Utopia and dystopia

I am sure you know what utopia and dystopia are. Generally speaking, utopia is about the best life system and dystopia is about the worst one. A classical example of utopia can be that written by Thomas Moor and a typical dystopia can be presented by Ninety Eighty-Four written by George Orwell. Some time ago I was interested in such works and I have read some novels, so I could pick up main characteristics of an ideal and un-ideal world.

So, in an utopia people generally live in accordance with nature — as in Men Like Gods written by Herbert George Wells, where happy population of a parallel universe exist with full acceptance of their human entity — for example, they wear almost nothing because nudity is just natural thing.

Utopian people also have some strict rules or religion which serves their development. I liked very much a conception of an individual mutualism described by Harry Harrison in his fantasy fiction The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted. As the author says: “A basic tenet of IM is from each according to his needs, to each according to the wealth of society”. It sounds like communistic slogan, but it works if everybody is intelligent and sympathetic.

Another question is money. There were no money in all utopian fiction I have read. In that book about Steel Rat people use wirrs — work hours. They say: the wealthier society is becoming, the less people should work, so the more the wirr costs and the wealth of society is growing, people work less and so on.

Talking about dystopia, the total control is the main thing. Government wants to know even what you think. Another characteristic feature is intentional lowering of cultural level, as in well-known Fahrenheit 451, where books were burnt down. Also very often natural aspects are blamed, as in the film Equilibrium, where emotions were forbidden. People must follow very strict rules and mainly there is any kind of revolution in a dystopian fiction.

Nevertheless, sometimes utopia and dystopia is mixed up, as in modern teenager novel The Giver written by Louis Lawry. We see a typical dystopian world where everything is regulated, people have to suppress their sexual attraction, old members and unnecessary kids are killed by lethal injection and so on. But in the same time:

  • everybody respects everybody,
  • they are happy,
  • every member gets a job according to his interests and children start to learn their job at the age of 12,
  • children are given only in families which want this; they are being brought up with all possible attention and respect,
  • couples are formed up according to their personal qualities, they are in very good relationship even without having sex,
  • there are no serious crimes, everybody has everything he needs,
  • euthanasia is humanitarian and the day of death is a big holiday for old people: they remember the best moments of a life of a hero of the day, thank him for his life and are truly glad for him (he is authentically happy). I strongly believe it’s much better than crying and lamentation traditional in our society.
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