WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
Dystopian societies bend the meanings of words and natural human emotions badly out of shape. This is done to make it more difficult to mount any meaningful challenge to the supremacy of those in control. Far from dying out in 1989-1991 with the deaths of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, dystopianism is making a strong comeback from within some of the most strongly-placed institutions of the western world. Because of this great dystopian revival, we need to brace ourselves with a better understanding of what it is and why it seems so easy for it to find a hold in the minds of today’s young.
Great Works of Dystopian Fiction
To understand the worlds of dystopia that are blooming in the strangest places, the modern person might best look to works of fiction. George Orwell’s 1984 is probably the best, since Orwell was a direct witness to 20th century dystopian communism and fascism in his own time. From fiction, Orwell was able to draw on the thoughts from earlier authors such as Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), and Yevgeny Zamyatin (We).
Later works of dystopian fiction by Ira Levin (This Perfect Day PDF), and a large number of science fiction authors such as Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451 (PDF)), Philip K. Dick, Thomas Disch, John Brunner, Harlan Ellison, Ursula Le Guin, and many others, have added to the palette of dystopian scenarios that colour our literary thoughts.
Dystopian fiction can be powerful — even nightmarish — in its emotional impact. But compared to dystopian reality such as was seen in the worlds of Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and other bloody tyrants of 20th century totalitarian horror, the fictional accounts can only prepare us in small part for the real pain, suffering, and unjust death that was suffered by real people.
The Gulag Archipelago Under Stalin
We would never have known the important details about Stalin’s infamous work/prison/torture/death camps, were it not for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s long and carefully crafted account, available free online and recently re-published in print with a foreward by Jordan Peterson.
In “The Gulag,” there are no clever literary tricks used to rouse the emotions or to excite the indignation of readers. There is only the long, even recollection of what happened across these islands of pain in the name of an ideology that was disqualified by its internal contradictions before ever being put into practise. But what Soviet Communism lacked in credibility it made up for by sheer bloody zeal and ruthlessness.
Dystopia in the Modern University and Corporate Culture
To follow the emerging threads of dystopianism on college campuses, a good place to start looking are the websites Quillette and Campus Reform. The modern university is a hotbed for the politically correct banning of independent thought and free communication. Students are shunned, expelled, and otherwise castigated in the name of the echo chamber. Speakers are disinvited and deplatformed in the name of ideological purity. And the minds of the students who choose to march in step to the deadening drumbeat of monofilament thought, are lobotomised by university life as surely as would have happened under the surgeon’s knife.
Dystopia thrives in an atomosphere of one-sided and intolerant educational practises. And that is what is seen too often on modern university campuses.
It may seem odd that a company such as Google has become infamous as having one of the most dystopian corporate cultures in the western world. The saga of former Google engineer James Damore tells but one part of the larger story — although a particularly interesting part. Mr. Damore was fired by Google in order to make an example of the man — with the unmistakable intention of shutting up any others who might be tempted to shake up the fascist corporate culture by using real world factual information.
YouTube, Twitter, and other internet companies have instituted a “reign of ideological censorship” in the hopes of shutting down free thought and communication on a larger scale. Such campaigns of outward internet lobotomisation naturally arise from closed-minded thought within the corporate halls themselves, and within the rhetoric coming from the law firms that defend such dystopian corporate cultures.
More on college campus dystopianism:
Understanding Ideological Programming
Before the dystopian culture can come about, before the dystopian society and dystopian civilisation can emerge, the individuals living within the cultures, societies, and civilisations must be susceptible to ideological programming. It is clear that the modern methods of child-raising and education in the western world are particularly amenable to the creation of young people who are exquisitely susceptible to ideological programming as well as to academic lobotomisation. Today’s young are almost ideal for such purposes, and we see the unfortunate result of this on college and corporate campuses, and in the form of low/slow graduation rates and high student loan debt.
One of the best ways to immunise the young against inbred styles of thinking which lead to dystopia, is to expose them to the vivid unfolding of graphic dystopias in both fictional and non-fictional/historic forms. This is not being done to any sufficient degree at any level of classroom training, and is one of the many notable deficiencies of modern educational practise.
But any parent or family friend can hand a young person a copy of “1984” or “Fahrenheit 451.” It may be best to wait until the child has become a teenager, and to provide a warning that the book may give a hard punch in the gut. But early inoculation (teen years +) is recommended.
People who were raised within a strict religious environment have already been exposed to overt ideological programming, although it would not have been presented as such. Nevertheless, having once been overtly programmed, it becomes easier for them to recognise the signs of both overt and covert programming in subsequent experiences. To be sure, it is almost impossible to avoid attempts at such programming whatever path a person’s life may take.
Humans are not evolved to think in an especially rational manner. As a result of the slapdash and superficial way that human minds work, most anyone who has not been prepared in advance to recognise and resist ideological programming and the slippery slope of collective conformity and subsequent dystopia, will be susceptible.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .
Dystopia in focus: The dystopian nightmare in China
China is a vast dungeon where no one’s body organs are safe