Dystopia

The letter D has brought me to Dystopia.

According to Wikipedia a “dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. (…) Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, tyrannical governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.”

A quick online search further shows that imagery associated with dystopian landscapes are often overly industrialized and polluted. I noticed many computer games these days are set in such a landscape.

My motivation for choosing this word as an inspiration for a blog post does not stem from a conviction that my life or surroundings are dystopian right now. On the contrary, I see a lot to be hopeful for.

Despite my optimistic outlook on things, I do feel that many of the ingredients to plunge into something terribly horribly nasty are present as well.

There is a reason the series Black Mirror was such a success. Each episode tells a story based on an exaggerated and uncomfortable aspect of modern day life. It is an unbingeable series for me, because so much of it feels just a tad too familiar. I guess that is why it is called Black Mirror and not Black Window.

The other day my boyfriend said that he wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the near future reality would ‘split’. He didn’t mean we would be entering into a parallel universe or something star trekky like that. What he meant, was that there would be a rift in society, where different groups live by different sets of facts (and therefore different realities).

It’s a scary idea but I do actually catch his drift. People are choosing to believe such silly (untrue) things, and they in turn think I am crazy for believing what I do.

This image of two people debating what number they see, is often used to explain how two people can be right or at least believe to be. It’s a metaphor for people being convinced of different things, based on their point of view.

Still….

Somebody put that number there and that person meant it to be a six or a nine. Communication can solve the mystery. Just find the guy that chalked that numeral there and ask him what the message was he was trying to bring across. And once the number-creator has let us know he wants six loafs of bread, not nine, there is no need to continue debating what the number looks like. It’s a six. Period.

It is impossible to have a conversation about things if you can not agree on the most basic principles. When communication is no longer possible, anarchy awaits.

I remember how my punk and goth classmates used to talk about anarchy as if it was something the world needed. I never understood what they meant, as I believed anarchy and chaos were pretty much the same thing. And who wants to live in a constant state of chaos? This video helped me understand anarchy’s charm a bit better:

Nobody wants hate to prevail over love. Nobody wants to make decisions out of fear. Nobody wants to distrust their neighbor.

Lawlessness and violence are not ingredients for anybody’s utopia, I don’t think. People only want to get rid of laws if they feel those laws are corrupt or unfair. Violence is only a means to bring a process of change in motion, not a goal. People that thrive for violence just for the sake of violence are psychopaths, and I choose to believe those are actually quite rare.

There are moments when I feel there is a bigger power pushing us towards the cliff, like in that horribly disturbing (but kind of catchy) song by Stromae (who felt it was fitting to include an image of Obama in his music video in 2015 to depict people being eaten up alive by the Twitter-demon… man… that hurts even more in hindsight…):

But in the end, I think there is no architect behind any of this.

This current state of affairs has been constructed thoughtlessly by many individuals, all acting selfishly but without a higher purpose. Most people do not base their day-to-day choices on a future plan or any bigger picture. They just react to what is straight in front of them.

And I think that is how I would sum up the current state of the world. It is nobody’s fault. Everybody is a victim of an involuntary structure that forms them and they it.

We all agree it’s horrible but the consensus is that “it is what it is”. We learn to work with this system, even though we don’t want it. We fortify it by basing our laws on the premises of its faults. Many people have convinced themselves that we can’t change it until we have found who is responsible.

The winds are changing though. As I said in the beginning, I am feeling hopeful. More and more people are learning to vocalize their feelings and needs. We are starting to see how society is falling short. “It is what it is” is no longer an acceptable explanation.

If there were a way to achieve true and positive change while bypassing the anarchy-fase, that would be awesome. If keeping the peace means leaving everything the way it is, then bring the chaos, by all means!


This is a contribution for my own personal A-to-Z challenge, which I will be adding to once a month. Alphabet so far:

Doubters alert – Part Two

This is Blog 4 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Doubt

I recently noticed my first “Doubter Alert” blog was getting quite a few views (which I still can’t really explain). To be honest, when I saw the title appear in my stats I couldn’t even really remember what it was about. So I re-read my own post and was inspired to write a follow-up on it.

The original blog sprouted from a WP Prompt, in which you were encouraged to write about a “commonly accepted truth” that you disagree with or at least seriously doubt.

The list I assembled consists not so much of “commonly accepted truths” but more of modern day arguments and opinions that a growing group of people seem to have.

Voting is useless.
I think it was actually my brother that said this to me at some point. He’s a skeptic, in more ways than one, and he has stopped casting his vote. He says that he doesn’t know who to vote for and always feels like he’s been duped in some way or other anyway.

I guess I kind of understand the sentiment.

I disagree vehemently though and it makes me sad to see people so disillusioned by the people in power (and, following George Carlin’s logic, the general public as a whole).

Atheists have no moral compass.
This has never actually been said to me explicitly. It is something I read in comments on Social Media and may have been suggested by a street Evangelist or two.

I like to think I am a good person. I care about what happens around me, from plants to animals and of course fellow human beings. I do what I reasonably can to be a positive presence in the world.

What could believing in angels, spirits and god(s) have done to improve my morals? I really don’t see it…

A Dutch white person criticizing Black Pete does this only out of political correctness and doesn’t truly believe what they say.

This is a complicated one, especially to non-Dutchies. Is that true? I’m not sure. Now that I’m writing it down I’m think it’s actually simpler for outsiders… (Oy, so much doubt!)

Anyway, it took me 5 long blogs to sum the problem up last year, so please feel free to read those (starting with this one) to get a general idea of what I mean with the statement above.

Other statements that people these days are making, that I have my doubts about:

  • Genetically modified food is bad for the planet.
  • I have freedom of speech so I can say whatever I want in whichever way I want.
  • You can’t trust the media (or even worse “journalists are the enemy of the people).
  • Vaccines are unnecessary
  • Climate change (human caused or not) is an inevitable fact of life that we just need to accept instead of trying to fix or prevent.

Reading my list makes me rethink my first A-to-Z blog, in which I asked myself if I was an activist. It’s clear politics and societal issues play a big part in my musings of late…

All this talk of doubt reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite books:

As much as I love this book (seriously, read it. Better than the movie), I think I actually disagree with that statement. I think asking “why” is always a good thing.

People that believe in absolute truths are not the most pleasant people to be around, if you ask me…

At the same time I do understand that you need to calibrate yourself as well and decide on what rings true to you. Doubting everything can drive you mad (or paranoid).

As always, it’s all in finding balance.

PS: Check out the etymology of DOUBT and why it has “b” in it. Interesting!