Can You Say Dystopia?

            It was only a few years ago when first heard the word dystopia. It was listed as the world’s number one threat, according to the World Economic Forum. I was not even certain what it meant, although I guessed, correctly as it turns out, that it was the opposite of utopia. So instead of a perfect world filled with happiness and tranquility, dystopia is a dysfunctional world built on anarchy, chaos, unrest and unhappiness.

            The scariest part of this is not that dystopia was the top worry. No, the most frightening part was that my daughter knew exactly what dystopia was. In fact, she likes reading books that are part of a genre increasing in popularity: dystopian books.

            Detective stories, spy thrillers and science fiction seem to be fading into the past. Instead, readers want grim, stark, even depressing views of the future. Oppressive governments, survival struggles and dark battles for freedom call to modern readers. Along those same lines, even zombies lurch across our TV screens in apocalyptic dramas.

            In the not-so-distant past, books about the future painted a much more optimistic view. Space travel, flying cars and an overall quality of life better than the present was depicted.

            I am not convinced that our entertainment proves anything or not about the coming world. However, it is easy to see where these dark, pessimistic ideas come from.

            The news is full of stories about natural disasters, terrorism, fiscal cliffs, government spying on allies and citizens, economic turmoil and ruinous healthcare reform. All of the current topics point directly to fear and uncertainty.

            Throughout history, there have been horrors and challenges. The popularity of dystopian books may have no connection with what the future actually holds. I do know that it is sad that my daughter’s fictional future is filled with oppression, tyranny and defeat, maybe even zombies; rather than great achievements and advancement like space exploration or medical triumphs. People need hope and dreams. And the freedom to pursue those dreams. Without these, we will truly live in a dystopia.

Eric Smith, CPP is the leading authority on organizational self-defense. He has extensive experience in law enforcement as well as security management. Eric is available for staff education and security awareness training as well as business coaching to help organizations provide safe workplaces. To learn more email Eric at businesskarate dot com.



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