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Woke: A Field Guide For Utopia Preppers Paperback – December 1, 2017
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This, this is the sort of book which led humanity to create printing presses. This is the kind of work which inspires, which illuminates, which transcends. This goes on the top of your bookshelf, sitting next to the elites which you have spent a lifetime searching out. And if you are fortunate to have spent a lifetime being introduced to the works of the great thinkers, great writers, and great souls, you will gaze at that top shelf and figure out which one will have to be bumped in order to fit Woke on that shelf.
Don’t worry, it is quite a small book. No need to demote War And Peace or Les Miserables to a lesser position. But surely there is something you read in your youth, something that once moved you but will appear not quite so worthy after you have read Woke. Or perhaps you need not worry about where to fit it on your shelf: despite its modest size, it is a possession you will want to keep near you, like a beloved pet or a copy of Waldon. It is a constant source of joy even though it is a reminder of the sorrow that exists and the impermanence of all things. Beauty and sorrow are inseparable, but there is more of the former than the latter to be found here.
You will cry often. Or rather, I cried often. I don’t want to project my reaction onto you, though I deeply hope and wish that you share a similar appreciation of this book. I cried tears of sadness, and joy, tears of rage, and amazement. Quite often I cried tears of laughter, though I wasn’t always certain what had caused it. More than anything, I cried the sort of tears you shed when staring at something too brilliant to behold for more than brief moments (But the blurring of my eyes allowed me time to reflect upon the revelations and savor their sweetness, so that worked out fine).
This is a book that looks unflinchingly at who we are as a species, the good and the bad, the hopes and the fears. Caitlin recognizes, more clearly than anyone else seems to recognize, the situation as it now stands, and appeals to our better angels to rise above the miasma in which we find ourselves.
Woke speaks to the entirety of a human being, speaks to the child within us as well as the more mature aspects of who we are. Perhaps if you have not allowed yourself to continue to learn and grow as you’ve aged, this might not appeal to you. Or perhaps those who have completely lost that wonder we are capable of as children might not appreciate the affinity for awe and miracles this book contains, despite the fact Caitlin sees the darkness and danger quite clearly. Woke is the work of a human being in touch with the myriad aspects of what it means to be human. It is sophisticated, mature, playful, profound.
I imagine a great round table in Heaven where the writers and thinkers of the ages gather round to discuss all the issues that absorbed them while on Earth. Jack London calls out for another drink and Oscar Wilde seconds the notion, wondering when that brew bottled by Socrates millennia ago and still sitting on the shelf is going to finally be opened. Chuang Tzu sits quietly, while Victor Hugo, newly arrived from purgatory, is sufficiently chastised so that he feels it is not his place to say anything. But Plato reminds him that it is reserved for the time that Caitlin arrives to join the discussion. Oscar’s eyes lose their familiar glint of irreverence and expose the soul behind the wit for a moment. Indeed, there is a bit of a hush about the table as they realize what is at stake for the humanity for which so many of them have struggled and sacrificed for. Although they long for the day when Caitlin can claim her seat among them, they realize the import of her work in this crucial moment of human history. And then Erasmus cracks open a copy of Woke and begins to read to the others. It is part of a far larger book written by countless authors who felt the need to observe and chronicle the human story. And everyone at the table knows they can turn to the last page at any time they want to see how the story ends. But they are storytellers, and they appreciate the beauty of a story well-told. They appreciate such notions as pacing and story arc, and they are acutely aware that they have arrived at a crucial part of the story.
They are the woke, and they are eagerly anticipating that the rest of humanity finally joins them in this chapter.
If you feel frustrated by the garbage force fed to you by both the left and the right in today's media, Woke will be a welcome reassurance that you are not alone and you can make a difference.
If our world is going to find its way, it will happen by individuals finding themselves and not giving into the mobspeak. That's what being 'woke' really means. Caitlin is one of the strongest voices I've ever heard on this subject, and I can't recommend this book highly enough.
If you've not discovered Johnstone's writing, start by buying this book then follow her on Medium.