Once Upon A Wolvog

Stories from the front lines


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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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Morality Vs. Ethics

One day I was thinking about the difference between morality and ethics. I did some research, and I found out that these two terms have actually different connotations. According to the oxford dictionary, ethics are a set of moral principles that rule a person’s behavior (Oxford).  Morality refers to the principles concerning the difference between what is right and wrong (Oxford). Based on these definitions, you can deduce that they are essentially the same and you are right. What makes the distinction is that morality is based on one’s personal beliefs about what is right or wrong. On the other hand, ethics refers to what society considers good and bad behaviors.

The case of Brock Turner and Cory Batey serves as a good example of this difference. These men were both accused of sexual assault. Brock received a sentence of six months while Cory received a sentence of 15 years for the same crime.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-brock-turner-cory-batey-show-race-affects-sentencing-article-1.2664945

You may say that the whole situation per se is unethical. Rape is considered a wrong thing to do to someone in this society. However, we can say that the judge and jury’s decisions were based on their morals. The reason that makes me think that is the difference between Cory’s and Brock’s sentences. This behavior was worse because Cory was a black man. They believe that black men are more dangerous to society than white men, which may not always be the case.

At the end of the year of the flood, we see that Toby comes across this situation about whether or not she should kill the two painballers. She finally does not kill them because it was Saint Julien Day, and it was not right for her to do so. But, at the beginning of the MaddAddam, we see that she kind pf regrets that decision because the painballers were set free by the Crakers. They are killers, they represent a danger to all of them. Therefore she thinks that she should have killed them. Killing them would not be considered unethical because they are dangerous to them, it can be seen as a self-defence act.

So, what are your thoughts about this situation? and Do you think that the decisions you take should be based on morality or ethics??

 


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Ayahuasca: Not ‘Just Another Psychedelic Drug’ (Maybe)

Let me just preface this post by saying that I have never done any form of psychedelic drug like LSD or the like. Not that that’s anyone’s business but my own, I guess. Unless I’m a competitive athlete or something, because then I would have to worry about drug tests. I’m not a competitive athlete or something, so even if I did do psychedelics, I wouldn’t have to worry. Anyways.

The first time I heard the word Ayahuasca was over the holiday break back in January. I travelled north to a small town called Val-David about 2 hours from Montreal. I was visiting an artist who spoke to me about sweat lodging, facing my inner demons and finding my soul mate. Ayahuasca was also a minor topic of conversation. Since then, it seems that I’ve been hearing about it more and more. Today I did a quick search about the drug for this post and found 3 different articles that had been written about it in the last couple of days alone, including an art exhibition going on in New York City right now based around its effects (http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/an-artwork-for-an-age-of-anxiety-and-ayahuasca)! Margaret Atwood mentions it only once in The Year of The Flood but it still stuck out to me. Who knows, maybe I’m just behind the times, but this psychedelic drug in particular seems to be gaining a lot of popularity, specifically in North America. On a global scale, it has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in South America.

For those of you who have never heard of Ayahouaska (which means “vine with a soul”), its main ingredient is Banisteriopsis caapi, which is a vine. It is mixed with other jungle plants that, like that other vine – I’m not writing the name twice – have high amounts of DMT, a hallucinogenic chemical compound, and the main cause for the psychedelic aspect of the drug. Traditionally, it is used in shamanistic rituals and ceremonies. It is made into tea or mixed into tea, said to be very bitter, and often causes vomiting and diarrhea. Despite this, many people, including a vast number of war veterans, make trips to South America specifically to experience its effects.

The reason for this, it seems to be, that it changes the subject’s thought process and allows the brain to make connections, remember memories and feel emotions that the subject wouldn’t have allowed themselves to experience before. These connections are often unorthodox, insightful and even revelatory. It is very healing for those who have gone through trauma, suffer from PTSD or are seeking to accept something difficult, because the brain is freed from its subconscious protective walls that repress certain thoughts because having to process them is often too difficult and dangerous for the psyche.

Numerous studies are going on right now to research the long term effects of the drug. The adverse effects seem to be that it can trigger psychotic episodes or mania in those who are prone to them or that interaction with certain prescription drugs like anti-depressants can be dangerous or fatal. Because of this people looking to participate in the studies are often rigorously screened. Outside of the studies and reputable retreat locations, there are locations that exist that advertise to tourists in a “no questions asked” type of way. But hey, that might just sound dangerous to me because I grew up in North America in an area that’s sort of like the compound life, so the fact that all of these official studies are going on is pleasing to me. On the other hand, the South Americans have been doing it for so long that they probably know what they’re doing when it comes to Ayahuasca.

What about you? I’m not going to ask if you’ve ever done psychedelic drugs before because, again, that’s none of my business (unless you’d like the share – in that case be my guest!), but would you consider trying Ayahuasca? What do you think about how it could potentially help those who suffer from PTSD?

