“It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.” – Frank Zappa
I’m reading READY PLAYER ONE – a fun book, but a dystopian novel where nostalgia saves the world – and it clearly shows how sniffing our own farts can doom us to the self-fulfilling prophecy of dystopia.
I agree with David Brin, that this sense of inevitable doom expressed in our pop culture is a bad thing. It was an expression of Cold War dread, when nukes were aimed at us as we slept in our beds; but it continued long after, and now it seems more attuned to environmental catastrophe. Haunted by the short-sightedness of fossil fuel billionaires and the horror dreams of evangelical doomsday cultists who think Armageddon will bring on their eternal Reich in the afterlife, we feel there is no other future except the blasted wastelands imagined by popular culture in the ’70s and onward.
Working together has been made to seem so difficult that we’d rather give up, prep for doomsday, and assume we’ll be one of the blessed few left fighting for ever-dwindling resources on a planet we sucked dry and tossed aside like an empty bag of Capri Sun.
Dystopian tales also distract us from the fact that we’re living in one. “At least we’re not in the Hunger Games.” No, I’d hate to have to send someone to the capital to fight for resources, for example, when my state is flooded or pummeled by a hurricane…