Monday, March 23, 2015

Dystopia in the Future

I read a number of books during my recent attempts to build and restore my memory.  New words and ideas were good for my brain to digest and consider, and might have helped, but helped or not, they were all quite good.

The Future according to the past is an interesting way to consider the world.   Few people would suggest that a writer or futurist was evil to have written about a future that never arrived, after all, it is fiction.  But, to what extent are we able to look at these works by authors of the past as windows to the beliefs of the past, extrapolated to a future world, if in fact, by use of fiction.  Some of the books are clearly more didactic than others, trying to teach the world not to turn towards some philosophy or belief system, whereas others prefer to show the results of that very turn vis-a-vis the life of the fictional characters.

Not all of the books are written in the same fashion regarding the future either, some take a look at a dystopia but present it as a Utopia gone mad, whereas others present the world as having gone straight to the dystopia. 1984 by George Orwell, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Anthem by Ayn Rand have been studied inside and out.  I don't place each of the books shown here upon an even footing, for example, Anthem is a political work that doesn't compare to 1984 or A Brave New World, but it has been considered more than most of the rest of the books presented here.

What is most interesting about the selections offered, is not that people would write about the future world, or that they'd project their fears and thoughts onto a future world, but how accurate they were
in a general sense.  Some foresaw the growth of the invasion of the privacy of civilians as seen in 1984, or the attempts to push the society into conformity, as found in Animal Farm.  The use of drugs to mediate and reduce freedom was seen in works like Brave New World, to achieve ultra conformity, and reduce individuality humans are encouraged to work endlessly with the aid of drugs, and to deal with any creative ideas or individualistic urges with psychotropic meds.

Ultimately no author gets anything perfect, and some are rather off but, each of these books rewarded my time reading.  With the natural instinct of people to be drawn to spectacle in fiction but desire their reality to be closer to utopia, dystopias have a place in science fiction, fantasy as the basis for consideration.

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