Does it seem as if our world is on the brink of dystopia? With countries at war, societies crumbling, and technology advancing at such a rapid pace, some of the events happening today read like a science fiction story. In fact, Philip K. Dick used his Sci-Fi tales as a precursor to what will happen in our future.
I did my thesis on the technology Dick mentioned and how the advances have indeed influenced us today. With social media and everyone plugged into the latest electronic device, humans are lacking in empathy more and more. Dick touches on the same subject in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (later made into the movie Blade Runner), comparing empathy in robots vs. humans. In UBIK, the protagonist is addicted to a machine that gives him the daily gossip. Does it sound familiar to the things that are usually trending on the Internet? People today are more concerned about the lives of others rather than making a change in the world.
I find many poets to be unlike those people. They write because they have the deepest empathy. They are not concerned with the scandals of celebrity, but reach out to save souls and touch lives. If our planet is nearing dystopia, then the main goal should be to use our voice to liberate humanity from its doom. So how do we do that?
Read a few of Dick’s stories and you will realize some of them were a warning to us. Use that same concept. Pick a piece of technology from today and emphasize how it can be harmful to society if not used properly. Play psychologist and write the effects it can have on young children. Take it a few steps further and visualize what life could be like if we lost all the technology we depend on every day.
Poverty is one of the characteristics of a dystopian society. Do some research about the homeless and unemployed; there are way too many people out of touch with the struggles a lot are facing, so use it as an opportunity to inform. Take a moment to talk to someone who is going through hard times, and their story might surprise you. We see them on the streets, in grocery stores, and we pass them by not knowing how they arrived in such a tough situation. We writers have a duty to speak for those who cannot be heard.
Take a hit at the entities attempting to control us: governments, propaganda, and media. The population has become very weak-minded, so easily believing what is fed intravenously to them. Introduce the reader to true facts and statistics. Reveal the wolf in sheep’s clothing attempting to brainwash everyone into the same thinking. Teach how to open the mind. Instead of plaguing people with fear, write to encourage.
With so much evil everywhere, it doesn’t hurt to be more positive and even a little spiritual. We are far from ever being a utopian society but we have to try our best to give others a light at the end of the tunnel in these dystopian times. Write with concern and write it passionately, because the world today is need of hope.
- Fitting, Peter. Futurecop: The Neutralization of Revolt in Blade Runner. Science Fiction Studies , Vol. 14, No. 3. Science Fiction Film:1987. pp. 37.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.
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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders