Maybe it’s the massive amount of current events news I’ve been reading, or perhaps it’s the ever increasing amount of free time I’ve had to mull over the world without work to tide me over- but as summer is reaching its end, I keep seeing a vaguely disturbing and rightening dystopia in our very near future.
Now to be clear – I don’t mean a fantasy dystopia filled with genetically mutated monsters and things that go bump in the night. I only wish that it was something so cool. But unfortunately, it’s 1984 that haunts my nights.
The utterly frightening and all-too-real reality of our society (and I do mean worldwide here – not just America) is turning inward on itself – tearing itself into tiny pieces of fear and desperation. It has become far too easy to simply imagine yourself living in a world where the government, on one level or another, controls what we see and wanting to “deal with” the undesirables.
How did this viewpoint come about, you ask?
Well. It all started when I read an article yesterday about the internet becoming more and more censored. It might have been some nonsense about Chinese bloggers getting arrested, or the horrid human rights violations in Belarus as newspapers are just mouthpieces of a corrupt regime.
Of course I am just limiting myself to media freedoms right now. Mainly because I can find so many examples where people can’t speak their minds, and to me – living in America my whole life – it’s truly disconcerting.
Isn’t a dystopia the opposite of a utopia? Isn’t it a place where our rights are stamped upon, where life has taken on an odd tinge and things aren’t exactly as they should be?
For us now, the generation that has taken up the latter half of the 20th century, it doesn’t seem to be so odd. The censorships and the fact we have places like Guantanamo Bay are regular. The fact we torture prisoners is not thought of highly, but of course it is still done. What would people in the past have thought of us?
Sure we aren’t barbarians, we don’t live in huts and beat each other for fun – but is what we are turning into any better? A collection of societies that espouses human rights but conducts shady back door deals? Countries that won’t let people have opinions, which is the most essential part of a human being.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to make the point of this post. I don’t know if dystopia has already arrived and we’re just denying the fact that we’ve entered into fiction books of the past (Newspeak and “Liking” things on Facebook anyone?) or if I’m just overreacting.
Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.
But as with all the best dystopian books of the day, we can fix it. Depends, obviously, if the society wants to be fixed at all. Some things have to get better before they get worse. I believe, though, there won’t be the one hero protagonist like there is in the best novels. It will be a movement. Something against censorship, something against whatever crazy system has distorted and mutated our world.
I don’t know when it will come. If it will come. Or if we will welcome it at all.
I do know that people are innately good. And that we will not stand for people being hurt in the name of “the greater good”. That censorship will only be put up with for so long. And that ultimately, dystopias can only last for so long.