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Dystopia narratives are the romanticised versions of "inevitable doom", and they are perversely attractive. If I'm one of the atomised masses and I have no power, I also have no responsibility, no anguished choices to make, and I can get on hollowing out the comfortable corners of my alienated cubicle, just doing enough to ensure a sufficient supply of vaguely satisfying artificial chow and of vaguely titillating vidscreen content. Why on earth some busybodies have to organize an underground on the Resistance model beats me. They want to live in hell or what?

But isn't the Resistance model the only collective mythology in a dystopia? And isn't it bound to fail? (Hint: Resistance movements in Nazi-occupied countries in WWII did not defeat Nazi Germany).

As for the non-fantasy version, "inevitable doom", collective action might take the form of me and my family teaming up with a few more families to go and kick the shit out of the families that are sitting on a pile of food. A good old tribal mythology, with warrior heroes thrown in.

The more people fear the slide towards either of these forms of bad future, the more atomised they become. Which is why we don't just need a new mythology, we need it fast.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 31st, 2013 at 09:57:28 AM EST
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