Most people have an Orwellian view of dystopia. If society shifts into a miserable set of circumstances, most people think it’ll be similar to what George Orwell wrote about in 1984. Government control. Cameras always watching us. The truth being hidden from us. And yes, there are some elements of that throughout the world — and in places like North Korea, a considerable amount of it — but that’s not the vision that’s currently “winning”.
At the moment, society is closer to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, so the issues within his book are more relevant to our current situation. The basic gist of the differences between the books can be summarised as:
Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
As you can see in the comic at the bottom of this post, there’s lots of reasons to believe that Huxley was right. Technology and entertainment begs and encourages constant, and instant gratification, leaving us in a near-endless state of craving pleasure, and tearing us from what are, ultimately, more satisfying pursuits.
That’s not to say we’re actually in a dystopia, but it’s easy to see how life can descend into something extremely vapid without being careful. If you don’t want that to happen, read the comic, then read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. That’s the book the comic is based on, and which covers this topic in much greater detail.
Of course, doing nothing but reading something won’t have much of a lasting impact. But an awareness of what living a shallow life is like might just provide you with the foresight to avoid that sort of existence for yourself. Or at least, I hope it will.