Digging Deep into Dystopia

Modern dystopian thought didn’t spring forth, fully-formed, from thin air. It’s been peppered into popular culture for decades. Who did this and why? These are deep questions with messy and unpleasant answers. I present you with a series of Socratic-style questions to consider. In the Socratic method of discourse the goal is to reflect on the question then apply the knowledge to your life’s experience. Your conclusions then belong to you, forever.

Much better than anyone telling you what to think, eh?

I’ve arranged the questions into segments. The segments are numbered but the numbers are only there to act as divisions, they are not hierarchical. Each set will open your eyes to new things. The whole picture will develop as you dig deeper. I encourage you to discuss what you find with your friends and with me, if you like. There is much to be learned from open discussion, much more than from didactic learning. Enjoy, my friends!

Segment I.

Who started Transhumanism?

Who was Aldous Huxley’s brother?

Why call a book “Brave New World?”

Who would want to create that kind of world?

Why would anyone be afraid of the Age of Aquarius?

Who would?

What does a dictatorship offer the leaders?

Why would anyone want this?

What benefit are slaves?

When did we abolish slavery?

Are you sure?

Segment II.

What is a bait and switch?

Why use a bait and switch?

Do you like being taken advantage of?

Do you understand the meaning of “bread and circuses?”

What is the modern equivalent to gladiatorial games?

Who are modern gladiators? (Hint: it’s not soldiers.)

Do you believe in what you see in TV and movies?

Why do you believe in some of them and not others?

What if they were all based in truth?

Why do we shut down or look away when faced with certain uncomfortable questions?

What are you trying to protect with denial?

What could make you change your mind unwillingly?

Why do we like violent entertainments?

Do they make you feel good? Or bad? Powerful?

Who makes these games popular and way?

Segment III.

What is paranoia?

How is it different from experience and wisdom?

What is addiction?

What the benefit of an addicted population?

Who would want an addicted population?

When is it okay to attack others?

Is emotional abuse better than physical abuse? Why?

What is the Collective Unconscious?

Who is Carl Jung?

Why is this important?

What is a narrative?

Why is this important?

What if our narratives were controlled by people we never met?

Why would anyone want to control a group’s life narratives?

Segment IV.

What is a knee jerk reaction?

Why do we have knee jerk reactions?

How do knee jerk reactions and active thinking interact?

What is mind control?

Who would want to use mind control?

Why?

What is panic?

Who would want to use panic as a weapon?

Why?

What is mental illness?

What is free will?

Why do terms such as “love thy neighbor” need to be explained?

What is compassion?

What is empathy?

What is a sociopath?

Who would want us to admire a sociopathic hero in a movie or TV show?

Why are modern violent movies full of jokes?

What do the jokes do?

Why is this important?

Segment V.

What is cognitive dissonance?

How can one thing be two opposing things at once?

Why is this relevant?

What does the term, “being of two minds” really mean?

Why is this important?

Why was psychological analysis so important in the mid-twentieth century?

What did it do to the society?

Who would want to indoctrinate children?

What are the benefits of standardized education?

Who would want that?

Who creates standardized education?

How long have we had standardized education?

Segment VI.

What was the purpose of the Israelites wandering for forty years in the wilderness after leaving Egypt?

Why is this relevant?

Why is truth dangerous?

To whom?

Why is Dystopia such a common theme in entertainment?

Who benefits from this?

What is transparency?

Who benefits from this?

What is unbridled creativity?

Why is unbridled creativity considered a pastime?

Who benefits from this?

Segment VII.

What is money?

Who benefits most from a monetary economy?

Do you believe that you can be discovered by someone with power or influence who will then make you a star?

Why is this relevant?

What is a star?

Why does being a star have such relevance to so many?

What is philosophy?

Who are our current (modern) philosophers?

Why is this relevant?

Why was philosophy considered important in the pre-Christian world?

Why are philosophers dangerous?

Why is this relevant?

Segment VIII.

Do we live in a racist country?

How many racists do you know personally?

Why are people so easily insulted?

What does it mean to be “out of school?”

Why is being out of school equated with ceasing to learn?

Why do so many people sell self-help products?

Why is this relevant?

Why do we feel limited in what we can do?

Who benefits from this?

Why is this relevant?

What is a narcissist?

How has out behavior changed since we the beginning of Facebook?

Why is this relevant?

What is an empath?

What is a Judas goat?

Why is this relevant?

Segment IX.

What is the relevance of Kate and Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew?

Why would anyone agree to say black is white when it is not?

Who benefits?

What is the meaning of free will?

Who benefits?

Can free will be compromised?

How?

Why is this relevant?

How did Dorothy discover the truth about the Wizard of Oz in the movie?

Why is this relevant?

Are we alone in the universe?

Did you immediately think of E.T. when I asked that? Or, God? Both? Why?

Segment X.

Why does knowledge equal power?

Who believes this?

Why?

There’s an expression that says if someone doesn’t want to run for public office then they’re probably the right one for the position. Why is that?

What is the book Ismael about?

Why is that relevant to this line of questioning?