I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels and, interestingly, they all seem to suggest the same elements for the destruction of a functioning, fulfilling society. If you are looking to contribute to the actualization of dystopia in our day, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of ingredients that are absolutely essential to generating the perfect breakdown of human flourishing:
- Ban the Bible. If you want to reduce humanity to a mass of pliable, self-interested cells, get rid of that subversive scripture that presents human beings as being specially created in the image of a rational, relational Creator. Don’t ever tell people that they have a higher calling than their own comfort. There’s a reason that books such as Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) and Mockingbird (Walter Tevis) focus on societies in which reading—and above all, the reading of scripture—is outlawed.
- Divorce language from truth claims. Language is to be precise, but should never make us uncomfortable. It must be factual but subjective. It should be used by all people but determined by the individual. Doublespeak is the preferred national language, after the pattern of George Orwell’s 1984.
- Avoid monogamous, sacrificial commitments at all costs. Giving yourself to another person for life is dangerous. Instead, reduce romance to a transaction. If you consider sexuality as anything other than a biological need or individual right, you are in danger of breaking the laws of selfishness and pleasure that govern the best dystopias. Instead, join in this Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)!
- Celebrate birth control of all forms, even those harmful to your own body. Mental illness, increased stroke risk, emotional trauma, and irreversible reproductive damage are a small price to pay for never having to suffer the horror of bringing life into the world. Rampant birth control means reduced self-control, which is more fun for everyone—especially predators. (Bradbury, Tevis, Huxley)
- Beware of children. Nothing is more threatening to society than the clear-eyed insight of children. Those tiny humans might just be the scariest rebels of them all. The total disappearance of children, after all, is what gave rise to the great society of Children of Men by P.D. James. The nuclear family is just as dangerous. Avoid the traditional, biological family structures that give rise to perceptive, empowered children.
- Illicit drugs and alcohol? Just say “yes!” Sobriety is the enemy of satisfaction. Try to find a dystopian society that wasn’t built upon the addiction of the masses; it’s proof that drugs really do work!
- Alter your body to match your mind. Consider the drastic surgeries of the Capitol residents in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Didn’t they seem happy? They might have been the real heroes of that trilogy.
- Stop reading. Stop it. You’re reading right now, aren’t you? Well, STOP IT. Listen to a podcast. Blast some pop music. Watch Netflix. Whatever you do, though, stop reading. Never finish an article before sharing your opinion. Never read a book when you could listen to it on double speed. Avoid independent bookstores, which are the dens of dangerous ideas. Above all, if you want to build the ultimate dystopia, you must never read dystopian fiction.