Sources and Further Reading: (1) http://www.ayahuasca-info.com/introduction, (2) https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2017/apr/06/a-puke-bucket-and-an-ancient-drug-is-ayahuasca-the-future-of-ptsd-treatment-, (3) http://www.sciencealert.com/meditation-and-the-psychedelic-drug-ayahuasca-seem-to-change-the-brain-in-surprisingly-similar-ways


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The Future of Cosmetics

I know very little about cosmetics, let’s just put that out there right off the bat. I was, however, interested in the kind of cosmetic surgery in particular that Atwood was able to think up, especially in the Year of the Flood. Toby undergoes surgery that changes the pigment of her skin, her eye color, her scalp and the hair attached to it entirely, and even her voice! Now we are oh so fortunate to be living in times where cosmetic surgery is, for the most part, very effective and can improve people’s self-esteem and whatnot, in fact, we live alongside the poster-family of cosmetic surgery and see them on a day-to-day basis, whether we want to or not, so we can’t possibly forget what plastic surgery can do for you if you’ve got the money to pay for it. You know exactly who I’m talking about.
Image result for the kardashian sisters
Yeah… this is indeed that exact family.

With modern science evolving exponentially, I’ve become very curious as to what could be accomplished in terms of plastic surgery and cosmetics alike. We already have breast implants, butt injections, lip injections, eyelid surgery, facial reconstruction surgery, some people even consider “the Michael Jackson factor” to be the first step in changing one’s ethnic appearance through plastic surgery. It really makes you think to yourself; “what could possibly be next?” What if we were able to use cosmetic surgery to implant things that humans can’t even develop on their own? Have you ever noticed how the softest and most endangered animals cost the most when they’re on the hood of a jacket? Well what if, in the future, it becomes a trend for men to have body hair implants that replace their regular human hair with that of a tiger? I’m willing to bet Charlie Sheen would be an advocate of that movement. It sounds crazy but I’m pretty sure butt injections would have sounded pretty odd to someone living in the 19th century, don’t you?

Here are some examples of cosmetic surgeries that we could see in the future including, but not limited to, face transplants, injecting jewels into one’s eyes to make the sparkle, cosmetic surgeries for your pets and surgery that allows a patient to look more like an animal of their choosing: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/542448_2. And with that, my question to you is simply; what kind of surgeries that aren’t implicated yet do you think we could possibly see in the near future, no matter how bizarre they may seem to us now?

Sources:

 


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A Scientific Religion

Religions are a part of our world today and will always be a part of our culture. In the Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, I have chosen to talk about how the Gardeners incorporate their science background into their religion.

While reading the book I had not realized that some of the Gardeners had actually scientists from the Corps which have just chosen to not be a part of them because it went against everything they believed in. The biggest way I found how they were incorporating their scientist knowledge was the way they looked at the world in which they lived. By creating their own garden to be able to feed themselves while limiting the use of Earth’s natural resources.

In the real world today we see a people this very same scientific way of looking at the world by realizing that we are doing harm to the Earth by over using the resources that our world has provided us. Like the Gardeners live their lifestyle through the rules set to them by the religion they follow, many people in our world today live their lives and survive by following the rules by their given religion or the religion they have chosen to be a part of.

It is a great thing to notice that people of today are coming to a vision of what our world could be if we do not think of the things we do to harm our planet and to see that religion, no matter which it may be, helps us live in a way that may be beneficial to ourselves and to the place we live.religion

Now I leave you with the question being, in the way you live your life, do you follow a set of rules or beliefs that help you live the way you do?


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Prepping For the End

With current international events and affairs, people are finding many reasons to fear the future. As a result, these people have begun to resort to prepping for the apocalypse. While some prepare as standalone doomsday preppers, others come together to form what are known as survivalism groups. These people live their lives by a code, much like a religion that guides their decisions and actions. Their daily lives become consumed with learning self-sufficiency and self-defense techniques, stockpiling supplies and searching for locations to ride out the disaster. Know anybody who fits similar criteria in The Year of the Flood?

JAF5364570

http://www.equip.org/article/preparing-for-the-apocalypse-a-look-at-the-rise-of-doomsday-preppers/

 

You guessed it, the God’s Gardeners and their beliefs follow the code of a doomsday prepper to the letter aside from the self-defense (Although a lot of the Gardeners can handle themselves… look at Toby with her gun!). Throughout the entire book, we see how the Gardeners are trained to farm, gather and fortify in preparation for the “waterless flood.” Compared to the doomsday preppers of today, the two groups share a lot of similarities. Firstly, both groups focus on the cooperation between each of its members. In order to maximise efficiency and unity through difficult times, people must complete their tasks to not drag everyone else down. Second, they both gather large amounts of supplies and organise multiple backup stockpiles. And lastly, they share a similar dedication to the teaching and learning of techniques for survival and self-preservation. Through this, we can see a very clear resemblance between the doomsday preppers of today to the God’s Gardeners.

As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into ensuring your survival. A lot of information can be found online on how to get started should you choose to do so. There is even whole television series that follows preppers in their daily lives.

7c6580b65916c8d8beb0f59ee46185acSource: https://au.pinterest.com/explore/doomsday-preppers/

This goes to show that many people actually do consider completely changing their lives in order to ensure their survival for a disaster that ‘might’ happen.

What do you guys think about prepping for the apocalypse? Do you think it will even happen? Or do you think that all these people are just wasting their time and money? Let me know down in the comments! I look forward to hearing what you guys think!

 


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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?