The Dangers of Conformity
I've been watching "The Man in the High Castle" on Amazon Prime, a fantastic series based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick.
This alternate history story is about life in the United States in 1962, 15 years after the Allies lost World War II to Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire.
The Nazis control the eastern half of the U.S. (the "American Reich") and the Japanese control the western seaboard (the "Japanese Pacific States"). There's also a neutral zone that roughly consists of the Rocky Mountain states.
To suggest the story is dystopian would be an insult to dystopian societies - it's downright frightening. In my view, what is most frightening about the story is just how realistic it seems. In other words, it does not require stretching the imagination to envision these events taking place.
Above all else, the most terrifying characteristic of life in any part of the U.S. is the level of conformity Americans sink to just to survive. It's understandable to a point - both governments rule with a dogmatically iron hand, and to resist means either living a miserable life underground as part of a feckless rag-tag resistance or being tortured and killed.
All of this has me thinking about the dangers of conformity. The reason the Nazis and the Japanese successfully rule over the majority of an enormous U.S. population is not just because of their oppression but is more so because Americans rolled over and conformed to their new reality.
So often in life, we sit quietly and passively accepting our current realities, no matter how uncomfortable and unsatisfying they are. Why? Really, why?