Utopia and Dystopia Utopian literature ● Characteristics: ● A fictional text dealing with an ideal (future) society ● 1.Visions of the future Peaceful government, Equality Access to education, healthcare, employment etc. Safe environment Promotion of freedom and independency, Paradise-like Dystopian literature A fictional text → future society in which human freedom is severely limited criticizes our present-day society exposing trends and tendencies towards totalitarian control. Characteristics of a dystopian society: Use of propaganda to manipulate the citizens of a society Restriction of information, independent thought and freedom Worshipping of a figurehead or concept Constant surveillance and control of citizens Fear of the outside world Living in a dehumanized state Distrust and banishment of the natural world Uniformity governs all aspects of life; individuality and dissent are disapproved of Society as an illusion of a perfect utopian world Types of dystopian control: Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or media Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy characterized by complicated official rules, unrelenting regulations and incompetent government official Technological control: computers, robots and/or scientific means control society Philosophical/religious control: A dictatorship or theocratic government enforces a philosophical or religious ideology that controls society The dystopian protagonist: feels trapped and is struggling to escape Questions the existing social and political system Believes or feels that something is terribly wrong with the society in which he or she lives Helps audience/reader recognize negative...
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aspects of dyst. world through his/her perspective Books Aldous Huxley: Brave New World General elements: Written 1931, set in the distant future (26th century) Total control of society by in-vitro fertilization, artificial laboratory breeding, “cloning” of work force and conditioning Society strictly divided into Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon people with Alphas constituting the ruling class and Epsilon constitution a slave-like work force Natural reproduction outlawed, sex as pure entertainment, archyogamy regarded as unnatural and immoral People kept happy by means of a drug called "soma” Religion replaced by a strong belief in technology and science Extrapolation of developments of the 20th century society in Brave New World Belief in science, technology and progress Misuse of science ● ● George Orwell: 1984 General elements: ● Political and economic control and manipulation Mass production and mass consumption Decline of religion and values; Decline of educational standards Drugs, Mass entertainment, Sensationalism Examples: Words like goodthink, oldthink, crimethink: simplify expressions of thought, make them imprecise, one-dimensional, eventually devoid of meaning Euphemisms like Miniluv, Minipax, Minitrue: sound positive, conceal their true meaning Rewriting of history: Books and newspapers are manipulated Extrapolation of elements of 20th century society in 1984 ● Written in 1948, hence about a future society Big brother: constant surveillance Newspeak: invention of a new, simplified form of the English language to manipulate though, complex (I.e. critical) thinking cannot be put into words any more Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 General elements: ● ● Intrusion in people's privacy, spying on people (Nazi Germany and Soviet Union) Propaganda, misuse of mass media; Psychological torture Critical thought impeded as nooks are forbidden The firemen's job: burn all books Extrapolation of elements of 20th century society Fahrenheit 451 Written in 1953, set in the future 451 Fahrenheit: temperature at which paper starts to burn Society by entertainment, speed restlessness and superficiality: extremely fast driving, multi screen television at high volume with very shallow programmes, constant exposure to sound and advertising Burning of books (Nazi Germany) Atomic bombs (Hiroshima) Rise of television and audio media, effect on reading Speeding-up in all areas of life: transport, communication, work, production, consumption Dominance of entertainment and decline of education The Handmaid's Tale General elements harmful oppressive society "handmaids" are forced to give birth to children they are considered property of their superiors dystopia / extrapolation Handmaid's Tale's criticism on society patriarchy, sexism anti-abortion manipulation (e.g. by religion) O Films/Movies The Hunger Games The Hunger Games tells the story of a dystopian society ruled by an oppressive President (President Snow), who punishes twelve districts for an uprising that occurred in the past. Utopian aspects - Advanced technology (buildings etc.) - Futuristic medical advancement - High living standards - Technology replaces natural things - Simulated reality Fantasy ● Science Fiction ● genre focusing on magic and supernatural elements usually clear distinction between good and evil Creates its own fantastic internally consistent setting far beyond today's society and technology → does not exists General elements Dystopian aspects - Oppression (people are suffering) - New world order with futuristic society - Total control and suppression - Abuse of technological advancement - No rights (freedom disrupted) - The Hunger