Sunday, November 25, 2007

Things to come

Saw this on Wired News and liked it.

I'm not sure if Blade Runner is more dystopian than A Clockwork Orange, but it's the most interesting graph I've seen in a while. I think with the current "we're-actually-all-living-on-a-dying-planet" thing, dystopias are getting more and more relevant. It's probably worth pointing out that numbers 5, 6 and 8 aren't set in the future at all, proving that, if not more popular, it's at least more fun and interesting to show how the future is going to be terrible.

As Robert Downey Jr. says in A Scanner Darkly (another grim dystopia), "This is a world getting progessively worse - can we not agree on that?" Well, apparently not, if people still believe in a utopian future. My dad once told me that in his more optimistic moods he thinks in the future we'll look back on this period as a dark time when we killed everything unecessarily and did everything wrong. I think the truth is more like we'll look back on this period as a time when we could breath the air outside and we weren't enslaved by robots.

Earth-as-utopia is actually pretty hard to imagine now, unless it's some sort of false utopia where the government keeps the masses under control through a mix of mindless television and consumerism, and apathy is promoted while acting out of step with ordinary society is thoroughly discouraged and suspected. Corporations, meanwhile, have more power than anyone, with gainful independent activities all but destroyed.

...Where do we come on that graph?


Roo said...

*Strokes beard*

Id say between war of the worlds and armageddon, things arnt awesome, but they arnt the bottom of a barrel of faeces (which a bad place to be because who the hell is going to want to scoop us out of the bottom of a barrel of faeces, i should add the barrel is of the size where you can't use a scoop of sorts to get us out, but something would be required to climb in the barrel to get us out, and it would be a lot lot easier to just crack open a new barrel of faeces, which although unpleasant is easier to handle). However a trend towards dystopia is inevitable, unless something really really bad happens to set the slate clean and allow people to try and get their utopia going.

Joel said...

yeah but there's a paradox there.
'wiping the slate clean' implies some form of apocalypse, meaning that the world would then be post-apocalyptic.
and how often do you see a post-apocalyptic uptopia? it's all smoke and desert after that, i'm afraid.

sam said...

your dad sounds like a barrell of laughs.
i wish he was my dad.

Arabella Dream said...


Most depressing blog entry ever.

franzivar said...


Roo said...

Who says it has to be depressing deser captin mad max 3!?! Maybe it will be wonderful with a good 10-25% of humanity still around, AT LEAST!

TheNineDollarBlog said...

first things first!

i see no graph!

second things second!

i think i agree with your dad. things are sloping down a shitty slope now - but there are some promising technologies coming along. like, recently, this guy discovered a way to ignite salt water (it makes quite a bit of heat and leaves the water completely desalinated), and, of course, cold fusion is a few decades around the corner.

cold fusion is something to really look forward to. it will literally solve every problem ever. can't get a date to the prom? cold fusion. your rent's been eaten by a dog? cold fusion. find x? cold fusion!

but yeah, things are going to get worse before they get better. the ice caps will melt and half of the country will be underwater and the other quarter will be permenantly covered in snow.

(and the remaining quarter... you don't even want to know...)