Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Political Spectrum

Politics is an important subject for any dystopian novel. In most dystopian literature, there is a repressed group, and their repression is usually due to a political arrangement that has left them on the outskirts of society. This can be for a number of reasons, in the novel I'm working on, it is because of the "division of labour" issue found in a lot of societies where basically resources are found in one area, and not another, so that area gets developed, those ethnic groups prosper, and the ones on the non-resource rich land suffer. It's a reality that is everywhere, and it’s very real.

I have a degree in Politics. It’s something I got interested in during my backpacking around Asia and seeing a lot of depressing shit, i.e. starving children, bodies, especially in parts of India & Nepal. Seeing these things angered me, and made me want to find the source of the problem, thus, politics.

But what actually is politics? I believe to write great dystopian fiction, we as writers, must have a firm grasp on its definition and its expressions. Then we can work it into our stories, and use the knowledge of the concept to our advantage.

Politics is part of human nature, and is essential to any collective grouping. When a collective group decides they are a group, i.e. a nation (a topic to also be discussed at a later day because it’s very important, and I believe awesome to know), then they must designate a central power source so that they can feel safe. By limiting the power of the individual, the individual feels safe because they know that there is an outside source keeping watch. This is why repressive Kings in the olden days were a valid means of government. They kept everyone obeying, which kept everyone safe, not a bad deal.

But as technologies grew, and the industrial age came out (especially with the printing press) suddenly, mass messages could be sent large distances, and communicated to many people, so a more complicated approach of dealing with the collective had to be established. That's how all the forms of different politics you see today have been formed.

Now I believe that politics’ essential purpose in human nature, is to help monitor conflict. Within every purpose of government is this ideal. This is why the search for Utopian societies always fails, because conflict is part of human nature. There will never be a situation where conflict is absent! This is why politics is what it is. Even democracy isn't perfect, but it’s the best we got (Democracies illusions will be discussed at a later date, and no, I'm not a communist.)

By understanding politics on a conceptual level, by understanding why it exists and its function in human nature, we can write better dystopian fiction. We can create more complex and realistic worlds. When you understand the abstract concepts, you can play with them in your worlds.

Politics is going to be a topic discussed a lot on this blog, and I hope to give it a firm conceptual meaning and discuss it at length so that as a dystopian writer, it can be expressed poetically in fiction.

That’s it for now

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1 comment:

  1. I used the last decade of political events (torture, secret prisons, Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, etc) as an inspiration for my dystopian thriller Against Nature. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.....