City Tech, Fall 2016

Live Long and Prosper

Alex Samoylov
With the past works being mainly utopia or dystopia in a short span of time I cannot help but influenced by them. So the idea that I have come with is the theory that a utopia or dystopia cannot exist without the other at the same time. Nothing is flawless, somewhere within a utopian society there is a sacrifice or suffering by a group or groups. In a flawed world like a dystopia, some live better all the rest, they can be seen as a utopian enclave. Light creates shadows but also removes darkness, but darkness is the natural state of things. Trying to make a good society is difficult because people do not all share the same desire, particularly over a larger number or region.
At the same time there is the question of which is better. Now that may seem as a pointless question, obviously it is the good place vs the bad one. However is it really? A utopia in many cases is the end of the road, there is no need to advance once you get there. Why innovate, invent, and search for new things if you are the best possible place. If people have everything they need and it is stable, why ruin that. Now a dystopia is a world filled with bad things, but it is also filled with opportunity. There people may suffer but they will try to get higher than the hole they are in. Often they will fail and even those who do get out will not get far. There are no happy endings because there are no endings. A dystopia stays alive longer and is a failed utopia in many ways.
However with the two being a part of each other and definition of the two being open to interpretation it is difficult to defiantly say what world you are looking at. A good example is the universe of star trek, in which Humanity has come together on earth under one government and set out to explore the stars. On their travels they made friends with different alien races as well as foes, all the while advancing in technology. This technology was used to create better lives across the union made with earth and all races called the Federation, Earth became a paradise with no problems to speak of. People had homes, food, time, art, culture, health and near limitless opportunity that expanded each day as the frontier moved out. So from this information it seems as earth is finally a utopian planet, with no crime, war, poverty, hunger and other problems. However what the other human colonies that are on the frontier, a long way from home and all the resources that is contains. Entire regions of colonized world are living as most people did back in the wild west, limited supply, vast amounts of unworked land, no local peacekeeping forces, bandits who come and go and a want to move away from the federation. Starting to look like a dystopia. Now this is why it is difficult to classify Star trek as one or the other along with all the wars that happened between the Federation with the Klingon Empire, the Romulan star empire and other forces that threaten all life in the universe. Now case by case you can say that the overall the federation is a better place to live vs the Romulan star empire where there the culture of the people is create plots and carry them out to get power or leverage on someone else, all the while being watched by their version of the gestapo. However as a universe it shows all sides with the humans being perfect even with what other may call flaws. Emotions and acting on them is seen as one flaw of humans by the Vulcans, a race that in its past almost destroyed itself and so suppressed all emotion to allow only logic to rule them. The Klingons are a war like race and see the Federation and humans who made it as weak, they have pride and honor and a lust for battle. However their political system is heavily corrupted with a cast system and houses of families that carry out blood feuds that last until one of the other is dead over centuries. Each race was made around once such idea what humans at one point were, it was to show what would happen if we allowed one part of ourselves to become dominate. There was even a race of small troll like people called the Ferengi who were the embodiment of greed and profit, even selling their own family to make money and deals. With all the said, it was always the people who shaped what was good or bad. The Klingons saw war, killing, pride, honor and dying anywhere these things to be great, that they would go to their version of Valhalla as the honored dead. The Ferengi see nothing wrong with making a profit anyway they can, regardless of the laws, consequences, morality and anything else. All they want is to see the gold at the end of the tunnel, they also need to buy their way into their heaven as well. This is a huge difference in peoples, societies, ideology and ways of life between the two, and both dislike the other for who they are. The Klingons are too violent to make long lasting deals with and the Ferengi scheme too much for the liking of the Klingons. And from our perspective they are both too far into one negative attribute of humanity.
