Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The optimistic future

In recent synchronicity, I find I am not the only one recently watching older science fiction films and I am not the only one looking for hope in the future:

In some of the conversation about the second article, the necessity and usefulness of hope was questioned a little ("evidence of an immature mind", in one tweet), which led me to feel that my own writings might be hopelessly naive and juvenile.

I'm still going to finish this sequence.

There are two things that make me hopeful for the future of the Citadel in Fury Road. They are both radical in their own right. First, they decide to repair the place that they have, and make it a good home, rather than keep running to find something new. People of Earth, this is our best option. Take note.

Also, I think they have a chance because of the example brought to them by the Vuvulini. Small things show them to be a caring and cooperative society, like the way they greet Furiosa, and the bike for Max whether he accompanies them or not. Beyond that, when the escaped brides are fighting off Nux they are also attempting to educate him and acknowledging his own lack of choice. I don't know if they got that from Furiosa, or it came naturally to them, but here are women who choose to uplift instead of put down. They want freedom for themselves, but they have not defined that as sovereignty over others. If they can impart that to the others, this can work.

Science fiction is not my primary interest - for viewing or reading - but I do know of at least one property that imagines a non-dystopian future: Star Trek.

(One bit of parenthetical pedantry: I think Star Wars belongs in the realm of fantasy. Even the opening lines - "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" - make it sound like a fairy tale. It may have been trying to get there with the late addition of midichlorians, but the presence of space ships does not make it science fiction.)

I would not have thought about the optimism of Star Trek on my own. That came from Paul Krugman, though he was largely influenced by Manu Saadia, the author of Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek.

The part that was most fascinating to me was the parallel drawn between Star Trek's creation and The Great Society. In a culture that (however flawed) was actively working on strengthening civil rights and eliminating poverty, of course they could imagine a hopeful future. They could see a future that was not defined by oppression and misery because they were trying to build it.

Instead of going full throttle on that, we have ended up in the second Gilded Age. We even had the collapse of 2008 to show us how dangerous the growing economic inequality was, but any measures against that were fought tooth and nail. They promoted inequality via racism until they finally elected someone who literally owns a golden toilet. Things look very grim.

If there is any hope, it will come from love, and cooperation. It will not come without equality. There's a lot to dissect about how things happened and how things can work and even if they can work now. They're pretty entrenched. But I long for equality and I long for better days so I won't give up.

I nonetheless whole-heartedly agree that people of color do not owe consolation to anyone, and especially that Coates does not owe it to Colbert, who has made his own contributions to the problem.

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