Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines

Making a Difference: Passively or Aggressively?

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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.


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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?

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One thought on “Making a Difference: Passively or Aggressively?

  1. This is an interesting post, because I’m inclined to see both courses of action as viable and appealing (and definitely not mutually exclusive). The society Adam One has built is pretty great- the slow, quiet, communal kind of work put in here may not be the kind that is given attention in society, but it’s a kind that works. It’s the more gradual kind of change- the good news that happens over time and doesn’t get plastered over our TV and internet screens, as opposed to the catastrophic bad news that happens all at once. It requires you to put in work every single day, which is something revolutionary activists like Zeb sometimes forget to do. Direct action has an important place in society as well- like you said, aggressive methods have significantly changed the world! And I think they have the capacity to change it for the better when taken on with humility and an understanding that change needs to be followed through with small actions and thought in addition to large ones.


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