Utopia or Dogma?

The fiction and non-fiction of exploring human happiness.

Chapters four and five of my philosophy book deal with the ethics and politics of psychotype theory – the theory that we are all born with a set of information filters for communicating with our environment and which, consequently, influence what we find important, how we learn, how we relate to authority and community, how we interpret abstract words, the emotions we feel, our beliefs, our sense of justice and everything else that is related to our inner person and how it survives the world of ‘others’.

The chapters have been given the names Typotopia and Typocracy, mostly because I wanted to explain what they are about in one word and because everything in the book is related to “type”.

Typotopia looks at the needs of individuals and what accepting that people are born with a different psychology means for the development of their healthy self-identity and their freedom, obligation and expression in the social group. In other words, it looks at the requirements for an ideal place; ideal in the sense that every type of person (that is all 16 psychological types) must feel respected and deserving and to have their needs met, so they can grow up feeling happy.

It is therefore no personal ideal, like those described by writers of utopias, who paint the best possible scenario from their point of view, and simply assume that everybody else must also consider such a life ideal. The criticism that usually befalls such books can be taken as evidence that this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I love those books.

Typocracy then takes that picture and explores how a typocratic (as opposed to democratic) society would be able to function. In other words, it takes a look at the social institutions (education, judicial, government, economy) and paints a scenario in which each of those is run with our inborn psychological differences in mind.

Thus, what I try to do, being aware of the different perspectives and needs of the different personality types, is see if it would be possible to create a “type friendly world”, a world that respects all typed of people, even if they are all different.

Like I said above, “justice” for example, is something people feel inside. It is not something objective, but we all feel a different sense of justice. So how would we be able to live together and still respect all those different senses? How, for example, would you deal with crime? Would there be crime? What would we consider crime?

But no matter how enjoyable speculating such ideals is, philosophical theory is still non-fiction.

But at times, philosophers take a more fictional approach; they invent scenarios that allow us to imagine what we would do in a certain situation, which they call a thought experiment. Usually, these ‘experiments’ are short exercises that require the thinker to deliberate over possible outcomes, in which the most logical answer is put forward as a resolution to the philosophical argument. But sometimes we need more than just logical outcomes. Sometimes we need to create a whole new world or large-scale scenario. That is where science fiction comes in with wonderful TV programs like “The Future is Wild” and “Evacuate Earth”.

But there are also scenarios that require that we consider more than just nature. In situations where we are dealing with people’s motivations and how they live together, we need to include their perceptions and their emotions and that is what my science fiction series does.

In essence, it takes the same perspective as my Typotopia and Typocracy chapters, but now we have characters with a history and experiences and prejudices and ideals that are not all the same and with different personalities. Not only do they all live on the same planet, but a large number of them decides to go on a space journey and start a new colony, so that they have to survive the journey (without killing each other) and create a new society that is better than the one they left behind. And they all know exactly how to do that. They are all like the utopia writers I mentioned above; each with their own ideal and equally determined to see it through. The only problem, of course, is that all their ideals are different.

And that is what human conflict is all about. We don’t need bad people to create problems; all you need is clashing personalities and each with the best of intentions.

But there is another aspect to the story. The planet they leave behind, which will appear a little bit dystopian in the eyes of today’s reader, is dogmatic and rigid. The problem is that their rigid social structure is based on type differences. In the course of their history, somebody actually managed to introduce psychological differences and they were adopted in several places. But over time, those running the place lost sight of the importance of being different and diverse, and started using it to pre-select children for certain jobs and social positions. Those who belonged to ‘controversial’ personality types, naturally ended up at the bottom of the social ladder.

They, more than anything, are determined to make sure that will never happen again. And since half the colonists are convicts, that makes their peaceful society a whole lot more difficult.

My question at the start of the book – because all my fiction starts with questions, which the characters then answer over the course of my writing – was whether they would be able to make it better or is every ideal doomed to dogma? Is my philosophy, my goal of creating a type friendly world, possible? Will we be able to create a world in which we prevent the natural tendency of groups to return to dogma?

 

 

 

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Autonomous Individual

I am a writer for social progress and a positive future for all the people in the world. My books are based on a deep understanding of group psychology and what motivates individual people. This understanding includes the notion that not every reader will be able to accept my books.

To create a better world, change is needed; we need to change some things we are today taking for granted, even if we believe that those things are dear to us. Change cannot happen in a stagnant and dogmatic world. My job, as a writer, is to wake up the masses to the need for change.

It is well known that all innovative ideas get a lot of resistance, because most people will not accept something until it is confirmed by their environment. Novel ideas usually require a tipping point – a point at which enough people accept it for it to start spreading, sometimes aided by support from a celebrity or authority. Of course, soon after this acceptance, it tends to become dogma, because these same masses want everybody to believe what they do, so that the few who still resist the idea are dismissed as much as the originators of the idea were.

That is because, by their very nature, most people take things at face value and judge according to the current beliefs without putting them in context. Consequently, they’ll get indignant if you even suggest they might have believed differently only a decade ago. Good examples are ideas about ethnic and gender equality and, more recently, sexual orientation equality, as well as notions about beauty. And not only social ideas, but scientific ideas, like the environmental issues, need a tipping point.

