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Claim the Right to be Unhappy?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Do you become part of this brave new world?

Of course... no poverty, no crime, no war, no books -- what's not to like?
5
7%
Ship me off to an Individualist Territory, thanks... no arts, no religion, no freedom, no feelings -- sounds dreadful!
66
87%
I'll go wherever Hasselhoff is!
5
7%
 
Total votes : 76

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The Free Joy State
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Claim the Right to be Unhappy?

Postby The Free Joy State » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:33 pm

[Apologies to Geneviev. I basically moved your title around; but I did get this idea from posting in your thread, and then re-reading Brave New World again -- love that book]

This is quite long, but I have strayed from the inspiration text in important places, so please do read.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World wrote:“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.'

'In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.'

'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.'

'Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence.

'I claim them all,' said the Savage at last.

Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. 'You're welcome," he said.”


There is an international coup that covers your nation (and I know most nations have strong protections in place, but let's just go with it). The new government tells you they know how to end poverty, hunger, war, homelessness, and crime. All they have to do is remove the major causes of any kind of strong feeling, and -- as they delicately put it -- bring in one or two minor restrictions.

Firstly, to achieve an ideal population, the optimum number of people will be randomly required to breed. Everyone else will be summoned for sterilisation.

Secondly, everyone will be assigned a job. They will be guaranteed job security -- they will do it their whole working life. This means that, if you are assigned as Road Sweeper #20123, you will sweep the same stretch of road forever.

Finally, anything that causes wars, fights, arguments or passion is banned. The nation will begin again without strong feeling as -- to borrow from Brave New World -- "when the individual feels, the community reels". So, all religion will be rigorously suppressed, hard science is no longer to be practised, politics henceforth no longer exists (although they will make decisions for your benefit, they assure you), culture will be stripped to things designed not to elicit any real feelings of any kind, sports teams will be disbanded, all literature -- which is designed to make people feel identify with its characters -- will be burnt.

They tell you that other steps they are taking includes: state distribution of drugs that lead to "happy and good" peaceful behaviour, ensuring that everyone is housed, guaranteeing access to healthcare, and ensuring that the deprivation that leads to crime no longer exists.

Everyone will learn how to be a perfect model citizen, a cog in the great social machine, and the community will be strong, stable and peaceful -- forever.

On the other hand, if you don't want to stay in this new society and be a cog, there is an alternative. There are Individualist Territories -- places with generally bad climates or bad soil that they thought it not worth the cost of integrating into this new society. They will send you to one of your choice (you are guaranteed to arrive safely). There, you can have the arts, literature, religion, feelings and politics to your heart's content.

You can also have everything else, too -- war, poverty, homelessness, hunger, sickness (you'd better hope doctors and scientists leave with you). The new society won't help you and you will never be free to return, should it not meet your expectations (you could try to reach a different Individualist Territory, but they are far apart, and you would be on your own in your attempt to reach it and may not like it more).

So... do you become part of this brave new world or claim the right to not be a cog?

And, if so what was it that you couldn't stand losing, or was the whole thing too much?

I would try my luck with the Territories, and work to campaign for the society I wanted to see. No homelessness, poverty or hunger are all things I'd like to see in a real society -- and I've done some work with a charity working for the first IRL and donated money to charities working for the other things -- but not at the cost of restrictions to reproductive freedom, religious freedom (of and from), emotional freedom (if you want to call it that), political freedom and loss of the arts and literature -- it hurt to even type writing that books would be burnt.
Last edited by The Free Joy State on Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Page » Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:22 pm

Emotions provide us with information, to suppress emotions is to suppress knowledge. Cognition alone is not enough.

A colorblind person could spend their lives studying the science of color, they could become the greatest expert of how light works and how the eye works and how the brain processes it but they lack the ability to perceive color with their own senses and therefore they lack essential information that no amount of study could ever make up for.

Similarly, a person who does not feel could study the science of an emotion but they will always be ignorant about its true nature.

The Brave New World denies people emotion while the 1984 society denies people cognition but in each case people are alienated from the full potential of sentience.

We should strive towards peace and the fulfillment of everyone's needs, but we can pursue this goal without keeping sentient beings ignorant. Ignorance is not desirable. Innocence is not desirable. It would be an empty life to be like a child forever. Children are missing out on rich and fulfilling lives until they grow up.
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Postby Purpelia » Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:39 pm

No, I do not want to be a braindead zombie. I want to be the one on top enjoying the full range of human emotions whilst spitting and looking down on everyone else.
Purpelia does not reflect my actual world views. In fact, the vast majority of Purpelian cannon is meant to shock and thus deliberately insane. I just like playing with the idea of a country of madmen utterly convinced that everyone else are the barbarians. So play along or not but don't ever think it's for real.



