Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


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Church Scams

In the third and final novel of the Maddaddam trilogy, Zeb opens up to Toby about his family life, including his father, a “preacher” who created a theology based on oil. The Rev had created and set up more than a dozen donation sites, that collected money from his faithful followers, that was sent straight to his personal bank accounts. The whole idea about creating a theology in order to make money, reminded me about articles that I have read on the Church of Scientology.

scientology pt 2

Scientology is a set of religious beliefs, created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, for a self-help book he was writing in 1950 called Dianetics. The religion itself is described as the study of self-knowledge. Scientologist believe that people are immortal aliens, known as thetans, who are trapped in human bodies on Earth, and who have no recollection of their true “nature”. Each thetan, is said to have lived multiple past lives on Earth as well as other planets. They believe that by going through multiple teachings, that are referred to as an auditing, that they will them be able to shed themselves of their human form in order to regain their true form. Through taking these classes offered by the church, they believe that they will not only reclaim their true thetan form, but they will become closer to the Supreme Being regain their abilities that have been suffocated by their human form, such as controlling life, energy as well as matter.

scientology

The Church of Scientology has an estimated annual revenue of $500 million, coming from its corporations, and its private donations. The Church charges close to $500/hour for auditing sessions scheduled at Scientology centers. These sessions do not have a fixed duration, the process runs until the member has completed their journey, no matter how long it takes, therefore, members end up spending a tone of money. Their global membership is reported to cost on average, 8 – 15 million. In 2016, the U.S Supreme Court, ruled in favour of revoking the Church of Scientology’s tax-exempt status that was given to them in 1993. They are able to work as an organization in the U.S, but they are now prohibited to work as a non-profit religious organization. An investigation done on the church, concluded that they are a “criminal operation with a sole purpose of making money”.

Reports made from past members of the religion state that the Church has held members against their will in “rehabilitation camps”, as well as having its members search for incriminating data of past members that are used to then keep them silent through the use of blackmailing. These methods are used to punish members as well as past members who have violated the “rules” of the church, or to silence previous members so that the truth is not revealed to the public about what their organization is really doing behind closed doors. In 1979, members of the Church were held responsible for the LARGEST theft of  U.S government documents, which leads us to believe that they are not really a religion, they are a cult, scamming its members, and using their status to exploit peoples weakness and fallibility.

 

If you’d like to know more, there’s a documentary that was aired on BBC in 2010, by John Sweeney called “The Secrets of Scientology” (its a bit long but really interesting!)

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Help Save the World

Throughout MaddAddam, we come to see how climate change is a big issue in the book and also how it reflects in the real world, and how this affects different living species in different parts of the world. The main focus of the corporations in MaddAddam is to help save the polar bears from the climate change in the arctic that is melting.

In our society, we have many companies and corporations that have been starting to take climate change more seriously, and have started to make big changes regarding their product consumption. Also, many organizations in the world have come together to share their thoughts and ideas on different aspects that involve climate change.

There is an organization based in Canada called Climate Action Network – their goal is to work together by involving families and communities all across Canada to keep them safe and come up with solutions to help the environment and save our planet. Members have to understand that how they use and generate energy comes from the use of natural resources such as water and land in order to prevent very dangerous human interference with the climate system.

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The organization also manages to protect the quality of life of not only people, but of animals and plants as well. With the use of advanced technology, this organization looks for ways to develop their natural resources and find ways to change the way we use appliances and the way we build our community.

What are your thoughts on climate change and how do you think we can help the world be a better place? Do you think it can be possible to save the species that are living in areas where climate change is more present?

 

 

Sources:

http://climateactionnetwork.ca/

http://www.worldfinance.com/special-reports/the-relationship-between-corporations-and-climate-change

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6234/571.full

 


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The Risks of Storytelling

Throughout the whole trilogy of Maddaddam storytelling has come up in each book and it is the main way we as a reader get our information about each character. Here are a few examples of storytelling: In the first book, Oryx and Crake, we see Jimmy use storytelling with the Crakers to explain to them how the world works and in the third installment of the trilogy we pretty much see storytelling happening the whole time with Zeb explaining his life to Toby and Toby telling stories to the crakers.

story-telling-comes-alive1.jpg

Now I personally believe that there are some risks that come with Storytelling.

One risk that comes with storytelling is the fact that the storyteller can literally say whatever he wants and it’s up to the listener to decide to believe him or not. In Jimmy and toby’s situation, they could have totally told the crackers a complete lie and said that aliens arrived at earth and kidnapped most people then killed the rest with a disease.

In all honesty, I probably would have done some lying to the Crakers if I were in jimmy’s shoes in Oryx and Crake. If everyone in the world is dead and there is no one to tell you that what you are saying is wrong You better bet I am going to have a little bit of fun with that!

What about you? If you were the last person left in the world and you had a room full of 30 dumb people who believed everything that you said, would you lie to them or try and tell the truth?