Consequently, speaking out for innovative ideas or against the way the world functions today, tends to not be welcomed – especially not by those who are doing well in today’s world; those in power and those who naturally follow or are quite cosy not thinking about social change.

In short, if a writer for social change wants to have an impact, the reader needs to be ready to be woken up. They need to be able to reconsider the beliefs and truths they have grown up with, and to suspend judgment. People who are used to getting their opinions from their environment or from authority – even if they are not always aware of that – will feel an inner resistance to reading what opposes such notions.

My books are written to achieve a re-evaluation of our norms and values. Readers who are not, by nature, autonomous individuals, will feel uncomfortable reading my books. It makes no difference what age you are, because this is part of your personality. Some adults will not grasp the underlying message of my stories, while an 11-year-old of the right personality will get it instantly. I am therefore not hereby making accusations or dismissing the people who naturally follow or don’t like social change. I am only saying, you might not like my books:

In the Real World follows two 16-year-old cousins, who, when trying to make sense of real world issues like war and human rights, find themselves in conflict with their school about obedience and uniforms. Although it starts on Anzac Day, the story could be set in any location, as it deals not with the actions of war, but with the emotions of it – emotions that exist in all people.

The protagonist of Soup and Bread is Vonnie, a healthy 11-year-old, whose carefree life is disrupted when Mum decides she had enough of fussy eaters, and the new boy at school accuses her of being a bystander to the bullying. After a confrontation with serious health and food problems in other children, Vonnie learns that she can use her own “lucky” body and mind to speak out for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Lohland follows Kaie, who turns from an easy-going 13-year-old into an obnoxious teen when his parents decide to move to the independent city state of Lohland – which lies two hundred meters below sea level in a time when “global warming is real” – and which means he has to give up his comfortable home, his language, his calendar and the celebrations he is used to. But his boycott ends when he discovers the architecture and engineering works needed to keep his new home safe from global warming. Could he help make a positive difference for the future?

 The Happiness Inquisition is a novella, primarily written for adults, but suitable for age eleven and up. It begins with the victim of an act of child abuse being admitted to hospital and, through the eyes of five point of view characters, each of whom has a role to play in the events that lead to the tragedy, deals with the judgment of a society that thrives on guilt induction.

Of a Note in a Cosmic Song is the title of a five-part science fiction novel that spans eight years in the lives of a large group of space colonists. From the heartbreak of deciding to leave their planet, through the cabin fever of space travel and the desperation of the political and environmental unrest of their arrival upon their new home, the books take the reader with the colonists on a high-tech journey from the oppressive planet DJar to the mysterious and eerie Kun DJar. No matter how advanced, it takes more than technology to colonize a whole new world.

All eBooks are currently on sale and can be purchased directly through the links provided, both ePub and Kindle format. Print copies can be ordered directly via my website, but they are priced to include shipping costs from New Zealand.

Thank you for reading.

Social Science Fiction

This weekend is the Armageddon convention in Wellington. I have managed to get a stall with two other Indie Writers and look forward to sharing my books and my interest in science fiction with so many other people.

So this post is here to help explain a little about my story.

Of a Note in a Cosmic Song is social science fiction – its main focus is on the topics of the social sciences, although it does feature some technology, ecology, geology and biology.

The story follows a group of 8000 colonists as they decide to leave their home planet (DJar) to embark on a four year journey on a most luxurious space ship (SJilai) to the nearest inhabitable planet (Kun DJar) to start a new life.

They are prepared for everything; they have relearned old trades, brought equipment to restart technology, supplies to restart growing and raising food (seeds, bee larvae and fish eggs) and their entire knowledge library on disk, ready to be transferred to paper in case the technology is slow to start. They know as much as they can know about their new home and it looks lush and stable. They are convinced that they have reached a level of technology to make this colony work and they have thought of everything…

Except that colonization IS about people.

That is the premise of the books, sparked by the notion that today’s scientists so easily refer to our technology to promise a better future without considering the human factor. If you load 8000 people on a space ship, they cannot all agree about the way the new society should function or how it should be ruled. And those who do not get a say will try and make their opinion heard another way. Or they get angry… and angry people can destroy technology and food supplies. Add some convicts the old planet wanted to get rid of, and you add more problems. And what if the winters are extremely long, the planet not as colony friendly as they’d hoped and nothing there is predictable by the scientific knowledge of the home planet… what if the native life forms have a mind of their own?

All those issues play throughout the books and in following eight point of view characters and getting to know many more of them, the reader is sure to feel close to some and unable to understand others.

And isn’t that what life is about? About getting along despite being different? About being people? Our western world has forgotten about the human factor in their drive for science and knowledge, technology and facts, just as many science fiction fans have forgotten that there is more to science than ideology, fancy technology and empirical data; that the danger to colonization does not come from aliens and cannot be solved by battle or quests, but from the colony itself.

Any colonization attempt should take the human factor under consideration. Those that do not are sure to fail.

 

Treyak - art.jpg

For more detail see www.nonentiti.com