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Inverted totalitarianism in (post) postnormal accelerated dystopia: the arrival of Brave New World and 1984 in the twenty-first century

Dennis Ray Morgan (Department of Interpretation and Translation, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yong-in, South Korea)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 21 June 2018

Issue publication date: 20 August 2018

1143

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to depict how the state of inverted totalitarianism is emerging in post-postnormal times and illustrate how it shares many of the same features of the totalitarianism depicted in the novels Brave New World (A. Huxley) and 1984 (G. Orwell). It also shows how a “way forward” is possible through a paradigmatic reorientation of “well-being” and “happiness”.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on literature within the field of futures studies, as well as relevant sources outside the futures field. It applies R Slaughter’s critical futures and F Polak’s method of social critique and reconstruction in its analysis of the state of inverted totalitarianism in post postmodern times.

Findings

It finds that the technological society and the US empire (with its attendant corporatocracy, Panopticon and PAC man values) in post-postnormal times is drifting toward a state of inverted totalitarianism, which is remarkably beginning to resemble Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and G. Orwell’s 1984.

Research limitations/implications

The research is an essay and conceptual paper, so it is limited by its conceptual, philosophical nature and the author’s interpretation of social phenomena. It could also include the latest research on the role that the manipulation of internet algorithms plays in the state of inverted totalitarianism. It could also include more reconstructive details.

Practical implications

Sheer consciousness of the state of inverted totalitarianism and the need for social reconstruction should lead to a reevaluation of the meaning of the good society and how to realize it.

Social implications

Social critique and reconstruction are essential to the survival of any given society or civilization, as the groundwork for the emergence of wise foresight. The creative minority of a civilization must understand its predicament, the nature of its civilizational crisis, before it can even begin to understand and meet the challenge of the future.

Originality/value

The paper presents post-postnormal times as the back drop through which a state of inverted totalitarianism is emerging – a social dystopia that resembles the dystopias depicted in the novels, Brave New World and 1984. Inverted totalitarianism is shown to be an outgrowth of the technological society and the American empire (a corporatocracy and Panopticon increasingly global in nature). Freedom from this emerging totalitarianism begins with the realization of its existence and its given assumptions about the meaning of life and the pursuit of happiness. The paper also posits social critique and reconstruction (as well as critical futures) as a fundamental method to deconstruct and reconstruct the paradigm that supports inverted totalitarianism.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2018.

Citation

Morgan, D.R. (2018), "Inverted totalitarianism in (post) postnormal accelerated dystopia: the arrival of Brave New World and 1984 in the twenty-first century", Foresight, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 221-236. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-08-2017-0046

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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