‘From Within and Without’ a World of Utopia Essay
An imagination of a world of utopia is one thing, amongst others that has always intrigued and struck me. This is because in such a world of imagination, I feel more realistic and scary, with all manner of ideas which encompass my thoughts. Such dystopian thoughts made the writing of the narrative “from within and without” inescapable, especially when almost all scenes seem intriguing, sometimes horrible.
My imagination of recent trends in globalization acted as an impetus towards writing the dystopian narrative. Being an ardent reader of dystopian narratives, I discovered in the course of research that though the turn of dystopian narratives had already been detected from previous decades of nineteenth century, the nature of dystopian world building has been changing (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13).
This has been attributed to varying changes in terms of politics, society and ideology (Desmet 20). In this regard, the almost Marxist twist which I employed in the narrative depicts the dystopian world in line with the Marxist critical assessment of capitalism that points out the ever decreasing “unlimited faith in the power of science” (Desmet 16). This was evident in the following extract from the narrative ‘from within and without’.
“…, this showed images and reflections of everything and everyone. These images were multiplied and reduced ad infinitum to make the intruders uneasy and oppressed when they learnt that the least of their gestures was being monitored. The design was unique as movement or sound echoed were projected from room to room and then to the ultimate professor’s room and surveillance station.
The professor was a man of highly sophisticated pleasures and not even the well versed prostitutes he employed for a couple of weeks knew the room where he slept. The soldiers on the ground floor had small non-obtrusive black boxes which were pager-size and strapped to their ankles.
Similar units were held dangling on their belts. These were tracking devices which transmitted the location and broadcasted the whereabouts of the wearer to a monitoring and surveillance center through GPS. Snipping off the rubber band on the device or vigorous movement would trigger an alarm….” (Page 3 of the narrative)
The Marxist twist is apparent in the way the lifestyle of the professor is criticized in terms of the lifestyle he leads. In a society that is almost capitalist in nature and laden with all manner of technology, the Professor still ends up being murdered ingeniously.
My research led me to appreciate the role of technological advancements that “knowledge accumulation leads to a better world socially and morally” (Desmet 7). This revelation was also compounded with the Platonian view I researched which revealed that though globalization has enhanced societal advancement, the resulting scientific and technological advancements have the potential to effectuate mammoth social changes e.g. that pursued by the assassin in the dystopian narrative.
This knowledge helped me to build the dystopian world in the narrative by differentiating the renaissance period and finally the current world. This was in line with the Platonian thinking which showed how scientific advancement could be achieved through understanding of the role of nature from a theoretical point of view (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13).
Therefore, my knowledge of scientific advances over time triggered a paradoxical thought on the future effects of scientific and technological output, especially regarding the manner in which they will be consumed (Kerby par. 1-13). Thinking along this line, I was able to capture effectively the use of advanced technology in the security apparatus of the narrative. This enables the reader to have great optimism regarding the security of Professor Smith.
In a twist of dystopia however, this appears not to be the case as Professor Smith is murdered in cold blood, amidst tight security (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13).
Thus the technological fiction I created in the narrative helped to support the dystopian thought that “technology is not only beyond the control of society but man is still largely unconscious of the profound revolution that he is bringing about” (Desmet 10). Thus the rising tensions on the pros and cons of adopting scientific technology helped me to shape the plot of the narrative e.g. where the assassin penetrates security even amidst impregnable security apparatus (Desmet 7-30).
Therefore, the knowledge gained, especially emergence of enormous variations in dystopian fiction played a great role for me to build the dystopian world in which the characters in the narrative live (Desmet 7-30). Through research, I was able to appreciate the fact that dystopian narratives depict criticism of the socio-political realities of the age and day when they were written (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13).
In line with this finding, the narrative ‘from within and without’ vividly depicted the effects of recent trends in globalization, such as state capitalism, the global economy and presence of conflicting interests and ideology (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13). This has been achieved by partial criticism of utopian constructions which disregard depressing realities of the world (Desmet 7-30).
As such, this enabled me to imagine a futuristic world laden with technology and where oppressive control of society and its perfect nature is maintained by characteristic technological control of dystopia (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13). For instance, the kind of control depicted in the narrative is moral, technological and almost totalitarian.
The technological dystopian control depicts the narrative as having dystopian character where societal control mechanisms seem to be dictatorial. In addition, the illusion of a perfect society is achieved and maintained through a dystopian-technological control (Desmet 7-30).
Other characteristics depicted in the dystopian narrative include use of propaganda e.g. by military to exercise societal control, control of information, autonomy and self-governing thought and innate environment comprising citizens is mistrusted (Desmet 7-30). For instance, the assassin is depicted as a dystopian protagonist with features such as feelings of enslavement, great effort for autonomy and disappointment with nations and socio-political systems (Desmet 7-30).
This enabled me to capture the assassin as one character who puts across the mood that something is amiss in the society he lives and therefore pursues a liberating mission through terrorism. In this regard, he assists the audience to recognize the negative aspects of a world that is built on dystopia (Kerby par. 1-13).
Amidst the hostility in the dystopian world I built in the narrative, the assassin pursues recoil, flight and compensatory hope which makes him achieve his mission (Desmet 7-30; Kerby par. 1-13). Thus he holds up a critical mirror which exposes the negative characteristics and effects and his feelings (highlighted towards the end of the narrative) (Desmet 13). This acts as a necessary precursor towards his pursuance of alternative options e.g. terrorism (Kerby par. 1-13).
The knowledge acquired through research also enabled me to apply successfully the concept of Darwinian evolution to technological entities instead of biological ones by introducing the dystopian perception that rising trends in technology could be perilous to the human race.
This is also in line with Desmet and Kerby who perceived technology as being increasingly being adopted in the 19th century leading to contradictory perceptions of the dangers alongside benefits of adoption of technology (Desmet 7-30).
‘From within and without’ is a satirical dystopian narrative which depicts superficial utopia, at the same time projecting shortcomings of a broken society. Any reader will be technically hard-pressed to say that the kind of world is centered on a gimmick acquired through proper building of dystopia. The kind of security system described in the narrative gives the notion that there is literally no place to hide and no where you will not be watched (Desmet 7-30).
Desmet, Fran. Perspectives on Dystopian Narratives. South Melbourne: Thomson Learning Press, 2010. Print.
Kerby, Anderson. n.d. Terrorism in North America. n.d. Web.
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