The above post contains hyperbole, metaphoric language, embellishment and exaggeration. It may also include badly translated figures of speech and misused idioms. Analyze accordingly.

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Picairn
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Postby Picairn » Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:50 pm

When humans are stripped of emotions and feelings, they are no longer human, but mere robots serving as cogs in a machine. I would rather work my way up from the Territories, (hopefully) become a leader of a sizeable nation, then liberate my former countrymen from this dystopia pretending to be a utopia.
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Ryanasic
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Postby Ryanasic » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:15 am

As with Picairn, the Territories would be better. This hypothetical state sounds Stalinist, but in another way.
I would hope to gain leadership, unite the territories and in time topple the godless machine.

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Postby The Blaatschapen » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:40 am

I do not want the chance of being sterilised. That should be my own choice to do so.

The new society is not an Utopia, in fact, it's worse of than my current society.
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Purpelia
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Postby Purpelia » Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:13 am

Overall the territories are the way to go. Either everyone with a brain will go there and it'll become a paradise of people who are not stupid enough to stay. Or failing that it becomes a Mad Max style hellhole and I can live fast, copulate forcefully and die young when brothers/husbands/fathers eventually hunt me down. Either way I win.
Purpelia does not reflect my actual world views. In fact, the vast majority of Purpelian cannon is meant to shock and thus deliberately insane. I just like playing with the idea of a country of madmen utterly convinced that everyone else are the barbarians. So play along or not but don't ever think it's for real.



The above post contains hyperbole, metaphoric language, embellishment and exaggeration. It may also include badly translated figures of speech and misused idioms. Analyze accordingly.

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The Free Joy State
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Postby The Free Joy State » Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:55 am

Page wrote:Emotions provide us with information, to suppress emotions is to suppress knowledge. Cognition alone is not enough.

A colorblind person could spend their lives studying the science of color, they could become the greatest expert of how light works and how the eye works and how the brain processes it but they lack the ability to perceive color with their own senses and therefore they lack essential information that no amount of study could ever make up for.

Similarly, a person who does not feel could study the science of an emotion but they will always be ignorant about its true nature.

The Brave New World denies people emotion while the 1984 society denies people cognition but in each case people are alienated from the full potential of sentience.

We should strive towards peace and the fulfillment of everyone's needs, but we can pursue this goal without keeping sentient beings ignorant. Ignorance is not desirable. Innocence is not desirable. It would be an empty life to be like a child forever. Children are missing out on rich and fulfilling lives until they grow up.

I agree. A life devoid of human emotion is a shallow, empty existence. It doesn't allow the full experience available to us as people. It's certainly not the life I would seek.

Here's an interesting question: can humanity become peaceful and cooperative of our own free-will. That's certainly the ideal for me. But is it possible on a larger scale than just the family or a small group?
Picairn wrote:When humans are stripped of emotions and feelings, they are no longer human, but mere robots serving as cogs in a machine. I would rather work my way up from the Territories, (hopefully) become a leader of a sizeable nation, then liberate my former countrymen from this dystopia pretending to be a utopia.

That's an interesting strategy.

Is there any part of the new society you would try to keep if you succeeded, or would it all go?

The Blaatschapen wrote:I do not want the chance of being sterilised. That should be my own choice to do so.

The new society is not an Utopia, in fact, it's worse of than my current society.

Loss of reproductive choice is quite a big convincer to me, too.

As for it being a dystopia (pretending to be a utopia), it's (very heavily) inspired by Brave New World -- the granddaddy dystopia.

I just find it interesting to consider: how many people would -- if presented with a society that offers so many of the things that people campaign and work and wish for -- would be prepared to actually live in if it was achieved at such a cost.
Last edited by The Free Joy State on Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Picairn » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:03 am

The Free Joy State wrote:Is there any part of the new society you would try to keep if you succeeded, or would it all go?

Only the healthcare and housing for all guarantees, also the welfare state that serves as eradication of crime and poverty, will be kept. I dread, and despise the rest.
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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:17 am

WWHD. What would Hasselhoff do?

I believe he would be the individualist, i shall follow him.
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Postby Andsed » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:36 am

The territories for sure. The whole suppressing feelings is fucked up and I don't trust this government to not abuse its power.
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Postby Dogmeat » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:50 am

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Atheris
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Postby Atheris » Wed Sep 30, 2020 6:57 am

A world without emotions is a world without humanity. A Brave New World is one of the most dystopian dystopias.

Edited after UMN's post below me: That being said, how much emotion is too much emotion? I can't say; I don't have a personality disorder or anything like that to comment on. Too much emotion is a scary thing, though. A world of extremes of either side would be a kind of dystopia.
Last edited by Atheris on Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Punished UMN » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:00 am

Page wrote:Emotions provide us with information, to suppress emotions is to suppress knowledge. Cognition alone is not enough.

