Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dystopian visions

Yesterday in the comments, Billy Carmichael wrote:
In line with your observation, it also seems to be that our images of the future tend no longer to be utopian (like Star Trek Next Generation), but rather dystopian and apocalyptic (and brutally so). 
A few years ago one of the British academic publishers, probably Oxford,  cranked out a collection of love stories. The editor of the collection was interviewed on the CBC. After observing that the stories were really break up stories rather than love stories, the interviewer asked him why. The editor's answer was that, "For me, that is what love is." Those aren't his exact words but my recreation of the memory.

That outlook tells you a lot about the serious literary world these days. There are no happy stories anymore. There are also no tragic stories. There are absurd stories and sad stories. Them's your cherces folks.

Which isn't surprising really as absurd or sad are also your only choices in a universe without God, which is the universe a lot of very intelligent people choose to live in.

The other factor at work is old age. Somewhere in your forties, the inevitability of decline and death really starts to sink in. It changes the way you look at the world. If you've been coasting by ona  dilettantish sort of nihilism, it really hits home.

At some point you have to let go of the world. Your possessions, your loves, your political hopes and fears and leave the world and everything you owned in it or even just cared about to others and then die. For the very intelligent people of our time, that is going to be a bloody awful thing to face and they know it. Thus the dystopian visions. It's the final distraction.

We should pray for them.

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