Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Dystopian Machine

The following is a personal examination of dystopian concepts that I wrote as part of an attempt to understand the world of a story I am writing. I am certain to be somewhat mistaken in my observations, and therefore, this is to be taken as a topic for discussion, but not necessary an essay on asserted facts. Nevertheless, I hope my reasoning is structurally sound, and would appreciate any feedback by those more informed than I am.

The machine of society, and by extension its apparatus, has been created for the specific purpose of organizing society. The eternal argument is to whom ought go the benefits of such an organized society. The debate has such a wide range as to include "everyone" and "one top person."

The former ranges in another dimension from Socialism and Communism to Libertarianism and Anarchy. The latter does not range much in actual practice, but includes a variety of titles from "Emperor" to "Dictator." There are many things wrong with such extremes. By definition, Socialism and Communism keep people "down" in the name of equality, unfortunately, someone has to be the oppressor, and usually becomes a "Dictator." Libertarianism and Anarchy cast off any notion of oppression, but create such ignorant individualism as to allow the strongest to become an oppressor, or "Dictator."

Either way, extremes end up producing a two-class system based upon some kind of coercion. A person or small group of people who have "absolute power" tend to corner the market—as it were—on happiness as well. The masses, supposed to be "secure," seethe with frustration and jealousy at their inability to advance. As a result, the elites impose more force upon the "unruly" people while giving themselves more freedom from the people.

And so, the ultimate goal of those who seek to mechanize society is to create a taught system that responds instantaneously to the will of the pilot(s). In order for this to happen, such a system must be "bled" of all turbulence in the order of individual preferences. These preferences come in two varieties: one has an interest in the system as a whole (and is therefore a problem to the machine) and the other merely has an interest in one's self.

This second variety includes the only "individual rights" that such a system allows. These are on the order of physical freedoms (what one does with one's own body or with a consenting partner). Freedoms on the order of the mental (such as political transparency, freedom of movement—across boundaries, etc.) and freedoms on the order of the philosophical (which open questions about the justice of such a system) are eventually strictly prohibited.

When each person cares only about himself, he becomes a predictable mechanism. He can be manipulated with "carrot and stick" rewards, and need not falter due to relational or other human considerations. He can then be pushed, abused, and used up without any worry of someone coming to his aid—because he is alone by his own design. Furthermore, this is seen as his own fault, because anyone who looks as his situation sees only the physical considerations—never the underlying causes of his faulty thinking.

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