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I think it is in bad collective shape.

On the other hand, I don't mean to imply that dystopian fiction could not be a vehicle for a new mythology.

The problem with fictional dystopias is, it seems to me, the perverse attraction they exert (see my comment above). Since ATinNM mentioned Jacques Ellul, here's something that he put forward:

Jacques Ellul - Wikipédia

l'homme n'est pas du tout passionné par la liberté, comme il le prétend. La liberté n'est pas chez lui un besoin inhérent. Beaucoup plus constants et profonds sont les besoins de sécurité, de conformité, d'adaptation, de bonheur, d'économie des efforts... et il est prêt à sacrifier sa liberté pour satisfaire ces besoins. (...) L'homme a bien plus peur de la liberté authentique qu'il ne la désire.

man is not at all passionate about freedom, as he pretends. Freedom is not an inherent need for him. The needs of security, conformity, adaptation, happiness, and economy of effort are much more constant and profound... and he is ready to sacrifice his freedom to satisfy these needs. (...) Man fears true freedom more than he desires it.

Opposed (in most fictional dystopias) to the comfortable alienation in which humans can live with their basic needs satisfied, but in which freedom is suppressed by totalitarian social organisation, the usual narrative is that of the underground resistance. That doesn't seem to me to be a winning mythology at all. Most people would probably prefer not to have to make the difficult and dangerous decision of fighting for freedom.

So I suppose a fictional dystopia that would offer a new mythology would have to transcend the pattern I describe, both by showing alienation to be miserable, and proposing a new social organisation that could defeat the old one. Then it becomes a fictional utopia...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 1st, 2014 at 12:56:52 PM EST
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