Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ramblings: Of utopia and dystopia and other random thoughts

In addition to reading a lot of poetry lately, I've also been craving a lot of end-of-the-world, beginning of the next world, paradise is not quite paradise, dystopian-style stories. Utopian thoughts are all cool and everything, but I have a lot of trouble imagining the perfect society where everyone and everything follows some kind of unwritten rules of perfection. Can we really believe that one day every single human who is on this planet will decide to treat everyone else as equals, never hurt anyone else, and never lie, cheat or try to better themselves by oppressing others? No. This is why this is called Utopia. Perfection doesn't exist. We are all flawed and will continue to be flawed. I can live my life treating everyone in the way I would want to be treated myself, but that doesn't mean that everyone else is going to decide to do the same. All of a sudden just because the world as we know it is going to end.
There has been talk of the end of the world coming soon for years now. We missed it in 1999. Last year the Rapture was supposed to happen. It may have, but it went by unnoticed because I suppose that most of us were not worthy of being raptured. Now the end of the world is supposed to be happening again this year. People are really preparing for it (I kid you not, I know someone who is collecting tins of food and making evacuation and survival plans for him and his family). All I could imagine when he was telling me this were scenes from Zombieland. He also told me that I was pretty much fucked because I lived on an island with 8 million other people and it would be pure chaos when it all started. I don't know what "IT all" is in his mind but I'm not getting too overly worried about it right now. All I have been thinking about in terms of survival mode is that I should probably start stocking up on bottles of Jameson and packets of Marlboro Lights, because I am sure they will be worth tons of money once people can't get them easily anymore. That's it, I shall continue to sell liquor to people to make a living in the midst of a world of destruction and despair. Smart, no?

So, this book I am currently reading, America Pacifica by Anna North, is based on the idea that the world was going through the second Ice Age, and that a small group of people (small being proportionate to the size of the world population at the time) were able to escape the ice and the perpetual freezing temperatures by fleeing to an island in the Pacific, and making a new home there. What should have been a new life for this group of people becomes a mini-replica of the US, governed by a dictator. There are those who live as rich and healthy in the nice areas of the island, called Manhattanville, while others struggle to survive in the slums of Little Los Angeles. Proper food is scarce for those who cannot afford it, and they live off fake cheese and jelly fish products. The main character, Darcy, was born on the island, and knows nothing of life beforehand. For her, this is life. But through-out the development of the plot she starts to discover what life was really like before the ice destroyed everything, and she begins to question the set-up of the society that she has always taken for granted. I haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know if it ends in a lighter note than it started in. We will see.

This society could be anywhere really - it's not too far-fetched if you think about it. There will always be those who just live, accepting that this is life, others who will question, and those who will actually stand up and try to make a change. There will always be those who are more well off, and those who have to fight every day to just survive. I just find it really interesting to read fiction that is so near to reality that it could be real. One day in the near future this may be us, stuck on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, wondering if all those people we used to know made it off the mainland, or managed to survive despite all odds. I really want to write an end of the worldesque story right now, but I don't actually know where to start. Maybe with the stockpiling of Jameson and Marlboro Lights...

On a more lighter (and happier note), I finished a compilation of poems written between the early 2000's and last week. If you want to read them you will have to ask me and I will email them. I can't post them on here, they are just too personal and raw. And I lack the confidence to do that. I also got offered a new job, working right next door to my other job. It's pretty much perfect and I'm really really happy about it. More about all that when I have actually started working there. I also bumped into an old friend who I hadn't spoken to in months, sorted out our differences and realised how much I had missed her. This has been a pretty wonderful summer so far, even if the end of the world is (apparently) nigh.

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