Monday, 6 April 2015

Escapism or Fiction

Today some of the affluent people are ready to adopt a poor man's attitude. They're ready to dress and act like one; think and swear like one as long as they have a face they can safely present to the public. Still, to say that there is no inequality in society is to deviate from the truth one hundred and eighty degrees. Concentrated wealth has pushed scientific progress, investing large amounts of money into it. One should always remember, though, that the best science has to offer has come from people with pure love for knowledge. People who were ready to think outside the boundaries of nation, religion and regardless of the tribulations of their current times were fully devoting to their work and passion. The greatest strength of the genius had always been humility.

Perhaps there is a lot of aggression suspended in today's, so called, fifty lower percent(most of us here). There is this constant push towards measures of equality in the space of spirituality and religion, and how we should address the exploited, unemployed and employed alike. In reality - generally people who are not quite at the bottom to be frank. The worlds GDP divided by the total population equals about 800 euros a month income per capita. Just think what kind of life you would have to lead if you had about 800 euros a month living wage. Perhaps it would be a perfect more-to-the-left on the political scale setting where prices are regulated, rent and mortgage are perfectly fitted towards the world's fiscal policy, but to even mention these things in that order is to begin writing speculative fiction that is heavy on the romantics side. Observing an affluent family I've had the opportunity of being a guest to, I can say that wealth can also be enriching to society. Not just to the individuals that benefit materially from it. Wealth can also be an agent of cultural enrichment that is not necessarily confined in small pockets and isolated from the public. For instance the house of that family is constantly open to accommodate their guests(myself not necessarily included!); children's classes, workshops, debates and dialectics, gatherings for discussions over tea and large banquets have been held there, providing an experience that is more on the intellectual side of things, rather than the hedonistic. Before somebody points a gun at me I need to say that I am well aware of the obscene differences in income in the world and am in no wise a defender of the abided enrichment of some of the very few privileged individuals out there. Corporate policy of buying freedoms and preferential treatment from governments is one of today's biggest obstacles to progress. And not only progress in terms of money, but intellectual progress as well. Let us just remember that during the Renaissance in Europe intellectuality was a mass phenomenon with people willing to discuss science, poetry, music, art and share their writings and indulge in each other's creative attempts. Life was still hard, but a there was a rash difference between the Dark Ages and Enlightenment.

But the fact that a rich man might be mistreated only because of the amount of money he possesses is also an inequality in a sense. To cut somebody from a group is to propel that somebody in search for social inclusion. Or in simple words: if a rich man is treated badly because of his affluence, then he will necessarily seek the company of other people that will share his status. And that does not bold well for the general society. A good majority of affluent people have worked hard for their status and have often times borrowed sums for education; to start businesses and so on. They are knowledgeable, classy and pragmatic. They have an enriched culture. I am not discussing morality here. In a perfect setting every rich man will have adopted the approach of that family I mentioned earlier. Sharing their house for children's classes, feasts and whatnot. That helps to alleviate so much of the sensation of difference. And it helps to define what one wants of life.

Really? Yeah really!

As often is the case with Hegel's philosophy, or the doctrines of the eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism or Dzen-Buddhism the negative in the world is needed to define the positive. They're really one. Or in different words - the positive cannot exist without the negative. Or the negative helps to outline the positive. In classical Greek drama the Good is having about two thirds of the total time on stage, while the evil has about one third. And quite often evil is transformed at the end. The negative flows into positive. One necessarily wonders - Why all the suffering, then? Not being completely ignorant of the lowly conditions of a significant number of human beings out there, I would like to point out there is a large amount of people self-inflicting sadness upon themselves, none the less. People with resources choosing to devote their mental bandwidth with plethora of possible ideas, not necessarily contributing to some betterment of society. Religion is one such thing. In the, what may appear as slightly dogmatic, doctrine of Baha'u'llah, there is a specific period ascribed to his dispensation on Earth. Just knowing about that eradicates any fundamentalist inclinations from every devout follower of that Faith. Just think about how many religious conflicts have been started with the excuse that a certain prophet had been final, complete;an agent of absolution! So in this case the negative can be described as the necessary ending of the dispensation(that much needed force of destruction) and the positive in the coming of the next prophet plus the absence of fundamentalist inclinations. Two thirds plus one third. Not a bad deal, one might say.

