At the top of my list for inspirational science fiction, you will find Frank Herbert’s magnum opus, Dune. On the surface, it is a story of loss and revenge set in a feudal-futurist, almost anti-cyberpunk setting. It’s an interesting concept, but not, perhaps, worth the acclaim it receives. But underneath is a deeper story about human nature, and the way in which a human mind is awakened. That is what most fascinates me. That is what makes the book worthy of critical acclaim.
Paul Atreides, son of a powerful nobleman, may have been blessed with favorable talents and genetics, but he was not awakened. He had to go into the desert, and be forced to live on the margins, in order to become the Kwisatz Haderach and unseat the ruling Emperor.
There’s a truth buried in that that deserves some attention. The very poor of the world seldom have the opportunity to become self-actualized. Their lives are so consumed with survival and basic needs that all else fades in importance. A Somali living in his third-world toilet would kill you for your shoes. Everything that has been invested in you would be lost because he wants your Nikes. Civilization cannot long survive such activity.
On the other side of that coin, you find the very rich and powerful. There’s a peculiar breed of stupidity that can only be found among wealthy, famous, or otherwise insulated individuals. Call it Jane Fonda disease, in which the most blatant and obvious contradictions can be believed by these people because they will suffer no consequences. A wealthy celebrity can say “nobody needs guns” precisely because she lives in her mansion, far removed from criminal elements, with guards willing to die for her posted outside. “Let them eat cake” is the mantra of such people. They cannot self-actualize because they face no real hardship in life. Xerxes may whip the sea, but he gains no obedience, or insight, from doing so.
It is in between these two extremes that the mind can awaken. When you are close enough to failure to feel it and know it, you cannot ignore reality without consequence. Yet, at the same time, you have enough of a margin against complete failure that you can afford time and luxury to genuinely think about the world around you. You don’t need to kill a random stranger for his shoes to avoid having your own fall off due to disease. Instead, you might talk to him, learn from him, and advance yourself accordingly.
If you are Paul Atreides, living the good life, you must go into the desert to find the risk needed to awaken yourself. But note this also applies to the special college snowflakes carefully insulated from the consequences of their own actions. There’s a reason tenured professors are often utter madmen, completely at odds with any notion of objective reality. SJWs, of course, are even worse. Participation trophy culture has prevented any form of self-actualization from developing in these people.
If you’re a regular middle-class American, you’ve no worries… the rapacious Obama economy has already provided you with all the risk you need to become fully aware of the world around you. If you haven’t been awakened yet, there is little I can do to convince you.
The problem you see in America today is that special snowflakes are in increasing abundance, and in their stupidity, they are impoverishing the rest of us. If America crosses a certain threshold of poverty, it will become a country of “I’ll kill you for your shoes.” That also prevents the awakening of the mind.
Which may, in the end, be exactly what the people running things want.