reminds her of hyperempathy
Geoffrey: reading in chunks; Lauren as a static in Sower —> plastic in Talents
40:10 -Marco Plants Seed Questions:
What are the ways that people collectively orient around transcendent goals?
Marco: Question of purpose and destiny; Bankole vs Olamina; human’s need a purpose, without it, humans fall apart; her religion
What are the ways that people collectively orient around transcendent goals? WHat happens if we dont?
Mary: raised as Methodist (resisted the transcendent; whats a church for? Whats a family for? Human relationships have intrinsic value vs scientific values
Geoffrey: the discussion about the space program (dismantling) wasnt a part of the public discourse in 1900s; now questioning; now the private industry leading the argument…may be necessary; religious tones…it is more about building the visions of the future
Doug: Lauren’s immediate community building
Mary: likes the practical, the immediate practical translates into immediate concrete action
52:00 - Does this answer as a religion?
Mary: yes: she is answering all the questions of religion
Geoffrey: gives a sense of security? Not quite, other than a communal security; Quakers are open to questioning
Mary: gives people a sense of power of the world, over the world
Geoffrey: immanent vs transcendent
Miranda: more about political organizing than religious; the fragility and engaging with intentional communities.
Mary: Intentional communities; a testament of Lauren’ s personality and strength
Marco: the imprisonment a blow to the goal of Earthseed
Mary: notes that Butler allows characters to be wrong, to face unsuccessful endeavors
Jocelyne: Children’s role; the feeding of knowledge…emotional detachment; for Lauren, emotion is reality…trying to get everyone on the same page emotionally. To be out of tune with the emotions (lose children —> into despair), they cannot commune. Leading us to a spiritual POV through emotional understanding and process of developing alternate point of view. The text shows a realistic POV about a typically unearthed religious emotional.
Marco: Butler allows herself to be questioned in her characters; her religion strings together observations (from various religions); we would find that they make sense. It is philosophy as much as fiction. The desire for stellar vision is real.
1:15:20 - More Themes of the Book:
Begin nation-state identity vs localized identity; use of war metaphors; creative vs destructive collective visions; chaos and modes of change
Geoffrey: nation-states in decide, thus no support for
1:20 - Jocelyne: study of youth and nationalism vs peace; view of a shared nation not working; religion can behave as a nation
Mary: replace the nation-state? What matters is local
Jocelyne: big vision not the answer, yes…to have a big vision in the face of change is to be limited, to forget our daily changing mind…
Geoffrey: a war is coming; she focuses on the larger while remaining in the smaller…
Marco: Jarrett stoking the jingoistic mind…get rid of the heathens…the larger identity reflects too this smaller identity. We need the nation-state.
Miranda: the European border tightening an issue; the various factors of our current nation relations and the book…war; the US “War on…” as silly rhetoric “
Marco and Geoffrey note the “war on” metaphor; using in medical terms nonsense.
Jocelyne: war as catharsis
Doug: reading from Chapter 2
Marco: the collective vision: creative vs destructive; In reality, this is a great question…local, trbalism….emotional life fulfilled in smaller groups
Geoffrey: issue of immigration in Canada (Party Quebequis) ; (issues of US/Mexico; global warming)
Miranda: Project of collective reading and futures.
Dona: Middle East; after postcolonial, living in nation states; Lauren created the new system of belief, but the setting and chaos is not ready for the full vision, Lauren’s drug is religion…hated Lauren for ; would this religion create a meaning for Dona? The answers are not there…they/she was not open…
Geoffrey: is Earthseed a viable vs is it convincing for me?
Marco: modern religions enbrace an active role for human agency and shaping God (conscious evolution)
Geoffrey - notes book
Marco: faith in literature; religion as prolific; reads to figure out the future.