The 154: My Emotional Reaction to “Mind of My Mind”

During class last Friday, we talked about our emotional reactions to the end of Mind of My Mind. Admist the trauma of Doro’s and Emma’s death, as well as Mary’s victory, I found myself mourning for the 154 Patternists lost during the concluding battle. It seemed to be something akin to genocide, the senseless killings of civilians who are usually the innocent consequences of war. In World War Two alone, the ratio of civilian deaths to solider deaths was 2:1 (I know we weren’t supposed to place outside sources in this blog post, but I just wanted to build some perspective). These civilians were usually just like us; ordinary people with no strong political or military affiliations. Most may be even against the war that they are involved in, or at least somewhat ignorant of it. In the same way these Patternists were ignorant of the war that was going on around them (and that they were involved in). According to the book, most of the more recent Patternists didn’t even know what Doro looked like, or anything beyond his place as the “creator of the creator” of the Pattern. They wouldn’t be able to understand the risk that they were taking when they were roped into Mary’s strength taking.

But in comparison to the score of over a thousand Patternists, this loss of population is relatively small. Yet, I can’t help but think of these people as individuals. I can’t help but think of their potential for the Pattern, since it seemed that almost everyone within it had a specific purpose: like one body part culminating into a living, breathing thing. In their deaths, certain prospects for the Patten will be inevitably lost. Mary also seemed to mourn for their loss, something that Doro would not have done throughout the time we as readers have known him. I also wonder if the other Patternists mourned for these new martyrs in the same way. Butler establishes the Pattern as inexiplicably connected, just as Mary is connected to the Patternists, so the Patternists are connected to each other. This would explain how previously telepaths could not stand to be around each other, but now cannot bear to be socially isolated. Other Patternists probably seconded these recents themselves, saw their transition into the “family”. How did the Patternists feel about their new “offspring” (in the same way that Rachel affectionally called her seconds her “kids) being taken away from them in order to save their own lives? On another note, Mary tried to give her Patternists the strength back, again something that would have been impossible for Doro. He only takes strength. This also displays Mary in a very different light: she is not seeking a power that instinctively takes and controls. Her power is more symbiotic, in the same way that she is a symbiotic leader in way: one who is actively involved with and connected to the people she leads. This is why I believe that Mary’s victory, and the subsequent deaths of the 154 were an unfortunate way to pave a new way for the future of the Pattern.

It just seems that their deaths were roped into the new future of Doro’s race: the transformation of a superhuman race into a culture or possibly a non-generational family. It is a historical story that has been told time and time again: how the deaths of a few helped to pave the future for the many. In the same way that I believed Doro had to die in order for this new race to advance under a new leadership, these Patternists had to die in order for the furture of Mary’s Patternists to grow. Mary describes it herself in the text: “I managed it, and probably saved the lives of others who would have died. So that I only had to get used to the idea that I had killed the 154”. Although these Patternists were innocent, in the sense that they were not directly involved in the power struggle between Doro and Mary, it seemed that they had be made martyrs in order of the Pattern to continue to thrive. It makes me wonder, how many innocent people die in order for a community to advance?

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