July 4, 2011

No Dystopia Monday

Are we already living in a dystopian system?

Common Traits of Dystopias

The following is a list of traits familiar to dystopian literature, movies, or a present day society near you.
  • a hierarchical society where divisions between the upper, middle and lower class are definitive and unbending
  • a nation-state ruled by an upper class with few democratic ideals
  • state propaganda programs and educational systems that coerce most citizens into worshipping the state and its government, in an attempt to convince them into thinking that life under the regime is good and just
  • strict conformity among citizens and the general assumption that dissent and individuality are bad
  • a fictional state figurehead that people worship fanatically through a vast personality cult, such as 1984's Big Brother
  • a fear or disgust of the world outside the state
  • a penal system that lacks due process laws and often employs psychological or physical torture
  • constant surveillance by state police agencies
  • the banishment of the natural world from daily life
  • a back story of a natural disaster, war, revolution, uprising, spike in overpopulation or some other climactic event which resulted in dramatic changes to society
  • a standard of living among the lower and middle class that is generally poorer than in contemporary society (adapted from netcharles.com)
Wow. That sounds disturbingly familiar...
"War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent."  - George Orwell
"Habit converts luxurious enjoyments into dull and daily necessities."           - Aldous Huxley

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