There is a similarity between “Star Trek” and “Metropolis” in how they show sin and giving into it. In Star trek each race is an extreme of one part of us as shown with pride and greed and other if you go deeper into it. Metropolis had the 7 deadly sins in the cathedral that came out with the fake Maria when she started to perform. Now in both it is a small part of the whole production but it is there long enough to become a point. The main reason that people have conflicts is because of the7 deadly sins, they lust for power, they envy others, they given into greed and they are full of pride. This is the reason that “Brave New World” states as well, with the removal of inhibitors in society and making everything they want in reach, they remove this problems. There is still lust but it can be fulfilled, there is pride is ones work but it does not lead to conflict because the others around you are the same. There is no greed because they have everything they need or are thought to believe that they do, the same applies for envy. Brave New World has everything in balance, there is no more war, conflict, problems and everyone is happy. Yet it is a dystopian world, why? Because we would not want to be there, because it is alien to us. It is in so many ways what many would describe as utopian, people had perfect health, they want for nothing, there is peace, there is order, yet the cost is too high for us. Freedom is lost, art is removed, culture is twisted to suit the state, and the church is of the state. Everything is made to serve the greater good of the state with the top echelon living well and endowed. This leads to “The Machine Stops” with the machine serving the people and the people treating it like a creation of god or a god itself, another world with peace, order and all needs met. However once more the people are not free, they live in small cells, avoid people, talk through technology and do not grow. They do not like new ideas left alone, they believe that the more people that filter it the better, that emotions and feelings of the first person who said it color it wrong. In the end their world falls into pieces and most parish, all because they became like sheep, waiting to be taken care off. That seems to be one of the key points of dystopias, that people in our do not wish to treated like livestock and have their freedoms taken from them as seen in “The Machine Stops” and “Brave New World” and to an extant the workers of “Metropolis”.
That is what I want to look at, in the works we have read, others and in the real world, how much utopia is in a dystopia and the other way around. One can become the other because all of the elements are there, in a perfect world there will some born into it who will wish for change and create it. However in a society that has lost the ability to accept a new vision of perfect, there will be conflict that can lead to the downfall of both new and old. What will remain will be a flawed version of on or the other or both. The other case is in a dystopia, there will always be dreamers. This people will wish for a better world and pass on their wish to the next generation and in time enough people will wish for that they will take action and rise above what the world has given them.
That is the main part of utopia or dystopia worlds, the people. People make things possible or impossible all by themselves. They can make the world a good place or one worse then hell, they create their own heroes and villains, they decide what is right and wrong. So if you wish for your vision to be made you need to control or influence them, now the way that is done is what will create a utopia or dystopia. Through fear, power and propaganda it will be a dystopia in the eyes of the people, but if you win their hearts, minds and do great acts for the people then it is a utopia. As long as no one realizes the truth, you can run the entire world from behind a mask, thought others and get to what you want all without the people ever turning on you.
History has many examples of this such as the USSR, Nazi Germany, China, North Korea and other nations where the people believe they have all they need or want. Nations filled with people who believe in their leaders, they have been thought to thank them for everything they have. As well as nations whose people believe they have a say in what is done and what is the greater good. Everyone who is not a part of the masses is seen as an outsider, crazy, wrong, antisocial, a bad influence, a dissident, a traitor. What if these people are the only ones who see the world for what it is or is not? Or are they truly just lost to what others have found.
The idea behind what is a utopia or dystopia is something that is not clear as show above. The people decide what it is in both the real world and the fictional one as well. There would be no conflict or struggle if the people of a dystopia accepted their world and lived it, as it was done in “Brave New World”. Otherwise they would the same problem they had in “Metropolis” with the workers revolt. So at what point do people say something is no longer pure good or pure bad, when does the greater good fall under personal wants, needs and freedoms. When does the freedoms, needs, and wants of people fall beneath the greater good. More to the point what is the greater good? Should the greater good not only benefit the whole but the people within as well? For instance surveillance of people is an invasion of privacy however it can remove dangerous elements from society before they have time to cause harm. Also not everyone is under surveillance so why should people care if someone is, if it’s not them then they do not care. Yet the more they allow the right of any individuals the more they lose their own rights that are equal to other individual. Unless they believe they are not equal to them for whatever reason. Now we deal with classes, stature, connections, and other things that make people stand above or below others in life.
