Sunday, September 13, 2015

On Living in a Dystopia

Let's posit a binary, based on the assumed Blue State/Red State divide. Let's just describe the general outline of each belief system. I am describing "extreme" positions, in as much as they lie on what we would think of as the far end in an online "Where do you stand on each political position" test. 
Blue State: You are a vegan because you believe eating animals is the moral or near moral equivalent of eating humans. You believe our prison system includes torture chambers in the form of solitary confinement quarters. You believe that global warming is real and that it will have catastrophic effects on our economy, that it will leave some of our biggest population and economic centers uninhabitable, and that it will foster a possible third world war on a scale far greater than the previous one. You believe the leading candidate of the party you don't support is a raging George Wallace-level bigot, a moral idiot, a buffoon and a narcissistic hedonist.
Red State: You believe that abortion is the equivalent or near-equivalent of infanticide. You believe that evolution is not true, nor global warming. You believe the current president is a foreigner and a practitioner of a religion analogous to devil worship. You believe the vast majority of illegal immigrants carry diseases and are more likely to commit crimes on our soil.
If you are a Blue State person, you live in a world where most of the people you know are cannibals. You believe most policemen you meet are agents of a vicious, brutal gestapo-like system. You believe we are headed towards a near-Biblical environmental armageddon. You believe the country could possibly be led by a man with the political intelligence of Emperor Nero. 
If you are a Red State person, you live in a world surrounded by death camps. You live in a world in which our universities are populated by conspiracists bent on employing all the powers of their intelligence to upend our way of life. You believe the president is a foreign usurper to the throne. You believe 5 percent of the country's population poses an existential threat.
Most of us hold at least one of these "extreme" beliefs in either the first or second categories. I won't tell you which beliefs I follow, other than they all lie in the first category. What I am trying to say is that quite a few of us believe we live in either a science-fiction of fantasy-novel dystopia. And yet, most of us don't act in any way to suggest we believe in our own or our society's mortality. Does our belief in the horrors of this world simply occupy a nether region of our brain that we teach ourselves not to indulge? Is our denial of the ramifications of such core beliefs the key to our survival?

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