A colorblind person could spend their lives studying the science of color, they could become the greatest expert of how light works and how the eye works and how the brain processes it but they lack the ability to perceive color with their own senses and therefore they lack essential information that no amount of study could ever make up for.

Similarly, a person who does not feel could study the science of an emotion but they will always be ignorant about its true nature.

The Brave New World denies people emotion while the 1984 society denies people cognition but in each case people are alienated from the full potential of sentience.

We should strive towards peace and the fulfillment of everyone's needs, but we can pursue this goal without keeping sentient beings ignorant. Ignorance is not desirable. Innocence is not desirable. It would be an empty life to be like a child forever. Children are missing out on rich and fulfilling lives until they grow up.

Picairn wrote:When humans are stripped of emotions and feelings, they are no longer human, but mere robots serving as cogs in a machine. I would rather work my way up from the Territories, (hopefully) become a leader of a sizeable nation, then liberate my former countrymen from this dystopia pretending to be a utopia.

Purpelia wrote:No, I do not want to be a braindead zombie. I want to be the one on top enjoying the full range of human emotions whilst spitting and looking down on everyone else.

This is a very nice and easy thing to say when you don't have the full spectrum of human emotions, I can assure you, some limits would be good, and emotions being too strong is often torturous. Certainly, some emotion is good, but too much emotion can and will ruin your life and is terrible to experience. I think the three of you are greatly overestimating the value that we would get from "the full range of human emotion" because you don't experience it and therefore cannot judge.
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Postby Skyhooked » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:02 am

With most awesome people (scientists, writers, musicians, artists and such) going to the territories, I will go to them too. After all, Territories will rise thanks to human resources and maybe, just maybe... one day remove all this post coup government altogether. After all, it's not like few zombified soldiers gonna stop us.
Last edited by Skyhooked on Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Wink Wonk We Like Stonks » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:07 am

we're against it. we'll take our chance in the territories, it'd be an easier and better life there.


"Firstly, to achieve an ideal population, the optimum number of people will be randomly required to breed. Everyone else will be summoned for sterilisation." no people do this enough on their own already, and sperm/egg banks are a thing.

"Secondly, everyone will be assigned a job." no, people change.

"So, all religion will be rigorously suppressed, hard science is no longer to be practised, politics henceforth no longer exists (although they will make decisions for your benefit, they assure you), culture will be stripped to things designed not to elicit any real feelings of any kind, sports teams will be disbanded, all literature -- which is designed to make people feel identify with its characters -- will be burnt." no, give me freedom of expression or i'll express my freedom to leave.

"state distribution of drugs that lead to "happy and good" peaceful behaviour" as great as it would be if everyone was on ecstasy and xanax, that's a no for me dog. this is big pharma at a terrible extreme
"ensuring that everyone is housed, " good
"guaranteeing access to healthcare" good
"ensuring that the deprivation that leads to crime no longer exists" nice, but impossible


"On the other hand, if you don't want to stay in this new society and be a cog, there is an alternative. There are Individualist Territories -- places with generally bad climates or bad soil that they thought it not worth the cost of integrating into this new society. They will send you to one of your choice (you are guaranteed to arrive safely). There, you can have the arts, literature, religion, feelings and politics to your heart's content." i like this option. i'll take one that's usually to warm, maybe even a dessert if that's all that's available.

"You can also have everything else, too -- war, poverty, homelessness, hunger, sickness (you'd better hope doctors and scientists leave with you). The new society won't help you and you will never be free to return, should it not meet your expectations (you could try to reach a different Individualist Territory, but they are far apart, and you would be on your own in your attempt to reach it and may not like it more)." we'll be fine, we're pretty advanced.

And, if so what was it that you couldn't stand losing, or was the whole thing too much?

all of it together was just a dystopia, but the freedom of expression was a deal breaker for me, as was drugging the populace, and permanent jobs. territory gang for life. that said, this would be a great rp, if it isn't one already.
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:15 am

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Postby The Holy Therns » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:34 am

Equilibrium was a pretty fun movie, yeah.
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Postby Geneviev » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:37 am

My title was stolen. Kind of. :p

Anyway, you do not just burn books. I would take my books and go to the Territories because I need them. Life is meaningless without Walt Whitman and George Orwell. That would be the main reason, but I also think we need religion, science, and a healthy amount of emotion. Otherwise, you can't really be a person.
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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:59 am

I'm curious to hear what type of person would be willing to stay in such a lifeless hellhole. Even though I must confess it's a very enticing state, the removal of choice of employment is a deal breaker. The chances of me being anywhere near my current role or to my aspirations are slim if randomly assigned. And having written a novel myself... well, let's just say I am not at all thrilled at the idea of watching it burn. Not to mention the risk of being sterilised, which is an inherently upsetting concept to wrap your head around.

