(This post was inspired by the July 2012 Blog Chain prompt at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is slavery and independence. )
First, what exactly is a dystopia?
A dystopia is a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems, various forms of active and passive coercion. Works about dystopian societies often explore the concept of humans abusing technology and humans individually and collectively coping, or not being able to properly cope with technology that has progressed far more rapidly than humanity’s spiritual evolution. Dystopian societies are often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens. – Wikipedia
I read George Orwell’s 1984 recently, which is often suggested to be the ultimate dystopian novel. After reading, I can understand why. It dives further into breaking apart every single freedom we hold dear than any other one I’ve read in its genre. It’s one thing to enslave the body and force people to perform actions against their will. Its another to completely reform the brain to eliminate all thoughts that are contrary to what Big Brother wants.
“The two aims of the party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.” – excerpt from 1984.
This book goes further than to censor speech. Big Brother doesn’t merely ban controversial books. It destroys every single copy and then all evidence that these books even existed. People that speak out are not only executed, they are forced to confess, and then they are written out of existence. The past is re-written constantly to conform with today’s beliefs. All evidence to the contrary is destroyed. All that is left is memories and even they are questioned.
Parents are not allowed to discipline or correct children and children are encouraged to spy on parents. Sex is performed to produce children and any hints of romance or personal enjoyment are forbidden – when Big Brother figures out how to eliminate the need for sex to procreate, it will be banned also.
Its scary to think that there are cultures in existence where this is not fiction. It’s reality. And call me crazy, but I’d rather be put against 11 other teenagers in a fight to the death than lose such fundamental freedoms.
In honor of Independence Day, let’s remember how lucky we are that we have the freedoms we do.