Resources in the Time of War

On the ipod: Black Hawk Down Soundtrack
In the backpack: American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips

Frank Herbert will probably never be topped. He wrapped up conflicts of resource so tightly in his Dune series that I doubt you can get a better Mideast Oil allegory going. I’ll stick to religious conflict but there is definitely some interesting details to our modern resource conflicts.
I’ve read a lot of history in the pursuit of one of my BAs, most of it ancient, so I’m used to dense books but Kevin Phillips weaves so much information into his writing that I’m having a hard time following all of his information leads while keeping pace with his point.
He made a brief appearance on Bill Maher’s show a week or two back and impressed me enough that I wanted to read his book. A few chapters in, I’m finding that he does a great job of tracking our relationship to oil, the most important resource of our time, back through the years. He ties this to religious beliefs in our country and the Middle East, which led me back to Dune.
We move from one resource to another in our history. Sometimes these are realworld items: gold, water or land. Sometimes they are less tangible concepts, with concrete effect, such as feudal power.
I’m thinking a lot about sub-motivations in my characters lately and the concepts that define their ends. Political safety and privacy are a large root of many actions in the Dioscuri series. The fear of exposure definitely has my sneakiest character working it as hard as she can to keep the truth under wraps. For her the only resource she’s hoarding are secrets. She’s set against the main character of book two, Prodigal, whose main resource is freedom. The third main character is starting to define his resource as knowledge. These are pretty broad intangibles, distilled down for each character to work with but it doesn’t hurt to think about how they’ll deal with local, realworld, resources either. The world they inhabit lives on grain and for that control of land is an important goal. It’s been a motivation for war in their recent history and it’s a motivator intrigue in their present. All these motivations are starting to come together, conflict and if I’m doing my job right , explode in a fantastic but believable manner.

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