Relative to science fiction? Why not?!

There is an utopian and dystopian approach to writing some of the piecies. With the utopian being some kind of world where there no longer is the need for money(Yes I would love to live there). Some kind of a social heaven, where everything is taken care of by humane science, space travel is equalled to taking a cab and teleportation is possible. And the dystopian being the post modern society, controlled by corporations, oppressed without even realising it and AI taking over, casually dropping anti-matter warheads with mathematical precision. OK these are just two general and very quirky examples, but regardless, the general frame is there. Are any of these likely if the future is rooted in the world of today? I think neither. In fact it is more likely that inequalities will be carried in the future and science itself will not be crucial to alleviating the curse of class segmentation. Morality is the one and only integral to just society. It is perhaps time to say that differences in income do not necessarily have to breed inequality or social tension. Remember that wealth has played it's part in progress. Prosperity, though, should not be attributed only to or identified solely with wealth. It is only when carried to an excess that differences in income, transforms into inequality and continuing down the road through class segmentation, end into oppression. In a way, difference in income contributes to turbulence and progress; lack of extremes and excessed constitute justice and strong moral social foundation. Looking at today's world that might already be a fictional society.

Anyone remember Far-Scape?

Not very scientific, but regardless, the romanticism of it all was the thing that kept it going. A lost human being hurled to the far corners of the universe(or galaxy). Reuniting himself with alien humanoid species on a ship of their own. Speaking common language; having common sensations; feeling for themselves communally. They have differences, but by overcoming them they build a motley crew, who never the less is sticking together and even end up falling in love with each other. Even without having any special abilities and the ETs necessarily being more developed, our human protagonist is accepted for who he is and the adventure continues as they don't submit to any particular existing form of governance but rather seek their own way, overcoming multiple villainous schemes. Some of the characters and situations are quite cliché, but it ended breeding a lot of attention from the public. People loved it. But I wonder: what if the story was about a pirate ship on Earth. During the fifteenth century sailing the seas and picking up different races of humans and overcoming various difficulties, building a strong team and so on. Would then that series have been so popular? Is the lacking scientific explanation and sudden change of scenery to a world so far away, so necessary to produce strong romantic feelings in the audience? Or is it the freedom given to the characters? I think, subtly, most of us dream of a better world out there. But regardless, in science fiction, the science should never be omitted. Social transformation and change are difficult to simulate or predict, but it's much sought after by the public. It is easy to dream after a world where everything is taken care of, but it is hard to imagine how the English language would have evolved in a century, for instance. Both are cases of science fiction. But one is generally much more easy to fall towards to. Star Wars is, they say, highly unlikely. But there is something in the richness of the characters and the adventure in the throughout the universe that keeps people coming back for more. The evil alien leader appears here and there, sending his blood thirsty throngs to fight humanity, but it is much more rare to see an actual dissection of an alien body done in seeking understanding of this new encounter. The second one is more likely and harder to imagine.

Society with diversity but without excessive inequalities calls for imagining morality on a global level that is attributable to the wider public. But how, then, would the villain look and behave? What would be the drive behind the story? Would there be a need of a villain? Remember that the negative is necessarily needed to be connected with suffering and pain. Would it be recognized by the public, if there was no particular 'bad' character in a piece of SciFi, necessarily opposing the protagonist; or our team of do-gooders being able to exist outside of an organized social system. The classical approach is put on your mask and fight evil around every corner. It could also be that in science fiction it will be scientific to describe society that is guilty of it's own suffering, through lack of understanding and inclusion and the fiction part is handled by the attempts done by the society to include stronger moral foundation. Science will only be able to help, but it will be morality that will have the final say.