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Chrishayden
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Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1604
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 04:41 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

EarthseedEarthseed is a fictional religion created by Lauren Oya Olamina, one of Octavia Butler's characters in her wonderful SF series The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents. Earthseed serves as an intellectual ancestor for its namesake SolSeed. SolSeed is a real-life religious movement intellectually headquartered on the Omidyar Network.
The following excerpts of poetry from Octavia's Earthseed books (The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents) have been extracted under "fair use" provisions of copyright law. They are intended to provide someone new to the topic with a gestalt of Earthseed as religion. The isolated verses presented below cannot substitute for an actual reading of the highly recommended books from which they have been excerpted.
EARTHSEED: THE BOOKS OF THE LIVING
by Lauren Oya Olamina


----


The Destiny of Earthseed
Is to take root among the stars.


----


All that you touch
You Change.


All that you Change
Changes you.


The only lasting truth
Is Change.


God
Is Change.


----


A gift of God
May sear unready fingers.


----


We do not worship God.
We perceive and attend God.
We learn from God.
With forethought and work,
We shape God.
In the end, we yield to God.
We adapt and endure,
For we are Earthseed,
And God is Change.


----


God is Power---
Infinite,
Irresistible,
Inexorable,
Indifferent.
And yet, God is Pliable---
Trickster,
Teacher,
Chaos,
Clay.
God exists to be shaped.
God is Change.


----


Intelligence is ongoing, individual
adaptability.
Adaptations that an intelligent
species may make
in a single generation, other species
make over
many generations of selective
breeding and
selective dying. Yet intelligence is
demanding.
If it is misdirected by accident or by
intent, it can
foster its own orgies of breeding and
dying.


----


A victim of God may,
Through learning adaption,
Become a partner of God.
A victim of God may,
Through forethought and planning,
Become a shaper of God.
Or a victim of God may,
Through shortsightedness and fear,
Remain God's victim,
God's plaything,
God's prey.


----


Prodigy is, at its essence,
adaptability and persistent,
positive obsession. Without
persistence, what remains is
an enthusiasm of the moment. Without
adaptability, what remains may
be channeled into destructive
fanaticism. Without positive
obsession, there is nothing at all.


----


Belief
Initiates and guides action---
Or it does nothing.


----


Drowning people
Sometimes die
Fighting their rescuers.


----


We are all Godseed, but no more or less
so than any other aspect of the universe,
Godseed is all there is---all that
Changes. Earthseed is all that spreads
Earthlife to new earths. The universe is
Godseed. Only we are Earthseed. And the
Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among
the stars.


----


Why is the universe?
To shape God.


Why is God?
To shape the universe.


----


All that you touch,
You Change.


All that you Change,
Changes you.


The only lasting truth
Is Change.


God
Is Change.


----


A tree
Cannot grow
In its parents' shadows.


----


The Destiny of Earthseed
Is to take root among the stars.


----


To get along with God,
Consider the consequences of your behavior.


----


All struggles
Are essentially
power struggles.
Who will rule,
Who will lead,
Who will define,
refine,
confine,
design,
Who will dominate.
All struggles
Are essentially
power struggles,
And most are no more intellectual
than two rams
knocking their heads together.


----


Civilization is to groups what
intelligence is
to individuals. It is a means of
combining the
intelligence of many to achieve
ongoing
group adaptation.


Civilization, like intelligence, may
serve well,
serve adequately, or fail to serve its
adaptive
function. When civilization fails to
serve, it must
disintegrate unless it is acted upon
by unifying
internal or external forces.


----


When apparent stability disintegrates.
As it must---
God is Change---
People tend to give in
To fear and depression,
To need and greed.
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
They divide.
They struggle,
One against one,
Group against group,
For survival, position, power.
They remember old hates and generate new ones,
They create chaos and nurture it.
They kill and kill and kill,
Until they are exhausted and destroyed,
Until they are conquered by outside forces,
Or until one of them becomes
A leader
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
Most fear.


----


Any Change may bear seeds of benefit.
Seek them out.
Any Change may bear seeds of harm.
Beware.
God is infinitely malleable.
God is Change.


----


All successful life is
Adaptable,
Opportunistic,
Tenacious,
Interconnected, and
Fecund.
Understand this.
Use it.
Shape God.


----


We are Earthseed
The life that perceives itself
Changing.


----


There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.


----


We are Earthseed. We are flesh---self-aware,
questing, problem-solving flesh. We are that
aspect of Earthlife best able to shape God
knowingly. We are Earthlife maturing, Earthlife
preparing to fall away from the parent world.
We are Earthlife preparing to take root in
new ground, Earthlife fulfilling its purpose,
its promise, its Destiny.


----


In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix
First
Must
Burn.


----


Kindness eases Change


----


Earthseed
Cast on new ground
Must first perceive
That it knows nothing.


----


All that you touch
You Change.


All that you Change
Changes you.


The only lasting truth
Is Change.


God
is Change.


-- The first page of the first book of EARTHSEED: The Books of The Living --


----


Embrace diversity.
Unite---
Or be divided,
robbed,
ruled,
killed
By those who see you as prey.
Embrace diversity
Or be destroyed.


----


Once or twice
each week
A Gathering of Earthseed
is a good and necessary thing.
It vents emotion, then
quiets the mind.
It focuses attention,
strengthens purpose, and
unifies people.


----


Changes.
The galaxies move through space.
The stars ignite,
burn,
age,
cool,
Evolving.
God is Change.
God prevails.


----


God is neither good
nor evil,
neither loving
nor hating.
God is Power.
God is Change.
We must find the rest of what we need
within ourselves,
in one another,
in our Destiny.


