Is dystopia possible for humanity
Dystopias hold up a mirror to us
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stepping on a face - incessantly." - O'Brien, 1984
Nothing describes a dystopian future better than a boot that keeps kicking you in the face. We could also simply dismiss this equation of future and incessant pain as pessimism. But a dystopia like George Orwell's 1984 goes far deeper than bad mood and fear of the future. Dystopian visions of the future provide breeding ground for sociological, anthropological, philosophical, psychological considerations and so many other scientific disciplines. And what could be more exciting than the question - what's coming? How deep could mankind's journey go downhill? With all of the collective experiences humankind has had so far, can we predict the future? Or does the imagined future tell a lot more about our life and our fears in the here and now? Let me first try to differentiate dystopia from science fiction in general.
What is a dystopia?
Science fiction feeds its popularity from our fascination with the distant and the foreign. We want to see drafts of how aliens live on strange planets, gigantic spaceships float through space and in which direction our society is moving, or which technical and scientific advances can await us. The classic dystopia is part of science fiction and is fed less from our fascination with the unanswerable future but much more from the fear of (all) present catastrophes and a feared decline of our western values.
A dystopia, also called anti-utopia, is always devoted to an alternative or future concept of society, which is the opposite of utopia, i.e. anything but ideal, and which turns today's situation into a negative. Dystopian worlds take many forms. Be it the world dominated by machines (Matrix), population mixed by aliens (you live!), Totalitarian thoughts and forms of government (Code 46), the total dumbing down of mankind (idiocracy) or other terrifying social conditions such as overpopulation (year 2022 - who want to survive) or global infertility (Children of Men). In any case, things go wrong and often a lot of people die. And mostly other people are to blame.
The vulnerable person in a vulnerable society
The indisputable commonality that the classical, literary (The Time Machine, My, Brave New World, 1984) connects with the modern, cinematic dystopias, the focus is on the human being as a social being, who either lives or has to live as a community of many in a certain order, or rises as a rebellion against totalitarian pulp or the mechanization of himself. In the dystopian world plan, social stability is usually held as the highest ideal, which only the human body can break through with its individuality. And if civilization has already collapsed due to a catastrophe, then the hero is one of the few who does not indulge in his animal instincts, but rather holds up the flag of democratic civilization. The instructive intention of all these dystopian parables on our existence today cannot be overlooked. They reflect the fear of the consequences of progress in what is often moral packaging.
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