Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


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Do People Prefer Mythology or Science?

There is new information coming from every direction, and people want answers. I think that even if you are skeptical about certain things, a part of yourself also want to believe that there is something else beyond facts. People want to know what there was before the existence of humans may choose mythology over science?

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(pinterest.com)

Throughout this novel, we see that Crake and Jimmy have very different personalities. Crake is a number person, who does not believe in any religion or spiritual practices while Jimmy is a word person, who cares about animals and people (sort of).  In Oryx and Crake, we find that Crakers are very curious about their existence and their surroundings as well. Crake customized the Crakers as what he believed would be the ideal human beings. Crake aimed to avoid any type of symbolism and hierarchy among this brand new generation of ‘humans’, but it is easily disrupted by Jimmy’s ideas of the world. Why is that? Jimmy, unlike Crake, believes in something beyond science. He cares about the Crakers and in his attempt to protect them, he reverses some aspects of the Crakers that Crake wanted to achieve through genetic manipulation.

The example of how the Crakers painted a picture of Snowman when they never were explained how to do so, shows the Crakers’ inner abilities which Crake unsuccessfully tried to take away from them. This may mean that it did not matter how much effort Crake put in by trying to erase certain qualities, these were part of their personalities.

We, as human beings, have the tendency to search for explanations about our surroundings. Whether is by believing in something or someone or through science. If one chooses to believe in the great power, one will spend most of one’s life exploring different paths to arrive at a conclusion about where one comes from and what is his/her purpose in the world. Most of us think that science will give more assertive responses about questions that may come up about us and the world, BUT science is constantly changing.

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(scienceprofessionals.com)

So, What do you prefer ?? In which cases do you choose to believe in a greater power and not in science or vice-versa??

 

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Virtual Reality and Violence

In Oryx and Crake, we see how Margaret Atwood used the game “Extinctathon”, “Barbarian Stomp” and “Blood and Roses” to allow the reader to submerge in the minds of two adolescents who want to enjoy themselves. However, we see how the main objective of these two games is to feature virtual violence and to transport the mind of the reader to a world where raping, murdering, massacres, genocides and that kind of violence are popular and is even attractive. Although this is only a fictitious book, this is not too far away from our reality. Violent video games and even movies have become the new trend for people to entertain themselves for a while. But does our society realize what this is causing in our future generations when parents allow their children to submerge in the word of video games and to play violent things or expose them to all kinds of violence?

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After researching a little bit further on how getting a child used to virtual violence affects their view of reality, I found out that playing violent video games or watching violent movies do display brain changes mostly in what is called the “emotional center” part of the brain. It might even trigger depression, anger, aggression and impulsive behaviour. There is research proving this phenomenon, if you are interested, check this out:

How Playing Violent Video Games May Change the Brain

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/10-most-violent-video-games-of-2016-and-what-to-play-instead

Of course, I am not saying that virtual violence makes everyone more violent, all I’m trying to say is that if we continue living in a world that popularizes virtual violence for our own entertainment, what kind of people will we become? I feel that Atwood tried to portray the the reality of the darkness of these things in her book. We see how Jimmy and Crake use all their free time to entertain themselves by virtually killing people, raing women, slaughtering everyone, by watching pornography, not realizing what the kids behind those porn movies they were watching were going through. Later on, we see how Jimmy is unhappy his whole life, and Crake becomes careless, it is as if he has no emotions, and he shows no regret when his plan of wiping off humans from the face of the earth is finally a success. And we as readers think, “What is wrong with the characters of this book?” But the truth is that we live in a world where human beings enjoy themselves this way, too. When we have free time and we feel tired, we seek enjoyment and pleasure sometimes in watching movies or playing games that even if we don’t realize display violence, horror, darkness, and the atrocities of which the human mind is capable of doing if pushed to the limit. Even if we don’t like it and push the idea aside, is it possible that watching so much virtual violence on a regular basis desensitizes us to the pain, to the gravity of living in a world where violence happens everyday? Is it possible that virtual violence is responsible of some of the crimes that we see commited in our world?

What do you think, what is your opinion of the movies or arcades that feature virtual violence?


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Ban all guns for “public safety”!

After reading the first few chapters of The Year of the Flood, I found it fascinating to learn that, in this world, firearms have been completely outlawed and that only the CorpSeCorps can own the newly invented sprayguns. This got me thinking about how after every gun-related attack, there is mention of the need for stricter gun laws or the banning of guns altogether. I struggle with this idea for two main reasons.

Firstly, I doubt that gun laws would ever affect the correct people. A criminal whose goal is to kill people will most likely be able to find a weapon and he won’t care whether it’s legal or not. And, in a situation where the perpetrator of the attack was conscious enough to cause it of his own free-will, I doubt that things like “gun-free zones” would have stopped them from making it happen.

