Responding to Beware the Epistemophilia

In Friday’s class (November 17th) McCoy had us look at previous blog posts by classmates to learn from them. I looked at Sabrina’s post entitled Beware the Epistemophilia. Before I dive into the post itself and what it helped me understand, I would like to define what epistemophilia is.  In Sabrina’s post, she defines it as an excessive love of knowledge. By taking another look at the definition I found that epistemophilia is the specific striving for knowledge or a preoccupation with knowledge.

This post focuses on Clay’s Ark and the struggles we as individuals and a class are faced with when we are trying to find someone to blame for the spread of the disease. I value and like this look at Clay’s Ark, but I would like to draw attention to Imago. Sabrina had said, “Interpretation of Octavia Butler’s work then becomes a minefield of epistemophilic traps.” This statement got me thinking because as readers of Butler’s fiction are often reminded of the traps that have been laid out for us which we often fall into. We fall into these traps because we often want more information than Butler has given us. She clearly has a reason for this, but it is hard as readers because we wish to have the answers immediately.

After this exercise McCoy asked if we learned something that we wanted / needed to know that maybe we didn’t know we wanted or needed either from the blog posts or from reading Imago. I never knew I needed to how what the word was for a love of knowledge and I was delighted to know that this excessive love it epistemophilia. So far, all the characters in Lilith’s Brood seem to have this need or want (like us) for knowledge from this partnership that they’ve entered. Yet, the Ooloi seem to have more of a compulsion or excessive drive and want for knowledge; with all the questions that have been posed from reading this trilogy I feel like I’m craving information. This want for more information has led me to some research on my own to fulfill this need. The drive for more information could become excessive, thus epistemophilic.

I believe that the Ooloi have a higher want or love of knowledge than we see, Jodahs might have more of this love because he is a human construct that through metamorphosis becomes ooloi. At an early stage it has more knowledge and power which makes the others fearful. This fear is partially stemmed from the unknown yet, is has more to do with this abundance of knowledge and power because Jodahs changes genes without realizing it. This is dangerous because there is a lack of control that is needed. Sabrina had also mentioned in her post that this love for knowledge since it is at an excessive level or manner could cause more harm than good. It seems that this is happening to Jodahs.

I find this interesting because along with the Ooloi having this excessive love of knowledge they never forget anything they learn. I also enjoy that Butler allows us as readers to see it go through this experience of metamorphosis to watch it discover and find its love of knowledge. We see its love of knowledge in people, places, and things especially anything that is new to it.


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