05 June, 2013

Earthseed, SolSeed

Hey, Readers,

It's sort of funny how things come to us, isn't it?

I have a friend through YouTube who I think looks like Genevieve Pearson, a writer who was a competitor on the TBS show, King of the Nerds. She was my favorite contestant, and I was really rooting for her to win! But alas, she came in second. I am still very upset with the way the votes went. Genevieve is my King!

Anyway, today I decided to search for a picture of Genevieve to compare how much she looks like my friend, when I found her website, GenevievePearson.com, and checked out the made-up Q&A section. In it, she asks herself, "What is your religion?" and the answer she gives is "Earthseed."

Of course, I had to look this up, and I learned that it comes from a trilogy of books by Octavia E. Butler, a woman whose writing I happen to adore. I haven't read the trilogy it comes from yet, but I am familiar with her Lilith's Brood trilogy and the world she creates there, and the laws and intricacies of that universe. So in reading the article about Earthseed, I'm seeing it sort of fit together with what I know of Butler's work, and how very earth-based it is. Earthseed is a fictional religion, written by Butler, which is based on the premise that "God is Change." The only constant in Life is Change. We hear that a lot, whether it be from people who believe it or from those who want to point out what an oxymoron it is. Regardless, it's an idea I certainly try to remember throughout my life, and my UU minister even pointed it out in a sermon a few weeks ago, as I recall.

From the Wiki page on Earthseed, there is a link to the page for an actual social movement that has begun, as a response to the fictional religion from the books. That movement is called SolSeed, and its central tenet is that "Life is Precious." Their creed page says that SolSeed offers a way for those "who embrace science and reason, rather than superstition," which is only a bit offensive, as it harkens to those who discount any religious belief as being non-scientific, even if scientists have religion, or if certain religious beliefs take into account the things that science has taught us. But I digress. SolSeed is not a religion, but a social movement, and they welcome everyone of any religion or non-religion to join.

The only thing that turns me off about this, is that TheDestiny is to create new worlds among the stars, to plant the seeds of life elsewhere in the Universe, creating children for Gaia. I recently had a short discussion via text message with a friend of mine about lunar colonization. My friend is very interested in life being sustained on other planets because of the great scientific advances it necessitates. I, however, am extremely discouraged by the way people treat our home planet, and find it extremely annoying, for lack of a more technical word, that people presume to live upon other celestial bodies when we can't seem to take care of the one we have. My friend assured me that a good thing about lunar colonization (which the US does not have a plan for, but other countries do) is that in order for it to happen, we would be forced to get things together here on Earth first. So perhaps the possibility of expansion, or "planetary globalization" as I think my friend called it, will be a catalyst for people to get their act together. Besides, said my friend, this wouldn't happen for hundreds of years. I, however, cannot let myself say I'm okay with something just because it won't happen in my own lifetime. I won't leave problems for my children and grandchildren that I had a chance to solve for the better.

In conclusion (for now, at least), SolSeed is really too big of an idea to claim to understand after five minutes. There are several pages of information to sort through, so if you're interested, click the link I gave above and search around! Many of the principles of this movement are admirable at a glance. I can see where this group has a lot in common with other groups I know. But some parts of this don't seem appropriate for where I'm coming from, personally. Earthseed seems more relevant to my life, and though SolSeed is based on it, it definitely has its own Life.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Cara,

    As a dedicant of SolSeed, I thank you for writing this about us. I hear your concerns about our inability to take care of the Earth and, therefore, your question about whether we should be imposing ourselves on the universe.

    All sorts of ugly scenarios come to mind from that phrase: imposing ourselves on the universe. But that was the EarthSeed vision that Octavia's Shaper Olamina character came up with. By the end of the second book she is launching starships.

    Still the question is often asked, even within the movement, "How do we avoid all the colonial ugliness as we head out into space?" or variants of that question. Part of the answer comes from your friend's answer about how long expansion into space is likely to take. The answer is probably tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. It is not a matter of the problem belonging to another generation. It is a matter of the change being so slow that any Life we encounter already out there will have time to adapt to us. In fact, we are likely to appear slowly enough that in the end we will provide new niches for that Life that it can evolve and adaptively radiate into. We will help it diversify as it helps us do the same in a kind of communion of biospheres.

    The second answer comes from the idea that this new frontier is not just a few tens of degrees around a world that we are already adapted to. This new frontier involves worlds on which we will be poorly adapted. Any Life we find on those worlds will be well adapted. We are unlikely to come as powerful colonizers but instead as tentative explorers.

    This question is also one that has caused the SolSeed vision to change a bit away from the human led starships of EarthSeed to a new vision of plant led seeding efforts, Dyson trees and expansion at the speed of Gaia rather than the speed of light.

    Also, like your friend, we see sustained expansion into space as only attainable if we care for Life here on Earth. There are many visions of humanity running from a dying Earth (e.g. the movies Interstellar and Red Planet). I prefer to hope for something better. I prefer to hope that humanity accept its one-of-many-species status and use its unique talents to help increase the diversity of Life both by cherishing the Earth and using rockets and genetic engineering to give Life a start on other worlds and the ability to travel between worlds itself without our continued help.