Dystopia is defined by the hierarchy of oppressors to oppressed.
A common running theme within all of the texts and medias we dissected throughout the semester is oppression. In every dystopian world we discussed, there were always two main groups – the oppressed and the oppressors. I have referenced Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression” throughout the semester because she highlights the sub-categories in the umbrella term oppression perfectly. When there is oppression, there is powerlessness, control, exploitation, surveillance, etc. In the dystopian movie, Planet of the Apes, the main plot of the movie was the oppression inflicted on the humans, by the apes.
But, I think the root of the oppression is the hunger of power. In Hobbes’ “Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery,” he talks about the power that man wants in order to feel secure and not endanger. He states, “there is no way for any man to secure himself so reasonable as anticipation, that is, by force or wiles to master the persons of all men he can so long till he see no other power great enough to endanger him…” Hobbes is stating that in order to feel secure, we must hold a certain degree of power. Hobbes continues, “…there be some that taking pleasure in contemplating their own power in the acts of conquest, which they pursue farther than their security requires.” Although the desire of power starts from wanting security, pride and ego start to seep in, which is the desire to have all the power.
When the want for power because more than just the need to feel secure, it results in stripping the majority of people from their basic rights and necessities, leaving them powerless, and creating the hierarchy of oppression, in which the bottom tiers have no sense of security and are under dictatived rule.