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HelthWyzer than You Think They Are

In Atwood’s third instalment of the trilogy,  we find out to what extent the government is involved in the decay of its population’s health. All of us here are familiar with the BlyssPluss pills a part of Crake’s master plan to wipe out the Earth’s population. More specifically, as we read on, we learn more and more about what the pills that claim to either be birth control, give immense sexual pleasure or make you feel younger, actually do. Ironically, these “vitamin pills” do anything but good. Most likely, these pills introduce a deadly virus into the consumer’s body whose effects are only felt in the long-term. The goal of this is to keep the population unhealthy so that when they need treatments they will ask for help (which doesn’t come cheap) to the same guys who got them terminally ill in the first place.

picture of doctor hands giving white pills and glass of water

In a society that functions relatively the same way as the one in this book, we could suspect the government of actively keeping its population ill. For instance, in the United States where healthcare is extremely costly, it is not far fetched to think that the idea might have occurred to them that they could make more money by not advertising that they have the cure for certain fatal diseases.

High cost of tresting cancer

In the trilogy,  there are many instances when highly ranked scientists, like Crake’s dad, come across incriminating evidence against the government and unfortunately have deadly “accidents” when attempting to expose the truth. This could  explain why scientists in a similar society would feel threatened if they ever stubbled upon that kind of information. Maybe anyone that has tried to uncover the truth has had a “terrible accident”. Another way  people can be manipulated into staying silent on the issue is by labeling those that question a government’s authority as conspiracy nuts. Evidently, no one wants to be “that guy”.

it's a conspiracy!

I’ll agree that this conspiracy is quite far fetched considering the repercussions of such actions on the part of a country’s government would be devastating. However “too crazy to be true” we want this theory to be, is there a little part of you that wouldn’t put it past some governments? Is a billion dollar industry, like cancer treatment, more appealing than a healthy population? Let me know if you’re a conspiracy nut yourself.

 

Sources:
http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/making-a-killing-with-cancer-a-124-6-billion-dollar-industry-12092013 
https://www.google.ca/search?q=cancer+cost&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-yvXs0czTAhXm6YMKHe1XCzEQ_AUICygC&biw=1280&bih=608#imgrc=UkFVtEilis_EnM:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=pills&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEy9_70czTAhUG0YMKHY9IC50Q_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=608#tbm=isch&q=doctor+handing+pill+with+glass+of+water&imgrc=_y2sS7vANxPetM:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=conspiracy+nut&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibm_Gh0szTAhWU3oMKHdPMA8oQ_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=608#imgdii=Kw52TfJOknY8eM:&imgrc=vyVh1gdgljFOoM:

 

 

 


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What’s in a Name?

It’s a long- held idea that names carry with them meaning, along with a sort of determination or prediction of the character of the person it’s associated with. The thing that made me curious is that usually our names are given to us as children long before we have developed any sort of personality; yet in Maddaddam and the other books, many people are referred to by names that were picked for or by them at a much later age. This made me wonder to what extent the Maddaddam names relate to their respective characters.

Jimmy/Thickney

The Thicknee, or Bush-stone Curlew, is a bird found in Australia. Apart from it’s ‘remarkable courtship dance’ (we are all well aware of Jimmy’s ability to attract girlfriends), I found little in the ways of behavioural traits that linked to Jimmy except for Atwood’s description in Oryx and Crake: “a… double jointed bird that used to hang around in cemeteries, -and Jimmy suspected- because Crake liked the sound of it as it applied to Jimmy”. It’s interesting to note that Crake gave Jimmy his Maddaddam name: you could interpret it as the beginning of Crake’s deception. Also, the idea that his extinct animal is found in cemeteries among the dead is a kind of foreshadowing, which could even hint at Jimmy’s future of survival during and after the pandemic, in a global graveyard!

Glenn/Crake

None of the Maddaddam trilogy books really offer an explanation as to why Glenn chose to be Crake; the only thing mentioned is that the Red-Necked Crake is a relatively rare bird species. This could indicate that Crake had a type of superiority complex, though. However, I found indications that a Crake’s behaviour tends to be rather secretive. This is definitely related to Glenn’s behaviour, since throughout the trilogy he comes off to everyone as a rather mysterious person, and never really reveals his plans to anyone. Even the reader is left hanging and we never get a true glimpse into his thought process that led to him wiping out almost all of humanity.

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Toby/Inaccessible Rail

The Inaccessible Rail is yet another bird, except this one is flightless. Toby didn’t put too much thought into her choice, yet when I picked apart the details I was able to find some connections (although some might accuse me of grasping at straws!). One slightly entertaining aspect of Rails is that they’re pretty territorial, and while Toby comes across in general as the wise mother figure to the group, she gets very jealous and protective over Zeb once they start being in a relationship. Similarly, Rails form permanent pair bonds, which again is connected to Zeb who was even convinced to settle down with her. Considering that Zeb introduced Toby to Maddaddam and that they eventually fall in love, Atwood seems to have picked an appropriate creature for her.

