Wherein I take some time to expand a concept of mine and see how far I can take it. I have something like 50 pages of story ideas (just the ones I've sorted, moreover) and this will be an exercise in seeing how much potential they have.
In an inversion of a popular type of dystopia, the masses are not kept on drugs. In fact, it is only the rulers that are even permitted to do drugs. Everything else will follow from this.
Why this peculiar policy? Let's take a page from the Rastafari, among others, and say that the issue is about the power of drugs to open and enlighten the mind. The rulers are concerned with their, ahem, creative power and their ability to broaden the mind.
With this decided we begin to see our dystopic world take shape. It is very straightedge below the top: alcohol, marijuana, acid, and all the rest are banned. And not just this. What the rulers want is for the ruled to see and know only this world. Visions, ideas, and thoughts of other worlds cannot be permitted. Accordingly, while fiction exists it is wholly literary, mainstream, and thisworldly. Historical fiction is popular, but The Lord of the Rings is known only to the rulers.
Religion is scoffed at by the proles. To the extent that this is possible it is not even known of. Simply telling children about religion before they are old enough is considered to be a form of abuse, endangering a developing mind. Total positivists, the hold that only what can be determined is real and even in the sciences care is taken to avoid conjecture: Nobody even guesses at what color a dinosaur may have been, and remains credible for long.
Pics or it shouldn't even be talked about, you could say (human testimony is allowed, of course, although we might say that the world is such a surveillance state that it isn't allowed and criminal trials proceed along well enough without human testimony).
Schizophrenics, &c &c are taken away in the dead of night. The proles fear mental disorders, thinking that the mad are punished for being caught in fantasies even against their will, but in truth these are potential additions to the ruling class. Should they be capable of functioning and telling the difference between this reality and any other that they may be experiencing then they are given position and authority commensurate to this ability. Otherwise they are sealed up for their own good, fisher kings in gilded cages who want for nothing and are given just that much power outside of their luxurious cells.
Conversely, the rulers are full of religion. They are fit to burst at the seams with it. The religions of today's world have been mixed, remixed, dosed with aced, and served ala mode in order to satisfy the otherworldly, Mantic focus of the rulers. Their God is technicolor and their sacrament is the mescaline wafer and the cup of wine, but make no mistake: they have gods and they have sacraments.
The rulers dream of other worlds than this to sing in. Their vision for this world is excited and enflamed by their visions of other worlds, and they are not distractible.
That is really what it comes down to. The masters of this world know the power of bread and circuses. Keep the people focused on the here and now, not even giving them space enough to consider tomorrow. Give them what they think they want but which never truly fills them. Make sure that the supply never runs out, and make sure that they know whose hand is on the tap. Most of all, though, don't let them catch a whiff of true wonder, of genuine ecstasy, of that moment where meet the falling angel and the rising ape.
The rulers do not generally consider their religions and visions to be objective truths. These are experiences. They are subjective things. But they are subjective things that inspire them to look at the world with fresh eyes and see behind the curtain, and for this reason they are to be equally treasured in oneself and feared in those that elsewise would call themselves thy servant.
Reality television will be widepspread. Not because it is shitty and pathetic but because it is real. The Controllers probably don't mind the existence of highbrow reality shows any more than they do the shitty ones. Probably there is a certain segment of the population which requires the stimulation of the more complex, ingenious reality shows if they are to be kept content.
Logban or a similar language is in use. Beautiful, perhaps, but with the utmost precision of language. The idea is not to create a Newspeak-style effect where the proles cannot possibly think of certain off-limits concepts, but to reinforce a certain aesthetic value.
Perhaps there will be no fiction at all, only reality shows and documentaries and news channels and nonfiction books.
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