“The sheep that thinks becomes a danger to itself and others” (83, Towfik)
When one begins thinking of power and knowledge, many things come to come mind, in mine I think of hierarchies, education, wealth, etc… But I can never underestimate the power of knowledge, for it is something I will always carry and have with me; my mind continuously expanding into an abyss of facts, words, history, anything and everything I have gotten my hands on.
But often, one can may believe they have seen and read it all, that all the knowledge they have obtained is enough. When in reality, it’s only restricted them from going beyond what they could possibly ever know.
The novel “Utopia,” written by Ahmed Khalid Towfik, translated by Chip Rossetti, sets the tone of an eerie and painstakingly realistic dystopian society, where the people are divided in two. The wealthy and the poor, the humans and the vermin’s they call rats and dogs, ‘them’ and the ‘others.’
Broken apart and falling into an abyss, the ones they call the ‘others’, are devastatingly poor, hanging onto whatever life they can. While as ‘them,’ united and fortified – survived all odds and lived off of the backs of the rest; separating territory and making boundaries of where each should reside. Shutting those of poverty outside the gate, and allowing freedom for those enclosed.
It’s unfortunate really, for they think that because they have so much freedom, that sex, drugs, violence, etc… could fill the unmistakingly void of nothingness within them. Little do they know, that’s all they’re ever allowed to do. For “not a single things exists that you can learn any more,” mainly because “there’s nothing of interest in those books” (7, Towfik).
It shows the way in which their government and society have manipulated their starving of life citizens. Showing them that this is solely what they need, that this is what they will get.
Besides, “[they] have everything there is to know” correct? (93, Towfik)
The people believe that they are content with what they are able to do within their society, for at the end of the day, they are still the free ones. Protected from the outside impoverished world, there is nothing more to know than what there already is.
But what the people fail to realize, is that they aren’t “prepared for a moment to abandon all that” (92, Towfik). Mainly due to the fact that if they were, they would’ve already challenged their government, but they don’t and they won’t. For they have no true reason to, as long as their luxorious lifestyle remains intact, that’s all that matters.
Uproar, resistance, all possibilities of those living on the outside, for “all these people believe that one of their sons will change everything” (90, Towfik). Maybe changing the system, the economic and social imbalances is just what this world is in need of.