Games (People killing each other entertainment purposes) - Unequal distribution of power, wealth etc. - Isolation (districts) and bad living conditions A genre focusing on imaginary content → e.g. future settings and futuristic science and technology imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically postulated laws of nature Settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality most science fiction relies on potential scientific explanations/solutions to various fictional elements no magic involved. A setting in the future A setting in outer space (e.g. spaceship), in other worlds, in remote regions of the earth (underground, bottom of the sea) Characters that include alien, mutants, androids or humanoid robots Science fiction vs. utopia/dystopia Technology that is futuristic (e.g. ray guns, teleportation, artificial planets etc.) Scientific principles that are new and that have overcome known laws of nature, for example time travel New and different societies, especially post-apocalyptic worlds Paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, telekinesis etc. considerable overlap between utopia/dystopia and science fiction science fiction is a lot more concerned with the futuristic science and technology → e.g. teleportation machines, space ships, … → central to the story utopian/ dystopian narratives put their focus on society → the element of extrapolation plays a central role in dystopian films and novels Visions of the future ~ Genres Utopia Dystopia Features: • Pessimistic vision of the future Characterized by a democratic government and suppression of the individual • Aim: implicitly criticise negative tendencies in contemporary society which became uncontrollable Features: Perfect society in a distant place or future ● Model for a better society ● As satire on a contemporary issue Examples: Examples: Back to the future 2/3 | The Hunger Games, The Circle ● Ethical Issues of Scientific and Technological Progress Genetics: ● ● Environment as disaster Surveillance technology Applications of genetically modified organisms Biological and medical research Production of pharmaceutical drugs ● Transgenic microbes Experimental medicine (e.g. gene therapy) Agriculture (e.g. golden rice) Science Fiction Features: • Predict believable future • Advanced technology ● Transgenic animals Non-human characters Examples: Tomb Rider, Rumanian → e.g. a person's eye-colour or height. Genetic information is carried by the DNA which is copied and inherited cross generations The complete set of genes in a particular organism is known as genome Genetic engineering Putting a new piece of DNA into a cell can produce a new trait People with genetic disorders can be treated by means of a gene therapy idea is to replace a malfunctioning gene with one that functions properly field of study dealing with the way living organisms inherit features from their ancestors features are called traits Fantasy Production of insulin to treat diabetes Production of clotting factors to treat haemophilia Production of human growth hormone to treat various forms of dwarfism To facilitate crop growth in some soils or prevent crop pests Features: Magical and supernatural elements Distinction between good and evil The widest application exists for crops resistant to herbicides or for producing pesticides from within As experimental models to test genes whose on is For the production of human hormones such as insulin Transgenic mice: used to study diseases and test treatments Setting is far beyond today's technology and society Bacteria the first organisms to be modified in the laboratory organisms are now used for several purposes, and are particularly important in producing human proteins for use in medicine. Genetically modified bacteria are used: wn Examples: Lord of the Rings Harry Potter Transgenic plants/ genetically modified food Normally to meet dietary needs Engineered to resist pests, herbicides or harsh environmental conditions Improve product shelf life and makes inedible food edible Incrementalism of nutritional value ● Production of bigger yields, making farmland more efficient "Terminator" Technology: GM plants do not yield seeds. This means that farmers have to buy new seeds every time Designer Babies (Reprogenetics) The colloquial term "designer baby" refers to a baby whose genetic makeup has been artificially selected to ensure the presence or absence of certain characteristics, especially with regards to the sex of the child. ● Cloning Cloning is the creation of an organism that is an exact genetic copy of another. This means that every single bit of DNA is the same between the two. The best example for this is Dolly the sheep. It was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult body cell. She lived until the age of six, when she developed severe diseases Cloning techniques ● ● ● Non sexual means: unfertilised egg from a female donor DNA is removed from the egg and replaced by the DNA from the egg that should be cloned Stimulation by electricity for cell-dividing process Expected benefits Reproduction of valuable animals • Replacement animals for farmers Healing for Alzheimer, Parkinson, diabetes etc. ● The embryo will then be transplanted into a surrogate Therapeutic cloning with the aim to harvest stem cells for medical treatments difficulties Cloned animals grow old much quicker They suffer a higher mortality Defects, deformities, abnormalities (early death) • Not all animals can be cloned Cloning humans is nearly impossible (donation of eggs, expensive hormone stimulations) Ethical aspects must be considered ● Issues involved in cloning for reproductive purposes Safety of cloning is not guaranteed and clones might die (quickly) Cloned children may suffer identity conflicts • Children as "products” or commodities, Children are “designed” (defects are not accepted) Conjugal relations as means of procreation may become unnecessary → against the dignity of natural precreation → could also weaken family ties Negative effects on the society (will they accept the clones?) Issues involved in cloning for therapeutic reasons • Human lives may be reproduced to the state of tools • Human live created in order to be destroyed → when does life start → whose life has more value (unborn, ill, born) Are embryos already individuals? when does human life start? • It may erode/reduce respect for life Might support/lead to manipulation human life (genetic manipulation) • Crosses the divide between sexual/asexual reproduction Biohacking Advantages Improve and enhance quality of human life Health improvement Simplifying one's access to information about the body Simplify everyday tasks (NFC-Chip) Tailor medical treatment to individual request Cyborgs- merging humans and machines bionic biohacking Body modification (NFC) Chips Augment ati on To enhance Application sensory Miniaturi zation of technology exoskeleton Disadvantages Ethical question: To what extend is it wise to tamper with nature --> much more severe Having modified/electronic body parts Methods to change bodies with the help of technology or genetic modification Deliberate changes to the human body, e.g. tattoos, piercing, but also much more severe alteration Danger of robbery - (e.g. being to get at the NFC chip) (Near Field Communication) chip to enable transactions, e.g. payments via chip technology that can be embedded in credit card etc., but also inside the human body Process of increasing the value, size, amount, power etc. of something To further improve Putting something, especially scientific theories to practical use Relating to the senses (smell, hearing, touch, sight, taste) Process of creating technology that becomes smaller and smaller in size and is thus able to fit into veins, organs etc. Biotechnology in agriculture PROS wearable, moveable machine, like a suit that allows you to move with greater speed & strength Higher productivity More efficient land use prosthesis Artificial body part, usually to replace a missing limb CONS Genes can end up in unexpected places Genes can mutate with a harmful effect More ecological farming (no ploughing, no fertilizing, no insecticides, no pesticides) Solution to problem of famine in the world Higher quality of food Longer shelf life Rehabilitation of damaged land Reprogenesis PRO (once it's safe) Parents have a right to choose Moral obligation to give a child the best life possible Will lead to an improvement of the whole species Sex selection PRO (if safe) Parents have a right to choose In some cultures, male offspring are important to provide support for old age Theory of having sisters (as opposed to brothers) enhances adults' quality of life CONS "sleeper" genes could be accidentally switched on, activate genes could become "silent" Interaction with wild and native populations: negative impact on birds, insects and soil Transfer of allergenic genes GM products in the food chain Transfer of antibiotic resistance Loss of farmers control over material; "terminator" technology prevents sustainable farming → Dependence on big corporations Technology is not safe yet Bioethical codes condemn experiments with human beings "super humans" may look down on normal people "imperfect" human beings would be discriminated against Rich people would be at an advantage The human gene pool may be damaged "New Eugenics": people designed to suit societies needs People may be thought of as products Human beings should not play God CONS Preferences in patriarchal cultures lead to demographic imbalance Members of the unwanted sex may be discriminated against The child may not be loved if sth. goes wrong and it is not the desired sex Human Cloning PROS Medical reasons: resource of bone marrow or replaceable organs Infertile couples may have children ● Food security today Parents fulfil their own wishes, disregarding the right if the child Human beings are not allowed to play God ● CONS Cloning is inherently evil, an intrusion into human life A person who want to clone himself/ herself is self-centred Cloning in order to produce superior beings is eugenics and eugenics is discriminatory Are GM crops safe for people Toxicity and allergenicity are controlled as the stability of the inserted gene, nutritional effects associated with genetic modification and unintended effects Still it is not possible to make any general statements about safety due to different genes etc. Using a human being as a resource for "spare parts" is unethical Reproduction by means of cloning might have long- term consequences for human relationships Children may be thought of as products Hinduism: What about the persons karma? Dictators may become immortal Identity crisis GM foods are a response to world hunger Food security, physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food 1 billion people on earth suffer chronic hunge