Utopia

Author’s note

is a societythat has in its possession,qualitiesthat are highlydesirableforthemasses.On theotherhand,dystopia refersto a societythat has degradedandhas undesirablequalities.In thesameline,sciencefictionprovideda visioninto thefutureandthrough theliteralworksof variousauthorspeoplehada generalideaof whattheyexpectedin thefuture(Winston, 2012). Depictions of thefutureby theseauthorspointedout to a perfectsocietyin thefuturethat wasoverrunwith technology, takingover thecoreoperationsin our everydaylife.In thearticle“Brave New Worlds,” (2014) writerEileen Gunn explainsthatsciencefictionoffersan opportunityforwritersto expressthemselves andtheaudiencesto lookinto thefuture.Shestatesthat“Sometimes itis theseeminglystrangeideasthat cometruethanks,in part,to thecapacityof sciencefictionto enhancean imaginativefireamong like-mindedreaderswith sufficienttechnicalknowledgeto helpin therealizationof its visions.”

Assuch,there is a closerelationshipbetween utopiaandvariousliteraryworks,particularthoserelatedto sciencefiction.Thestory“The Machine Stops” (1909) featurestwo charactersKuno andVashti wholivein thefuture,in space.Vashti is Kuno’s motherandfrom thetoneof thestory,ithas beena longtimesince theymetphysically.Their onlylinkis a machinethat ensurescommunicationbetween them, althoughitdoesnot clearlyportraytheexpressionson eachof their faces.Apartfrom ensuringeffectivecommunication,themachinehas variousotherduties,with buttonsto presswhenever one felthot,coldorat a lossforwords.Eversince her birth,shehadbeenaccustomed to themachineandshe,Vashti, wasquitecontentwith her wayof life.Thethoughtof travelingto meether sonseemedstrenuous,consideringthejourneyinvolvedin theairship.However,sherelentsto his pleasanddecidesto commencethejourneyto govisithim (Forster, 1909). Astheairshipfliesover Earth, itbecomesobviousthatmostare unfamiliarto thesightsandlocationson thecontinent,andtheyproclaimallegianceto theMachine.

On arrivalat Kuno’s room,heinformsher thathemanagedto getout of themachineandthereforehewasrenderedhomeless:Additionally, heinformsher thatsheis totallyreliant on themachine,a claimthatshevehemently refuses.Shestates,“I worshipnothing!I am mostadvanced.I donot thinkyouirreligious,forthere are nosuchthingas religionleft.”Kuno goeson to tellhis motherof howhewentto thesurfaceof theearth,addingthatitis them whoare at theedgeof extermination, with themachinecontrollingeverything in relationto their lives(Forster, 1909).With time,there wereseveralmajorchangesin thelivesof thepeoplethefirstwastheabolishment of theuseof respirators whilethesecondwasthere-introduction of religionamong thepeoplealthoughthiswasto theMachine, which seemedto dopracticallyeverything forthepeople.

Over time,theMachine startedhavingproblems,anditbecameincreasinglydifficultto maintainthelifetheywereaccustomed to.Vashti learnsthatthemaintenancedepartmentof theMachine is experiencingproblems,andthere is noupdate on whenthematterwill be fixed.Initially,sheis not worriedgiventhather problemshavealwaysbeensortedin theling run.Furthermore,shehas her copyof thebookthat servesas a consolation.However,theproblemsworsen andeventuallythemachinegoessilent.Shegoesoutsideto findpeoplein thehallway,tryingto escapetheharshreality.Ultimately,themachineis destroyedas mankindlearnsits lesson.

Theeffectof thisstoryforthereadersis to makeus analyzetheimpactthatthevarioustechnologies wehaveembracedhaveon our lives.According to Ramona Pringle, the cinematic and artistic futurerepresentations are important as people strive to make suchinventions a reality through scientific and technological innovation.She considers the contrast between the depictions of various artistsof utopia and dystopia, in relation to several sci-fi films. The mainargument by Ramona is that machines offer a solution to most of theproblems presently in the world and just like the Machine in thenovel they will constitute an important aspect in the day to daylives of people. Assuch,as one goesthrough thestory,theyreflecton the‘Machine” in their lifeand the significance it has to them. Theissuesin thestorycan be relatedto whatis happeningin our contemporarysociety.With thewideuseof technology, theyare slowlycreepinginto our lives,andwereferto them evenwhenperformingthemostmundanetasks(Winston, 2012). There are applicationsforengagingin alltypesof physicalactivity,andmanypeopleare entirelyreliant on them. An exampleis in theuseof phonesinitiallytheywereonlyusedforcommunication.However,thingshavechanged,andsmartphoneshavean importantrolein thelivesof manypeople.Theyare thepresentdayMachines, as depictedin thestory.Manypeopleare soaddicted to their phonesthatveryfewwould actuallysurvivea wholedaywithout them chancesare highthattheywould be depressedandfeelleftout.

Justlike in thestory,theeffectof technology is thatithas drawnus apart.Technology seemedto provideus with a perfectfuture,a stateof utopiabutin reality,individuals&nbspspenda considerabledurationof timeon their variousdevicesthattheyhardlytaketimeto engagein anyphysicalcontactandactivitieswith thosearound them. Suchwritingsalsoofferreadersan opportunityto wonderwhatthefuturewould looklike before makinga decisionwhetherto embracethatlifestyle. Eileen writesthat,“…there are otherauthorswhoinventimpossibletechnologies to serveas a plotdeviceorto enablesocialcommentary.”(Gunn, 2014)

From thereading,whatstandsout is thefactthatpeoplemust re-evaluate their livesin relationto theroleplayedby technology. Indeed,technology has numerouspositiveuses,butitis necessaryto askourselvesifitis worthit.Justlike in thestory,everything might seemto be correctat themoment,butwehaveto wonderwhatawaitsus ifthetrendcontinues.Technology is importantandveryusefulin our liveswhenweshould embraceitandat thesametime,remembertheneedandimportanceforactualrelationships.

References

Forster, E. (1909, November1). The Machine Stops. Retrieved February 11, 2015, from

http://www.ele.uri.edu/faculty/vetter/Other-stuff/The-Machine-Stops.pdf

Gunn, E. (2014, May 1). HowAmerica’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your

Future. Retrieved February 11,2015, fromhttp://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/how-americas-leading-science-fiction-authors-are-shaping-your-future-180951169/

Winston, M. (2012). Childrenof Invention Revisited. In Society,Ethics, and Technology

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