So off to the Territories I go, where considering how they are described I will probably die young, cold and penniless. But hey, there would at least be some music and conversation to go around. And who knows? Maybe I might luck out and end up on artist or writer's island, where I may get to finally fully express myself.
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Postby Dyanderna » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:08 am

First off, I would choose the Territories because no matter the situation there it will not be a monotonous existence.

A thing that interests me though is that with the people who don't want to be a part of the "utopia" because of the stripping down of emotions, once you're inside of the utopia and you have effectively become an emotionless robot then you wouldn't care about emotions whatsoever, all the gripes people are having due to things being stripped away theoretically wouldn't be as bad for the people who actually lived there.

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Postby Senkaku » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:13 am

I would be unhappy about it, but I'd stay and take the drugs to just deal with it probably. Avoiding a violent death and staying materially comfortable are pretty far up there on my priorities list, probably ahead of my abstract freedom or happiness.

Of course, this is assuming that the thought experiment is valid and that doing these things would accomplish what the new government says they would (which I don't think holds up to scrutiny, as interesting a read as Brave New World is).
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The Free Joy State
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Postby The Free Joy State » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:16 am

The Holy Therns wrote:Equilibrium was a pretty fun movie, yeah.

How dare you! :p

In the words of Vonnegut, I "cheerfully ripped off the plot of Brave New World, whose plot had been cheerfully ripped off from Yevgeny Zamyatin's We."

In all seriousness, I never saw Equilibrium. I'm still debating whether to see the new adaptation of Brave New World (the last one sucked).

Geneviev wrote:My title was stolen. Kind of. :p

Anyway, you do not just burn books. I would take my books and go to the Territories because I need them. Life is meaningless without Walt Whitman and George Orwell. That would be the main reason, but I also think we need religion, science, and a healthy amount of emotion. Otherwise, you can't really be a person.

Writing "burning books" -- god, that hurt.

But, of course, all the other stuff matters to me, too.

Chan Island wrote:I'm curious to hear what type of person would be willing to stay in such a lifeless hellhole. Even though I must confess it's a very enticing state, the removal of choice of employment is a deal breaker. The chances of me being anywhere near my current role or to my aspirations are slim if randomly assigned. And having written a novel myself... well, let's just say I am not at all thrilled at the idea of watching it burn. Not to mention the risk of being sterilised, which is an inherently upsetting concept to wrap your head around.

So off to the Territories I go, where considering how they are described I will probably die young, cold and penniless. But hey, there would at least be some music and conversation to go around. And who knows? Maybe I might luck out and end up on artist or writer's island, where I may get to finally fully express myself.

I confess, I am really curious by the two three now people who voted to go. I'd love to hear an explanation of why.

I'm kind of rooting for Writers' Island. That or Left-Leaning Democracy Island. But -- even if I ended up scrabbling for a living and on a freezing rock in the middle of the ocean -- hey, at least there'd be some interesting people around, and books, and my mind and body would be free.

Also, Chan -- to wander off-topic for a split-second -- congratulations on having written a novel.

EDIT:
Senkaku wrote:I would be unhappy about it, but I'd stay and take the drugs to just deal with it probably. Avoiding a violent death and staying materially comfortable are pretty far up there on my priorities list, probably ahead of my abstract freedom or happiness.

Of course, this is assuming that the thought experiment is valid and that doing these things would accomplish what the new government says they would (which I don't think holds up to scrutiny, as interesting a read as Brave New World is).

I did consider that wanting a peaceful life and comfort might be a potential reason for staying.

It's not a strong enough motivation for me when compared to the loss of multiple personal freedoms (including reproductive and political freedom). But I can see how the uncertain future in the territories may be a concerning factor.

As for whether the scenario holds up to scrutiny... in IRL human behaviour is never predictable (although, it's worth pointing out that, in the novel, there were riot police when the Delta's rioted over their soma ration). On the other hand, it's an interesting experiment nonetheless: what would people give up for peace, plenty and safety -- some of the hopes people have for society.
Last edited by The Free Joy State on Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Nuroblav
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Founded: Nov 13, 2019
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Nuroblav » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:35 am

I'll take free wasteland over utopian prison. I'm not accepting it if that's the cost I'm gonna have to pay.
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Thepeopl
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Founded: Feb 24, 2019
Democratic Socialists

Postby Thepeopl » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:10 am

Dyanderna wrote:First off, I would choose the Territories because no matter the situation there it will not be a monotonous existence.

A thing that interests me though is that with the people who don't want to be a part of the "utopia" because of the stripping down of emotions, once you're inside of the utopia and you have effectively become an emotionless robot then you wouldn't care about emotions whatsoever, all the gripes people are having due to things being stripped away theoretically wouldn't be as bad for the people who actually lived there.

Well, ask any bipolar person or other person on emotion suppressing drugs why they (mostly) don't like it.

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