We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

by Chris Hedges from TruthDig.

The author uses the themes from both Huxley and Orwell to show how both function to lead us down to a "Brave New Dystopia".
The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression?
Either Hedges has a morbid fascination with the totalitarian nightmare that he sees ahead of us, or else he is compulsively trying to awaken most of us who are sleeping to the reality that this is no mere nightmare. It seems to me that this endless focusing on the horrific trends he so often, and correctly, points out serves mostly to immobilize people. I would rather see him and others spend more time in constructive efforts such as offering ideas as to how we can prevent these dystopias from happening, how we can move from here to something resembling a utopia, how we can begin to replace the systems of oppression with systems of liberation.