Thursday, July 6, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Utopia or dystopia?

By Roger Owens

There are two major philosophies concerning the future: utopia and dystopia. Utopians see a day when all strife will end, and the children will play together forever. There will be enough clean water for everyone, a car in every garage, a chicken in every pot. And no one will ever have to make the decision to hurt or kill someone else, because if you have everything you need, why would you want to do that?
Image of science fiction writer Veronica Sicoe
    This seems a bit, well, utopian to me; it posits that want and need are the only reasons humans treat each other so wretchedly. Of course, those are the reasons sometimes, but we know perfectly well that some humans treat others horribly for no better reason than the thrill. It is usually about power, whether personal, military, or political. From the stalker, the wife-beater, the child abuser, right up to and including despotic rulers of totalitarian regimes, some people just seem to embody evil in the way they subjugate, torture, and murder their own people, and others as well. Can we really expect that to end?
    So, the answer must instead be dystopia, the notion that however it happens, and at whatever time, the world must eventually and in truth go to hell in a handbasket. At least, that’s what Grandpa Dedge always said. There’s a lot of evidence to support this theory. Let’s see, first we can point to an endless history of murder, rapine, warfare, and oppression, which must have started about the time we were coming out of caves. Then we can add our technological improvements, wherewith we are able to murder ever greater numbers of our fellow humans when they get in our way. Again, from the abuser to the despot, we have every reason to believe the very worst about our neighbors and leaders.

Image from a post on Georgia Tech’s ENGL 1102 blog
Are those our only choices? I don’t like either one of them. Isn’t there something in between there somewhere? It seems to me there has to be. Some other future to look forward to with some modicum of hope. I think there is, and I think it is as mundane as it is intriguing, at least to me.
    That is, I think things will go on pretty much as they are. That some of us will be subjected to the very worst tortures and indignities the lively human imagination can invent for us, and some of us will live full and happy lives with no more vicissitudes than those of losing friends and family to everyday causes. But more to the point, I think that evils will be there to be fought against, and there will be those who step up to fight them.
    It is in fact the very worst of human nature that brings out the very best in human nature. And as it has always done, so, I believe, it will always do. So long as there are humans in the universe, there will be strife; and no, the children will never play together forever. But they will play. And not everyone will have enough, but there will always be those who strive to feed them. And for every lowlife stalker, every wife-beater, every abuser, every despot, there will be innumerable people of good will, and conscience, and courage. The worst in us will always bring out the best in us, and in that is our condemnation and our redemption.

Copyright © 2017 by Roger Owens

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