Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


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Friendship: A stronger bond?

Love is an emotion that everyone aspires to genuinely feel at least once in their life. Although it is important to note that there are different 8 types of love.  These types of love vary from erotic love to self-love. In today’s society, what many people search for is romantic love. This involves strong connections between two people whether it may be emotionally or sexually. Nonetheless, there is much debate on whether not romantic love may be the most powerful form of love. In the novel The Year of the Flood, friendship seems to be the highest form of love. As readers, we can observe this from both main characters: Toby and Ren.

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In regards to Toby, her primary friendships are Rebecca and Pilar. Toby and Rebecca used to be coworkers for the suspicious fast food joint, SecretBurgers. Toby had fallen prey to her abusive boss, Blanco. With much love and care for Toby, Rebecca had sent her religious group, God’s Gardeners to rescue her. (43) From that moment on, Toby had found a place of refuge. As for Pilar, Toby saw her as a mentor but as a friend as well. The duo had teamed up and formed the holistic dream team. Pilar had become a place of comfort and stability for Toby. Upon learning about Pilar’s limited time left, Toby decided to visit Pilar one last time “Pilar looked so wan, so depleted. She recognized fear in herself: what if Pilar – who’d always seemed eternal, who’d surely always been there, or if not always, at least for a very long time, like a boulder or an ancient stump – what if she were to suddenly vanish?” (170) In Toby’s case, the love from the people in her life was limited. Her mother had fallen ill when Toby was young and she experienced the aftermath of her father’s suicide. Additionally, Blanco showed her control not love. Subsequently, the only genuine form of love she received was from her friends Rebecca and Pilar.

As for Ren, her main support system throughout The Year of the Flood is Amanda. From the beginning, Ren felt like an outsider coming from the Compounds. Amanda was a floater from the droughts in Texas. The two girls bonded on their feelings of exclusion. Throughout the book, Ren talks vividly about their relationship: “Having Amanda living with me was like having a sister, only better.” (83) Ren also contrasts her relationship with Amanda with her previous friend Bernice: “Nothing could change the way things were, which was that Bernice and I had once been best friends and we weren’t any longer. That made me uneasy when I was around her: I felt guilty in some way. Bernice was aware of this, and she’d try to find ways to twist my guilt around and turn it against Amanda.” (136) With that being said, it is important to understand the bond of friendship. According to Psychology Today, there are many reasons a friendship would be stronger than others. Self-disclosure, intimacy, and self-identity are factors in creating strong relationships. As readers, these are all elements that Toby and Ren participate in with their counterparts.

How meaningful are your relationships?

Works Cited

Karbo, Karen. “Friendship: The Law of Attraction.” https://www.psychologytoday.com. N.p., 01 Nov. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2017.

Atwood, Margaret Eleanor. The year of the flood. London: Virago, 2014. Print.


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Nature: A Satisfying Source of Support?

In Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, it is very clear that the Gardeners have a close relationship with nature.  I found it very easy to understand their strong desire to preserve the environment and that in order to do so they don’t eat meat and they don’t throw anything away. However, I realized that this was only the surface of their closeness. If they want to follow all the rules established in the group, the Gardeners actually have to rely on nature to fulfill some of their emotional needs.

When trying to deal with Lucerne’s whining, Toby states that “[t]he Gardeners [are] expected to avoid any broadcasting of their personal problems: foisting your mental junk on others was frowned upon” (113). I can’t help but wonder, if they can’t share their challenges with other human beings, then who can they share them with? Well, it seems as though bees are good listeners!

Bees

The first thing Pilar teaches Toby about bees is that “[you] can always tell the bees your troubles” (99). This shows that although they can’t respond with words to show their support, these small creatures are actually there to listen to what the Gardeners feel the need to share. The bees adopt a role that the Gardeners are expected to avoid, which gives them a certain importance in regards to the individuals’ well-being. They allow them to open up and share their most deep and personal thoughts, which is something that is significantly positive. The bees do not have the capacity to judge or to criticize, so in the end talking to them might be a better deal than talking to other Gardeners, who can easily convey their own opinions on matters.

I soon started to wonder, if they truly respect the rule of not sharing their issues with others, then how can the Gardeners develop relationships amongst themselves that are closer than the ones they have with nature? That must be a difficult thing to accomplish since most relationships between humans entail having them open up to each other. In order to address the matter, I thought I would take a closer look at what is, in my opinion, one of the strongest relationships between two Gardeners; that of Ren and Amanda. I quickly realized that although they succeed in developing a significant bond, it seems as though they don’t follow the expectation mentioned earlier. As a matter of fact, the two girls often open up about the struggles they are facing.  For instance, they are seen discussing Amanda’s break up with Jimmy as well as some emotions it brings up (314), which is something I consider to be quite personal. So in reality, an important factor contributing to the closeness between Ren and Amanda consists of disrespecting one of the Gardeners’ rules.

