Dystopia: Depends on Who’s Idea of Dystopia?

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I just read a journal article from the Michigan Law Review by American politician Bob Barr who wrote about Huxley’s Brave New World, and offered an intriguing point of view.  What qualifies as a frightening dystopian future for most of us, is not frightening for all of us.  There are those among us, government bureaucrats for instance, who might thrive within and enjoy such a system as the London of Huxley’s vision.  One of the common attributes of the citizens of the world in 2540 A.D.–or A.F. 632 (A.F.= After Ford)–is that they all work steadily to produce extremely average results on a happily consistent basis.  Mediocrity is the status quo in a society that champions unchanging stability–as is the case in Huxley’s future.  Therefore, while people “cursed” with creative or curious minds could not tolerate such a place as Huxley’s world, others who value sameness and balancing the books within social “control” would do just fine.   What is dystopian for one is not dystopian for another.

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2 thoughts on “Dystopia: Depends on Who’s Idea of Dystopia?

  1. Hah, no kidding. The same goes for utopia – one person’s idea of what’s utopic might be another’s nightmare. Which, I guess, is what a lot of political conflict comes down to, isn’t it. Is, for example, a classless society a utopia or dystopia? Or one in which government has the ultimate power, but uses it to really look after everyone?

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    • Exactly. The career soldier conforms perfectly within a military government. As for the rest of us civilians, well…. The thing is, as with most dystopian literature, the society within the universe of ‘Brave New World’ only works if it represses knowledge and certain truths essential to human individuality.

      A society of bureaucrats living in a completely bureaucratic society, like the Vogons in ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, would see Huxley’s world as pleasant and normal–and such a society would be a good one, at least, good for them. And therefore, not dystopian at all. (Remember the Vogons? They had the “sex appeal of road kill” and the third worst poetry in the universe? Lol.)

      I think that what makes a dystopian society ‘dystopian’ is that knowledge is hidden so that truth is not seen.

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