These are dark times for our country and our world. Octavia E. Butler offers in her sci-fi novels “Earthseed” some remarkable insights that seem to provide a bright light on the dangers and challenges we are currently facing, as well as cautionary advice about the risks posed by our choices. Along with Ursula K. LeGuin, she demonstrates the power of imaginary literature to cast deep truths about our daily lives.
“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
“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
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
Most will follow,
Or a tyrant
It is not enough for us to believe in what we feel is right and just if our beliefs do not translate into action to make those ideas come true. As Gandhi famously observed, “You must be the change you want to see in the world!” The most profound truth Butler offers to us in her visionary novels is “Kindness eases Change.” My thanks to Maria Popova whose insightful blog reminded me of these words from Butler that I read a while ago.