Consequently, would it be appropriate to say that in order to be an obedient and responsible Gardner, one has to seek support and consolation from the elements in nature rather than from other human beings? If so, how satisfying can the environment truly be when it comes the fulfillment of emotional needs?


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Beehive and the end of the world

In Margaret Atwood’s Year of the Flood novel, the author makes a clear emphasize on bees and how the world of the Gardeners turns around them. In a matter of fact, bees are really important in life. An extinction of the species could lead to the end of the world and I will explain you why.

First of all, we all know how crucial bees are when it comes to pollination. When a bee is looking for the nectar of a flower (which is their main source of food), pollen that comes from the male part of flower sticks to the bee. Pollen is what call the grains of a flower. After the bee has finished collecting the nectar of a flower, it forages to another flower transporting with it the pollen. This finishes by entering the female part of the flower which creates afterward a new flower.

During the fall, those flowers often turn out to be apples, cherries, blueberries and other different kinds of fruits. Actually, most of our alimentation depends on the process of pollination and the main pollinators are bees. Unfortunately, many of them are dying. This means that our entire food chain is collapsing. Even the cotton industry that produces clothes that we use depends on pollination. Also, herbivore animals and cattle are the first ones depending on pollination to survive. Without cattle, some people would not be able to eat meat anymore. Therefore, the meat provision will drop and carnivores too except vultures.

Cows

Finally, the disappearance of bees will even impact our provision of water.  This seems unbelievable at first sight, but if pollination stops, the vegetation will decrease because it is unable to reproduce itself. If that happens, the soil will begin to dry and will cause a major arid soil and desert which means that water will disappear because it would not be able to be maintained in the soil which is what vegetation permits to do.

One of the major causes of the disappearance of honeybees is global warming creating a deregulation in the climate, and, therefore affects honeybees time for pollination. Also, the use of pesticide, especially, neonicotinoids, can affect an entire honeybee population’s view. Neonicotinoid is a poison that sticks to the bee and can contaminate the entire honeybee if the bee return to its beehive. Some symptoms are paralysis and death. In my opinion, the Gardeners were wise people who knew that without honeybees we would not survive, not like the rest of the population. I think a return to the base is needed to our world. Let me know what you think about it. Should we take a step back in our way of life or continue with our non-renewable lifestyle? Please leave a comment below.

References :

 Daftardar, Ishan et al. “What Would Happen If Bees Went Extinct?”. Science ABC, 2017, https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/bee-extinction-means-end-humanity.html.

Haltiwanger, John. “If All The Bees In The World Die, Humans Will Not Survive”. Elite Daily, 2017, http://elitedaily.com/news/world/humans-need-bees-to-survive/755737/.

 Hagopian, Joachim. “Death And Extinction Of The Bees”. Global Research, 2017, http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684.

 


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Religion and a Moral Society

In Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy we see religion being used as a tool to manage people. The Gardener’s use their religious doctrine to support their political platform/ rebellion against the corporate world. The leaders of the Gardeners see God as a way to manage a human population that is out of control.

On page 188 of The Year of the Flood it is implied that mankind is inherently flawed but that our ancestors weren’t always that way. It is explained that as removed ourselves from the natural world we became increasingly imperfect… It is stated that:

“…the Fall of Man was multidimensional. The ancestral primate fell out of the trees; then they fell from vegetarianism into meat eating. Then they fell from instinct into reason, and thus into technology; from simple signs to complex grammar, and thus into humanity; from fireless into fire, and thence into weaponry; and from seasonal mating into incessant sexual twitching. Then they fell from a joyous life in the moment into the anxious contemplation of the vanished past and distant future.”

This quote coincides perfectly with the Gardener’s way of life and explains why they aspire to live simply and remove themselves from mainstream society and the material world. However, what is not so obvious to every Gardener is that their leaders are not as focused on religious doctrine as they appear to be on the surface, rather, religion is used as a means to an end. On page 241 of The Year of the Flood, Toby asks if “…with God in the story there’s a penalty” and Adam one replies that there is indeed. However, Adam one also states that there is a “penalty” without God. He goes on to talk about the “penalties” of people’s actions and states that ” if there’s a penalty, they [the people] want a penalizer”… He puts it plainly stating that people “dislike senseless catastrophe”. In doing so,  Adam one suggests that people need God and that the belief in a God who penalizes is both necessary and comforting. By this logic, religion is a way to manage people.

It is an interesting idea and worth contemplation… In the link below professor Frans de Waal suggests that religion may be necessary to manage large groups of people. Perhaps that is the underlying idea that Adam One is trying to get at through his conversations with Toby.

What do you think? Do you think religion is an effective way to manage people? Do you think that through Adam one’s character Atwood is suggesting that this is one way to manage complex societies of incredibly flawed people?

-Brooke


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The Future of Living

What does the future hold for us?

