As the semester boils down and our class tries to organize the multiple confused, frustrated, complexities hidden beneath the myriad of emotions that Butler’s work allows us to experience, I feel almost obligated to enter a state of deep reflection. The constant questions that I have for Butler- “Was Blake just as bad as Eli or worse? Does It matter?” “What do you think about autonomy?” “WHERE IS AKIN?!” – seem to dissipate and for all that is left with is the story of Octavia Butler—her texts, her stories yet deeply interwoven in each word is a truth she wishes to reveal about our humanity. There are hundreds of revelations that a reader can encounter through Butler’s fiction, or there could be one. I’d like to share my mine.


Oankali Puppies! :Over-exaggerating the Visual

If I am walking along Main Street and I notice a puppy, immediately, and frankly without much thought, I recognize the puppy as a being separate from the human species. I see it’s shaggy fur, wagging tail, long ears and pink tongue and am able to assess that, yes, this is a puppy.  For human beings, our vision is a key sensory technique that aids in our survival and continuation as a species. This skill allows us to differentiate ourselves from environmental world deciphering between the human and- generally termed- nonhuman. Once classification has been established our bodies then move on to calculate how to react to this nonhuman factor, “should I pet the puppy?”. But if we dig a bit deeper our train of thought might yield some interesting questions, like, “when it comes down to it how different am I from the puppy?”. Taken in more holistic terms, “what separates us from the nonhuman?”. And lastly, in reference to Octavia Butler, “if it is to be thoroughly considered, how are humans different from the Tlich, from the enclave on Clay’s Ark, from the Ina, from the Oankali?”

Continue reading “Oankali Puppies! :Over-exaggerating the Visual”

Beware the Epistemophilia

Epistemophilia: An excessive love for knowledge.

Water is great! In fact, 55%-60% Of the human body and 71% of the earth is composed of water. Like water anything in moderation, even things that hold a necessity to live is beneficial. However, to look on the other side of the spectrum, an abundance of water, proves have disastrous effects both on the body and ecosystems all over the earth. This same can be applied to other resources like sunshine, rain, wind etc., but also to the human mind, to emotions we experience and actions we partake in. Epistemophilia is when a love for knowledge is approached in an excessive manner and possesses the possibility of causing more damage than good. Interpretation of Octavia Butler’s work then becomes a minefield of epistemophilic traps. Continue reading “Beware the Epistemophilia”

“Silent” Consent

To think that consent is the common thread that ties patting someone on the head and using a species as incubators to nurse another’s future generation together is something that my mind has been attempting to grapple with for the past couple days. Weighing in on what affirmation versus refusal to consent looks like, all boils down to two terms, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.  Continue reading ““Silent” Consent”