Zeb/Spirit Bear

Spirit Bears are a special type of black bear that have a rare gene that makes them white.  As the name suggests, they have a spiritual significance to Native Americans. They are revered and protected, and as such killing them is taboo. This sort of legendary status surrounding them definitely relates to how the Crakers love, respect, and to some extent worship Zeb, in my opinion. I think that it’s also significant that Adam gave Zeb this nickname. It appears to me that it reflects Adam’s perception of Zeb, which would be one of a big brother wanting to protect his little brother; but it could simply be Adam finding a clever way of mocking Zeb’s Bearlift adventures. Regardless, Zeb seems undeniable connected to bears, as he himself admits that his meditation animal was the bear he ate when stranded in the wilderness.

Overall, it seems to me that Atwood was able to cleverly use animals that reflected their characters at least a little. What do you think? Is there truth to this, or is it mere conspiracy? Are there any links to the behaviour and character of Swift Fox, Oryx, Lotis Blue, Ivory Bill, and the rest of the Maddaddamites?


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Making a Difference: Passively or Aggressively?

Throughout the Maddaddam trilogy, we see characters who act either passively to fulfill their objectives, or act in more direct and aggressive manners. For this article, I’m going to mention two we see a lot of in Maddaddam, Jeb and Adam. Both Jeb and Adam are actively trying to pursue a similar goal, yet are very different when it comes to their strategy. This begs the question of which is the more effective method.

In looking at an example that’s both applicable to the real world, and the Maddaddam world, one of the best is the example of protests. Protests, for any reason and by any group, tend to either be passive/calm, while others take what can be described as a more aggressive course of action, consisting of marches, strikes, and boycotts, with riots being a part of the far extreme of acts of protests.

 

protest image

Both passive acts and aggressive acts can fail or succeed, with the latter tending to be much more controversial, as we can consider Zeb’s acts to be more controversial than the methods of the quiet Adam. Zeb believes in taking direct action, often resorting to violence and getting involved in the underworld that is the deep Pleeblands. Adam is much quicker to wait and think, preferring to lightly influence and wait for the change to come.

I believe it entirely depends on the context of the situation. For example, in today’s society, the more aggressive methods tend to receive the most attention, and in a world where the most attention gathering stories make traction, your goals will typically require attention to survive. And in the world of Maddaddam, it seems that passive movements are no longer a viable option. Protests of Happicuppa ended with gunshots and deaths, and even having dissent ends with death as seen by the fate of Crake’s father. However, it’s still important to give praise to Adam and his Gardeners, who ended up making a large impact with mainly passive efforts.

Nevertheless. the world has been significantly changed by both passive methods and aggressive methods, for better or worse. Which is better, to reach into the world and change it, or to gently encourage it into a better direction?

Image sources:

http://www.loe.org/content/2014-06-13/21-atwood-cover.png

http://www.trbimg.com/img-58246aaf/turbine/ct-donald-trump-protests-20161109

 

 


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The Fundamentals of Life and Survival

In the first two books of the trilogy, we see technological advancements running rampant through the world. Now, in the third post-apocalyptic instalment, the characters are all forced to go back to the fundamentals of life. But what are they?

Camping Training.

Attitude is a very important element of survival, especially when forced to survive with a group of people. Without a positive yet realistic attitude, it is unlikely that the community will prosper. In Maddaddam, we can already see the positive attitudes dwindling as jealousy arises and the perceived need to reproduce as well. It also seems as though some of the characters, such as Swift Fox, are forgetting the importance of the basics of surviving.

The small community of characters has managed to successfully find (obviously) air and a shelter, but also are in need of water and food. They must however remember the rule of threes that is important for anyone to survive in the wild:

  1. 3 minutes: a person can only last three minutes without air. This aspect is pretty much covered unless Crake decides to rise from the dead and finish the job, if you get what I’m saying…
  2. 3 hours: without shelter and a regulated body temperature, within three hours the person will meet their unfortunate demise.
  3. 3 days: water is very important for survival, and although the community is situated near a water source, making fresh water is very difficult.
  4. 3 weeks: without a proper diet, a person can only live three weeks. This is an issue because within the Maddaddamite community, all they have so far is meat and some vegetables.

Other than Attitude and the rules of three, fire is also important. Without fire, the Maddaddamites cannot cook or have light as the tech world has now fallen. As they are cooking meat and making stews, it is safe to say that this community has successfully satisfied this need.

What do you guys think the last one is? Any guesses?

Well, it’s the one thing that half of the people who are part of the community have: Naturalist skills!

That’s right, everything that Ren, Amanda, Zeb, Toby, Rebecca and whatever other Gardener is there has learned, will be put to the test for their survival. Let’s just hope that their increasingly negative attitudes don’t interfere with survival.

But what do you think? Will the negativity escalate past reparation?

the end

For more detail on survival, click below!

http://www.wildernesscollege.com/basic-survival-skills.html

Photos from Google