----


The Self must create
Its own reasons for being.
To shape God,
Shape Self.


----


As wind,
As water,
As fire,
As life,
God
Is both creative and destructive,
Demanding and yielding,
Sculptor and clay.
God is Infinite Potential:
God is Change.


----


Your teachers
Are all around you.
All that you perceive,
All that you experience,
All that is given to you
or taken from you,
All that you love or hate,
need or fear
Will teach you---
If you will learn.
God is your first
and your last teacher.
God is your harshest teacher:
subtle,
demanding.
Learn or die.


----


Respect God:
Pray working.
Pray learning,
planning,
doing.
Pray creating,
teaching,
reaching.
Pray working.
Pray to focus your thoughts,
still your fears,
strengthen your purpose.
Respect God.
Shape God.
Pray working.


----


Create no images of God.
Accept the images
that God has provided.
They are everywhere,
in everything.
God is Change---
Seed to tree,
tree to forest;
Rain to river,
river to sea;
Grubs to bees,
bees to swarm.
From one, many;
from many, one;
Forever uniting, growing, dissolving---
forever Changing.
The universe
is God's self-portrait.


----

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Page name: Earthseed
Last editor: Brandon CS Sanders (346)
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 17:13:41 PST
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Blaklioness
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Username: Blaklioness

Post Number: 102
Registered: 10-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:02 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

NOTHING new under the sun...
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Blaklioness
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Post Number: 103
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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chrishayden:

What is the premise of the works of Octavia Butler?
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Chrishayden
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Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1605
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:04 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Earthseed got you now, Blacklioness.

Get wit de program
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Kola_boof
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Username: Kola_boof

Post Number: 862
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:07 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Exactly. She's basically saying that God is the UNIVERSE. Which is what ancient pagan African religions always said.

God is neither good
nor evil,
neither loving
nor hating.
God is Power.
God is Change.


Changes.
The galaxies move through space.
The stars ignite,
burn,
age,
cool,
Evolving.





As wind,
As water,
As fire,
As life,
God
Is both creative and destructive






I love the Parable books, BTW. I love all Octavia's books.

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Blaklioness
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Username: Blaklioness

Post Number: 104
Registered: 10-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:07 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I mean...what's her message? I'm not a science fiction fan but know that even in fiction, there's an agenda. What's your take on her work?
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Kola_boof
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Username: Kola_boof

Post Number: 863
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:07 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Blaklioness,

Octavia Butler writes BLACK science fiction books.

She's one of my favorite authors. I love her.

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Blaklioness
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Username: Blaklioness

Post Number: 105
Registered: 10-2005

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Posted on Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - 05:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll reserve judgement on her for now....it's just that....I've heard things about the author. I'll check into it.
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Chrishayden
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Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 1608
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Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 10:23 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Lioness:

Just take that first piece.

I can just hear that George Clinton Funkadelic voice saying those words while those wild sound effects and spacy stuff is going on

"All that you touch
You change"

Then at the end I can just hear them Funkadelic guitars hitting a psychedelic riff like on "What is Soul"

I think Butler accidentally hit on some heavy stuff!

If she has an agenda it is humanism or feminism--she is primarily a straight up science fiction writer and, in my opinion, other than these two books and "Kindred" has not written anything that I would really get excited about telling black people or adults to read.

Even the two Parable books myself I find rather dreary and unoriginal except for the Earthseed concept which she really underdeveloped.

Science fiction writers often invest so much work into creating a setting that they let character and theme and style go by the wayside. Plus Science Fiction itself is aimed primarily at juveniles in general and white adolescent males of a certain bent specificially, which really cramps the medium.

The Premise of the Parable Books? It is wholly possible that she just wrote a futuristic dystopia.

But I would hazard to guess that her theme is that if we conduct our affairs as we have--valuing profit over people, wasting the resources, being racist and violent, that society is headed for an implosion.

It will end with a whimper and not with a bang.

She also seems to feel that if we are rational we can all work together and survive and pull through.

The thing I find about Earthseed that is unique is that she sees God as a Process, not necessarily any physical thing.

Now here is where I have to drop her. In True Sci Fi fashion, she posits in these books that the Ultimate Destiny of humankind is to travel to the stars and spread to other planets.

I don't agree with that. Number one it seems to take the view that we should muck up this planet all we want and then go on to others--ie surrender to our worst instincts.

Plus she of course has no practical way in which this is to occur.

Science Fiction also is largely escapist entertainment. For fans of the stuff interplanetary travel is a symbol for freedom or isolation.

For this and other reason when I tackle futurist themes or write about the possible impact of technology I try to write what I call Afrofuturism.
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Kola_boof
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Username: Kola_boof

Post Number: 875
Registered: 02-2005

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Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 03:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well Blaklioness,

in Octavia Butler's books---black people (very often with West African names) are always the rulers of the Universe

they are shown as both Good and EVIL and a mixture of both

...but at the same time, their "blackness" is not the thing she dwells on at all----it's the fascinating and rich storylines, her brilliantly scientific imagination and her intricate knowledge of the human psyche.

Like most Black American authors, in order to "get published", she had to start out writing her books in a way that would allow her to be heard by the powerful whites in charge.

But when I want pure escapism and entertainment with vibrant social messages and even "revolutionary" thought---I read Octavia Butler.

Her "take" is that Black Women are fully powerful, super special beings...and so are black men.




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Libralind2
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Username: Libralind2

Post Number: 274
Registered: 09-2004

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Posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 07:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dam Chris..you sure are hard on a sistah. I love Butlers work and its heavy enough to be entertaining.

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