A Broken World

A Broken World

What is a perfect society?

Can one even create a perfect society or will society always be corrupt? Is a utopia or dystopia the right answer?

These two fictional extremes provided a stark contrast to modern reality. Readers and viewers have fascinated by their often visionary concepts. Anyone interested in science-fiction or modern fantasy has stumbled upon stories that paint the future in a decided color.

Welcome to paradise signA utopia is a perfect world. Utopian fiction depicts a future in which humanity has reached a state of balance and peace, and where all life is maintained. In utopia problems like war, disease poverty, discrimination, and inequality do not exist. There is no more suffering or injustice. The word Utopia comes from Greek roots meaning either ‘no place’ or ‘good place.’ The word utopia was originally coined by Sir Thomas More when he wrote Utopia, where he described an ideal political state in a land called Utopia.

Characteristics of a Utopia:

  • peaceful government
  • equality for citizens
  • access to education, healthcare, employment
  • a safe living environment
  • hope

Dystopia - Broken WorldsA dystopia on the other hand is a world in which nothing is perfect. The problems that plague the world are often even more extreme in dystopias. Dystopian fiction depicts a future in which society has fallen into decline and ruin, and where life and nature are recklessly exploited and destroyed. Dystopia is a play on the made-up word ‘utopia’ using the root dys, which means ‘bad’
or ‘difficult.’

Characteristics of a Dystopia:

  • usually a controlling, oppressive government or no government
  • extreme poverty or a huge income gap between the richest and the poorest
  • propaganda controlling people’s mind
  • freethinking and independent thought is banned

Utopian fiction is usually taken over by groups or often dissatisfied. Dystopias are a way in which authors share their concerns about society and humanity. They also serve to warn members of a society to pay attention to the society in which they live and to be aware of how life can go from bad to worse without anyone realizing what has happened.  Examples of fictional dystopias include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, Louis Lowry’s The Giver, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Tell us what some of your favorites are. And can we ever exist in a utopia?


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Areteem Institute is offering The Psychology of Broken Worlds as a new Humanities course track at all of our 2015 Summer Camps.