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Parable of the Talents

Towards Day 15 of Evolving Systems course

I. coursekeeping
* writing conferences tomorrow in the morning with  Paige & Meredith; in the afternoon with Karina, Summer, Olivia, Aimee, Prianna and Erin

* tomorrow evening: a paper is
due about cultural evolution which includes a future; this could be a continuation of what you've already written; it could be a meditation on/reading of Butler's novel ... go where you are interested and can learn/teach something; be sure to make it concrete both in your claim and your support for it

* Thursday morning I'm flying to Indianapolis to present a panel on "Accessing Wonderland: Seeing, Speaking and writing from the Brain's Point of View" @ the Conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts; meanwhile, you will be meeting w/ Paul's class to discuss Logicomix

This signals our move into the third section of the course, about "Stories of Individuals": "A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space" (Albert Einstein, 1954).

II. But first let's talk some more about how culture evolves (and continues)

NYTimes opinion piece by the co-chairman of the "Planetary Defense Force": By preventing dangerous asteroid strikes, we can save millions of people, or even our entire species. And, as human beings, we can take responsibility for preserving this amazing evolutionary experiment of which we and all life on Earth are a part.

What is the parable referenced in the novel's title?
What difference does it make (to your understanding of the novel), if you acknowledge that source?

Cf. also this Biblical passage, from Ecclesiastes 1:9:
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun ... "

Cf. also this passage from Alice Walker's
2009 poem, "Loving Humans":
Loving humans
Is tricky ...

There is
A Buddha
Every one
Of us
Loving humans
With all
Our clear &
To evolve

Makes this hard
For most humans
To see.

But not you.

III. A few more things to tell you, from Butler's on-campus visit eight years ago

"on the one hand, a realist--detailed social criticism,
yet also hopeful
: offers us a future, pours oil on troubled waters she warns us of"

"we are either going to continue to play the same record until it shatters, or we are going to do something else. The best way to do that, would be to go someplace else, where the demands on us would be different...and we would be forced to change"... but arriving in and adapting to a different world, she warns, "could be better, could be worse. There's no insurance policy."

She concluded that nothing will make us more tolerant, that the unfortunate satisfaction we take in feeling superior to others, our hierarchical tendencies, are OLDER than our intelligence, and often drive it.

Butler emphasizes the importance of family and of reproduction but also interrogates kind, genre and gender in her post-nuclear, post-slavery survival literature: "the monstrous fear and hope that the child will not, after all, be like the parent"; she is writing, in other words, about our ambivalent attitudes towards the possibility of change....

IV. So: if we asked you to write a sequel to this novel,
what would happen?

Jordania: i feel like the Parable of the Sower is the part where it was dark before it gets lighter, and the next part of the story is the better part.

Butler actually wrote a sequel: Parable of the Talents,
a much nastier book than Parable of the Sower.... Christian fantaticism has reared its ugly head, and the chaos of the previous book shifts slowly into a more sinister totalitarianism. The small community of Acorn is destroyed, Lauren's child is kidnapped, and she is imprisoned by sadistic zealots.... Earthseed may be her only chance to survive, but paradoxically, may cause the ultimate estrangement of her beloved daughter. Parable of the Talents is told from both mother's and daughter's perspectives; Lauren's grown daughter has seen her mother made into a deity of sorts....Butler does a good job having two first-person viewpoint characters in the book who often disagree.

Butler intended to write a third Parable novel, tentatively titled Parable of the Trickster, which would have focused on the community's struggle to survive on a new planet.

III. your afterthoughts about Parable of the Sower"
Sounds Like Banana: With Power Comes Responsibility
FluteSound4: Parable of Change
nina44: Evil?
Olivia: Predictions
MC: Tuesday Thoughts
Bingqing: Afterthoughts
SarahAnn: The nature of evil
LemonKoala: Parable of Sower
Aimee: Meditations on Good and Evil
schu: Change, Fortune, Individual Power
Kirsten: just some pondering...
Summer: Born Evil?
Paige: Desentization....