Texts take us on a journey to different worlds while encouraging us to reflect on our own.
Texts take us far enough away from reality to be considered fiction, but not far away to not make a statement on our current world/reality. Or if statement is the wrong word then let me use question- texts make us question our own reality in a way that we probably never would have had we not come into contact with that particular text. The ‘good of society’ course showed us many texts that made me question my own reality, some of these questions were good, others not so good or very easy to answer. Thos essay will be showing some of the questions that were raised in the duration of this course, and will hopefully leave you with a few questions of your own.
The world of 1984 was bland, dark and miserable; the government was all powerful- watching the people 24/7. The society was kept submissive and blinded by its own social system/ hierarchy and more the 80% of the population lived way below to poverty line- and these are just a few examples. When reading 1984 you become so immersed in the book; you can practically feel the chains that Winston fights against chafing your own wrists, and when you finally put the book down- glad to be rid of the iron manacles you see that they are still there, they’d always been there- you’d just never realised it before. Most people don’t acknowledge it, but our current world is so similar to that of 1984 when you look at it from a different light. George Orwell had littered his book with similarities trying to get our world to realise, to reflect, on just how close we are to becoming a society that functions like the society in 1984. The government has almost full control of our lives; we are under 24/7 watch by all the cameras on every street corner, our credit cards can say exactly where we are and when we were there, our home address, our telephone number, our job, our date of birth- all accessible to the government with a few taps on a computer keyboard. If they so wanted they could completely erase our very existence; our word for this is ‘identity theft’, the Party’s word for it is ‘vaporise’.
The Matrix, instead of showing us a different social world, depicted a different world entirely; a different physical look, a different social system, a different mindset. Based in a world where over 95% of the world’s population has no idea that they’re in a computer simulated reality; after watching that text its not surprising that you also begin to question the ‘realness’ of your own reality. What proof do we have that we’re not just mental projections of our consciousness? Because really it does make sense doesn’t it; where do we go after we die? - back to the ‘the source’? And what about possessions- is that the devil, or the agents? The Matrix targets certain beliefs and creates an explanation, one that actually fits with a little imagination. Coupled with the fact that everyone that was under was completely oblivious to the fact that they were simply human batteries provides that little bit extra- that little question of ‘how do we know?’ Most people would consider themselves Neo, but what if we’re really just those random people on the street that have no idea how stupid they are. It’s a horrible thought isn’t it?
Adding on from the last paragraph- the question of ‘do we really exist here?’ then comes another question- one that popped up in the text The Island- ‘if we do exist- what’s the purpose?’ Now, I realise that a lot of people have asked that question before- in fact probably everyone has asked that question at some point in their lives; however The Island brought up a rather dark theory on the meaning of life. The characters in the text are clones- their purpose in life was to die. The fact that the characters, which the audience forms a relationship to, have such a dark meaning to their life makes you question weather your own meaning is meant to be just as dark, or ever worse, no meaning at all. Because, think about it, this is the average human being’s life cycle; you are born, you grow up, you go to school, you get a job, you get married, you start a family, you retire, you die. Does that not seem a little pointless to you? One could think that its better to be used to save people- or better to be used as a battery to power something because at least then we’ll have a purpose that’s more then just continuing the Homo sapien species.
So really, I would say that texts do take you away from your own world- where you’re free of responsibility, of your teachers, your boss, your problems- they take you to a place where nothing is real, nothing is painful; except then they drop you back into your own world again and you realise that the ‘fictional world’ is actually not so different from your own. You’re left with the knowledge that your world is just as bad as the one that you’d left behind. Or maybe its not, because maybe your world doesn’t exist at all?