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Secondly, I have difficulty comprehending how it could possibly be a good idea to eliminate the average citizens’ right to own a firearms and reserving it for the police. I believe that evidence of this is shown time and time again whether it be in historical examples, in other countries, or in fiction. I find that the most evident example of the dangers of gun control in the past is what was seen in Nazi Germany. To me, it seems doubtful that the Nazis could have killed as many people as they did if the average citizen were able to fight back against their tyrannical government. The fact that the Germans had already begun disarming Jews and other political opponents seems like strong evidence to the fact that the Nazis did believe that firearms could have caused resistance from the population. And, as with all disarming of the population, they were told that the need to register their guns or have them taken away was an issue of “public safety”.

Then, following the model of the most infamous dictatorship in history, North Korea also possesses very strict gun laws. In fact, in all, only 130,000 guns are in civilian hands in a country of 25 million. So, it seems that oppressive governments, if they wish to stay in power, will rarely allow their citizens to be armed.

Finally, a disarmed civilian population seems to be a common occurence in several dystopian novels. Whether it be The Hunger Games, 1984, or the MaddAddam Trilogy, many dystopians will contain an unarmed populace and a government which owns all weaponry. And, although the world of this trilogy may not seem so bad if one does not live in the pleeblands, I find it terrifying how easily some people would accept that the government or the police force would be the only people who could own guns.

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In general, I see firearms, not as weapons against other people, but as a way to protect ourselves from governments who would be able to control everything and everyone by threatening them with weapons. In conclusion, do you believe that the removal or strict control of firearms by the government is a good thing or is it a way for them to gain complete control over the population through fear?


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The Irony of Isolation

(Photo by Rachmad Sofyan)

Humans are wired to connect. To connect with others for our well-being. When we don’t connect, we isolate ourselves, we lose touch of who we are. This is a reoccurring theme in Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake” with Snowman and from reading the beginning of “The Year of the Flood”, this theme might be emerging with Toby and Ren. I’m referring to isolation; a lack of contact from others.

I would say that Jimmy (pre-Snowman), was a pretty lonely guy. For most of his life as Jimmy he would use sex, cigarettes, alcohol to bring him comfort and to fill the void that loneliness left. Or something like that. My point is that loneliness isn’t new to him. But after the plague, with no one to turn to, Snowman has no choice but to be alone. This is where isolation gets ironic. To replace the human interactions needed for him to be sane, he starts to make them up in his head. The irony makes sense now right? Readers witness him speaking to imaginary voices in his head many times, especially to imaginary Oryx and Crake.

According to a study from Cardiff University, isolation is linked to a higher risk of schizophrenia because of weaker social links and fewer friends. Isolation could also lead to hallucinations, another symptom of schizophrenia. Remember how Snowman tries to hallucinate the presence of Oryx before he starts to sobbingly jerk off into the night? The hallucinations he sometimes has are linked to the loneliness and loss of touch with reality that are caused by his isolation. Fear of others, low self-esteem, depression, and other mental problems can stem from or lead to isolation. In summary, isolation is both a cause and consequence for mental sufferings.

hwwgjp6q0qoiefniba3y(Illustration by John T Takai)

My fellow readers, we don’t necessarily have to be completely isolated from society to experience isolation. You and I could experience it. But does it always lead to a negative consequence? Here’s my question for you: do you think there are any positive consequences to isolation? To finish this off I’d like to invite you to read this interesting article I found about people’s testimonies regarding their experience with isolation. Happy reading!


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Pills Pills Pills

After having one of the class discussion about the book Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood it made me wonder why, Crake plague the whole world. I got to wondering, why were the people so easy to convince to take pills to solve their problems. This, got me thinking about our society and how our medical system works. Why do we take the easy fixes and if doctors could cure someone without a pill, would they? Can we learn from other countries approach at the medical system?
In Oryx and Crake the citizens’ rich and poor took vitamins every day to stay ″healthy″ they still got sick and some died. No suspicions rose about why people were suddenly getting sick and dying, losing all their money trying to stay alive. When going for the easy fix pill instead of healthy dieting and exercise, could have saved them. Why do we always go toward the easy fixes?

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When I was sixteen my doctor told me that I was starting a Thyroid gland problem but I was on the limit line for taking the lowest dose pill. My doctor decided to prescribe me pills. What I didn’t know at the time was that every year from now on I would need to take a blood test because the pills gave me what I needed but my body wouldn’t recognize the pills, therefore my medication dose will almost always go up every year. Since I was on the limit line (I found out many years later), I didn’t have to take the medicine, the doctor only had to ask me about my dietary habits at home (what I ate), I would have easily told him: in the morning; I eat nothing, at lunch; I eat pizza pockets or popcorn or poutine, at night I eat pasta. So no wonder I wasn’t healthy, if I changed my diet it could have kept my thyroid problem at its lowest. Just by asking me this one question could have prevented me from having to take pills for the rest of my life. In now a day society, we go to the doctor only when something is wrong but what if it could be prevented?

