Essential Octavia Butler

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 lied to.

To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.


All too often,

We say

What we hear others say.

We think

What we’re told that we think.

We see

What we’re permitted to see.


We see what we’re told that we see.

Repetition and pride are the keys to this.

To hear and to see

Even an obvious lie


And again and again

May be to say it,

Almost by reflex

And then to defend it

Because we’ve said it

And at last to embrace it

Because we’ve defended it

And because we cannot admit

That we’ve embraced and defended

An obvious lie.

Thus, without thought,

Without intent,

We make

Mere echoes

Of ourselves — 

And we say

What we hear other say.

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