“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” ~ Albert Einstein
First, let me be clear–I have strong faith that our species can survive and thrive, even though we may go through some darker periods. But I have to say that when I began The Seeker series, I didn’t think reality would come so close to the story as it has.
When I first envisioned The Children of Darkness about eight years ago, as it’s standalone precursor, There Comes a Prophet. I tried to take some of the worst of humankind’s tendencies and extrapolate where they might lead.
I never could have envisioned that a scant eight years later, the following would come to pass in parts of the real world:
• History rewritten to support one faction’s version of the truth.Books from other cultures burned. Physical evidence of the past destroyed as a remnant of what they call the period of ignorance and darkness that preceded the arrival of their system of beliefs.
• Rigid enforcement of dress and grooming codes, on pain of horrendous punishments.
• Technology denied to the population. but retained by the ruling class to enforce their rigid dogma, things such as cell phones, social networking and the internet.
• Math and science removed or severely restricted from school curriculums.The distortion of education to remove the very sciences that allowed for the invention of these technologies in the first place.
• Those accused of being apostates (i.e. of believing a different truth) brutally beheaded or stoned.
A dystopia is not merely one faction oppressing another. The term comes from dysfunctional utopia, good intentions gone bad. Dystopias have occurred periodically throughout our history, usually when idealism morphs into absolute, unquestionable truth.
When one group becomes so certain of their beliefs that they feel justified imposing their will on others, when they become so busy shouting that they can no longer listen, they leave us with only one certainty–they are opening the gateway to dystopia.
Let’s keep in mind the reason why we love dystopian fiction–not to endorse the powerful and narrow minded oppressor, but to cheer on the courageous few who oppose them, and strive against all odds to make a better world.