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There are 7 countries (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, etc.) in the world that when you are healthy, you pay the doctor and when you are sick you do not pay your doctor because a doctors’ job is to keep you healthy (read more on this, here). That means, if the doctor will go above and suggest things to the patient, for example, the doctor might look into nutrition and recommend the patient to add to their diet something that will keep them healthy, for example, more omega 3 (fish) for someone with health problems. Fewer pills will be taken and an overall healthier society since it benefits not only the patient but the doctor as well.
Sometimes taking a pill right away isn’t the answer, sometimes we have to go a little deeper and see if by doing a little alteration in our life style, would you take a pill or change?


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Hybrids: An outdated idea?

From the beginning of the novel Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, us readers are exposed to different lifeforms present in the books. We meet the “Crakers” who appear to look Human but don’t act quite the same, we are then presented with the idea of pigoons and rakunks and further on in the book we learn about Giders/Spoats.

Now, you might be wondering what these are. Hybrids would be the appropriate term in categorizing Crakers, Pigoons, Rakunks and Giders/Spoats. The formal definition of a hybrid is: “Any of mixed origin or composition, or the combination of two or more different things” (Biology Online, 2008) In this situation, we are dealing with crossbreeding. In the case of Crakers, they have a Human form with animal-like rituals. Pigoons are a mix of pigs and raccoons, while Rakunks are a mix of raccoons and skunks. Finally, Giders are the result of breeding a goat and a spider together.

The idea of these hybrids seem too advanced for our current time? Well, I am here to announce to you, that scientist have successfully crossbred one of the previously mentioned creatures: the Giders. The following is one of the many news articles that may spark your interest: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-16554357

With all of this information in mind, you should now be aware that the idea of Hybrids have been around since 9500 BC and probably even before that. My first piece of evidence is the Sphynx. The Sphynx is a creature from Greek mythology. The description of this mythological creatures varies, however, the general consensus is that it has the head of a Human, the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle and the tail of a serpent. Another example is the Minotaur. A minotaur is a man with the head of a bull. It was a creature that was meant to be feared. Additionally, we can discuss the Sirens who are also part of Greek mythology. These monsters were said to be beautiful women that were part fish and preyed on sailors.

All things considered, although the animals we observe in Oryx and Crake are from a somewhat distant future, the idea of splicing different species to combine them in order to gain a superior being is far from new. What can be said is that we are not beginning to act on these ideas, which in many ways is exciting and scary at the same time. Will our future be the same as in Oryx and Crake?

 


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Science or Art? Which is More Important?

Which is more important, science or art? A question that humanity has been asking itself for years. Without science, there would be no progress and no learning of new knowledge. Without art or humanities, there would be no learning of our history and how to avoid past mistakes. Some say both are equally important while others say only one of them is needed. What do you think?

downloadImage – http://www.universitytimes.ie/2013/10/science-vs-arts-is-there-any-contest/

Margret Atwood illustrates this very question in her novel Oryx and Crake. The protagonist, Jimmy, demonstrates multiple times how there is a very distinct division between the “numbers people” and the “word people.” This idea first appears in the beginning of the book in OrganInc Farms when Jimmy’s father points out how many of the people working there are good with numbers rather than formulating sentences simply because they do not want to put “neuron power into long sentences” (Oryx and Crake 25).

We definitely see a strong preference towards the scientifically and mathematically inclined in the world of Oryx and Crake. First, we see how the students at Watson-Crick (Crake’s school) are treated significantly better than those at Martha Graham (Jimmy’s school). Crake being a numbers person has a wide variety of services available to him to help him achieve the most he can. In the meantime, Jimmy is stuck in his dirty tiny room with no help whatsoever. Then once the students graduate,  those who studied genetic modification and future technologies have no problem finding jobs at one of the many major compounds dealing with this kind of stuff. Meanwhile, people like Jimmy as a word person with “his dingy little degree in Problematics” would spend weeks looking for jobs only to receive quick denials or no reply at all (Oryx and Crake 241).  Remind you of something similar in our world today?

This video from The School of Life explains pretty accurately how students in humanities and arts are under-employed and are deemed less important by society. However, they also point out many important uses for these subjects. Take a look and let me know what you think about what they say?

Our world today is not that far off from the one Atwood creates in Oryx and Crake. Do you guys really think that this conundrum is that much of an issue?Should we only focus on one of these subjects? Or both? Let me know down below and thanks for reading!

– Jason Mercuri