After coming across the Gods Gardner’s way of living and their eco-friendly cult, it made me wonder if we should learn a thing or two from the gardeners. Seeing as how they use the Earth’s resources for the better of the planet and not for the worse, it brought about unanswered questions as to if our ways of living are sufficient. So how should we as humans change our methods in order to ensure the survival of our species, and to well adapt ourselves to the future?

Let’s analyze the gardeners now… They base themselves off of cooperation, and their ways of living are centred around teamwork, learning each other’s skills, offering support, and understand the meaning of life and how the earth works in our favor and how we shouldn’t fight against it and instead acknowledge and worship it. Perhaps their ways can actually help us.

The video that I stumbled upon spoke about the many ways we must plan for the future and work towards “working together to better our lives” but also about empathy and what it means to be empathetic and better understand people and their feelings. Just like Albert Einstein said “ Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world through the other person eyes. It is not learned in school; it is cultivated over a lifetime”.

 

Something else that I wondered about was how we will live in terms of our living habits in relation to the so called homes of the future. A collaboration with scientists and HSB in (Gothenburg, Sweden) decided to come up with a living lab, the only one of its kind made up of 29 apartments where people would live permanently . This home of the future in a third generation living lab would provide scientists research and information as to how to live a sustainable life “reducing resource use through behavior and lifestyle choices’’ where a total of 2000 sensors and 15 000 meters of cable will be put in to help “develop knowledge about technology that could one day conserve resources “ .

So what do you think about the future of living? Is it something you would have thought of? What do you think the future of living will consist of?


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The Future of Humanity

Throughout the course of Atwood’s story, we are shown a glimpse of what the future may look like in the near future. Some of the aspects that we see may even be relevant in our lifetimes. Although it may be impossible to predict the turns that humanity will take, it is certainly interesting to try to guess where it goes, and there are many areas to think about when making a prediction. Our beliefs, our ethics, our philosophies, our technology, and our physical evolution are all things that can affect the way humans may evolve. There are also uncontrollable events that may shape the course of humanity, such as major natural disasters and extra-terrestrial life.

Atwood’s story, even if it’s fiction, is a good guess on what the future may look like for us. She goes in details on a lot of important subjects, and all seem like it could be accurate, if humanity were to go down that path. Obviously, it’s quite grim, and I’m sure not a lot of people would enjoy life that way, but it’s a good way of taking a step back and understanding the things we are doing wrong today, and make us take a little more action to make humanity better.

Humanity doesn’t need to be so depressing in the future either. The website futuretimeline.net is a place where you get to see what researchers are predicting the future to look like in the future, showing how humanity may end up ten-thousand years from now. Unlike Atwwod, their vision of humanity is a little less dark, and believe that humanity will thrive to be much, much bigger than what it is now. It’s not only good, they believe that some bad situations are inevitable, such as bioterrorism, pollution, over-population, and more, but we end up finding solutions to these precarious situations. There are a lot of amazing things that they show, such as space exploration missions, huge transportation projects, and even artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence, making most high-level decision by governments and businesses. If humanity’s future is something that interests you, this is an awesome website to waste time on.

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Kim Stanley Robinson’s prediction for New York, on futuretimeline.com

What are your thoughts on the future of humanity? What specific events do you predict happening to us? Let me know in the comments!

 


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VEGANS VS NON-VEGANS

In The Year of The Flood, God’s gardeners are against the idea of eating animal based foods. They practice a vegetarian diet in order to honor and preserve animal and plant life.

A vegan is someone who follows a diet that contains no animal meat, fish, eggs, dairy products or any other food that comes from animals. They differ from vegetarians who generally still eat dairy and eggs as part of their diets. By not consuming any animal products, vegans follow a dietary path similar to an herbivore, while meat eaters are typically omnivores which mean they eat both plants and animals.

People on a vegan diet tend to be leaner. In a cross sectional study of nearly 40 000 adults, meat eater had the highest body mass index (BMI). Vegetarians were in the middle and vegans had the lowest. Vegans appear to have lower rates of hypertension than both meat eaters and vegetarians and lower a cardiometabolic risks for conditions like heart disease or strokes.

 

If you are interested, this is a TED talk about a plant based nutrition:

 

The problem however doesn’t seem to be with meat itself but rather with the quality of meat. Recent finding have found that coronary heart disease problems do not seem to be linked with red meat and saturated fats like previously thought, but rather with processed meats. While there certainly may be some health advantages in going vegan, there seems to be some common in the diet. One of these deficiencies is with the vitamin B-12. According to the ADA, a plant-based diet does not contain a significant amount of vitamins. With vegans requiring supplements to meet their nutritional needs, it may seem that veganism is unnatural, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy.

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At this point, some of you may be wondering which diet leads to longer life spans. None of these two diets have an effect on a human’s life span. The optimal human diet can be achieved without going completely vegan. Many health organizations, including the ADA, state that well-planned vegan diets are healthy and nutritional adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. It seems like no matter what your dietary preferences are, a healthy lifestyle can be achieved o or off a vegan diet.

Are you a vegan? Would you ever consider becoming a vegan?