There are no absolutes in life, everything is grey until it is judged by someone or something. Killing is wrong, unless it is for a good cause as stated by a nation, organization, religion, king, money or another reason. A war is just as stated by a nation, it is for a cause, a reason above a personal one. It is not murder, it is killing under orders so it is not illegal and it has to follow rules. Anything can be written as good or bad for the right reason based on perspective and who wins. History is filled with wars that were bloody and started because of greed, yet few are written as such. Everything is written by people for people, there is no impartial party involved. Due to this everything is based on that persons beliefs, views, feelings, life, experience and the time. The idea of utopia or dystopia was made by people, to describe something that cannot happen and yet could. That is the tricky part, many people say utopia is impossible because it calls for too many things to be perfect but it is the opposite with dystopia. A dystopia is very much so achievable and it can keep get worse. As with most things it is difficult to make something good but requires no effort to make nothing. Now what is bad with nothing? Well nothing means that no work is being is done, with no work done on something then something else will fail unless it can made by someone less, however if more people start doing nothing then it falls apart. As said before people run everything, without people currently nothing will be done. Even if it is to push a button to make something work, a person is still needed to start it. Until androids are made that role is on humanity. And in theory the only thing stopping people from having a utopia is other people and themselves.
People – the ultimate riddle of the universe, one that they search for an eternity.
Main points that I want to cover
What is a utopia and dystopia?
How utopia or dystopia are intertwined
How people define them and how people are defined by them
Why they exist as an idea
What they show about society over the years thought media
How the idea has evolved
What is there to learn from utopia or dystopia?
How close are we to utopia or dystopia?
How it can be used to teach about the past and the current world.
Works Cited page
Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World ; And, Brave New World Revisited. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Print.
Smith, Wayland. The Machine Stops. London: Robert Hale, 1936. Print.
Metropolis. Dir. Fritz Lang. By Thea Von Harbou, Giorgio Moroder, and Giorgio Moroder. Prod. Giorgio Moroder. Perf. Gustav Fröhlich and Brigitte Helm. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Memory Alpha.” Memory Alpha | Fandom Powered by Wikia. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2016. (Star Trek)
Roddenberry, Gene. Star Trek. 1996. Television.
Reflection
I tried to incorporate all feedback into the revision by adding details while not removing too much from what was at the start due to the ideas attached to them. Additional revision is needed based on the new feedback to come and by that time should be good to go. However when I say detail, I mean I went crazy and added 2 pages worth of text that may or may make things more clear. At the very lest it is a good starting point to fix for the upcoming essay or assignment. Or it will make no sense because it all only works in my mind where it is all held together by what I do not know. Because that is still my problem, getting my idea out there in a manner that other people who do think the same way I do can understand it. Over all the first draft of the proposal was well accepted and was on point, something that will be lost in this version I am sure. So following the set up I had this time I added some research, and by that I mean I explained a whole part of Star trek lore and how it works in some parts with other works we have read or seen. It was at that point that I saw more similarities between them and the concept of utopia and dystopia. All of them deal with people, societies, right and wrong, sins, control, and freedom. Star trek is something I that I have watched, read and loved many times over due to the depth it has to its self, it never felt old, it always had something more to add the next time you re-watch it. I watched the same series of Star trek Deep Space 9 3 times and each time at a different age and therefore time. In each case I found something else with the show, why the cast someone, why they added this episode, what message they tried to carry over and all the while it was enjoyable. At each age I learned something different, when younger I wondered about the technology, liked the characters and was inspired by it. Later I came back and saw that many things they showed were out of reach of our own technology, but the characters became more this time. They had more meaning behind their actions, mannerisms, what they did and why. Everything was more real when I got to the point to understand it better in terms of our own world. Star Trek as I once said is a great measuring device of the real world based who is cast, what is shown, when this all happened and the feeling of the show. The best part is the continuity of it all, all most everything lines up perfectly. And I said that because not everything is always perfect, in some cases entire scenes have problems in keeping people believing in what is shown. But the best thing about Star Trek right is the fact that I lines up perfectly with the idea of a utopia or dystopia cannot exist without the other at the same time, as seen in the conflict between the attributes of each race.

1 Comment

  1. Sky Captaina - Alex S

    The main point i wish to go after is what is a past what we have already learned about with a focus on the idea that they are linked to one another. That even in a utopia there are elements of a dystonia within and the other way around. That it is perspective of the people that defines how much is in the other. That is the other question, are perceived utopias and dystonia by individuals true to the what really are utopias and dystopias. As well has the growth of the idea over time and how it reflects the changes in society. How media has captured this over the years and expanded the idea.

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