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With good attitudes, a dystopian end to civilisation is fantasy


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays and Journalism Category

I put forward a hypothesis that an unstructured society is a recipe for disaster. What do I mean by an unstructured society?

A fitting indication of an unstructured society is best exemplified in the lives and actions of the people.

If each of us were told to place Papua New Guinea at a point between utopia and dystopia (negative utopia), representing the two extremes of the continuum, there would be various responses.

And if someone were to write a dystopian novel of the eventual collapse of PNG, they would start with how well our society is structured. Mostly this is reflected in the lives and daily conduct of the people.  

In short, their attitudes in action: actions that reflect the diligent use of time, resources, and healthy relationships with others and the environment.  

Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of the international best seller The Power of the Now, talks about the addictive quality of modern technology and its gadgets.

He acknowledges the enormous possibilities that technology offers for connectedness, reaching people, getting messages to them and building a better future.

But he also offers a scenario of the same technology having the capacity to bring about a dystopian end to the world: its addictive effect preventing people from focusing attention on anything constructive.

Under this scenario there is death of creativity as people lose touch with their inner creative being, no longer finding creative solutions because the deeper place for creativity is no longer accessible.

In two or three generations, civilisation collapses.

This could be the plot of a dystopian novel if someone was interested in writing one says Eckhart, who in reality doubts our civilisation will ever face such a neat, bleak ending.

For now, like Eckhart, I doubt Papua New Guinea will ever face such a fate either.

I have before me the evidence of the increasing level of participation by Papua New Guineans in PNG Attitude and our contributions on topical subjects for the Crocodile Prize and elsewhere.

There are many assurances that such dystopian ending is highly unlikely in our lifetime and the generations ahead.

Yet I still think that, if technologies do not destroy us, our poor attitudes just might sometime into the future.


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