Learning Utopia and Dystopia from movie “The Giver”

Frankly , I am not familiar with the term Utopia and Dystopia before , especially if you ask me to explain what the meaning of these two terms and mention the difference. But lately , quite often the two words are brought up and discussed. I also find out the term in an online course that I attend in #Coursera . 

As an attempt to understand the notion of utopia and dystopia , I was reminded by one of the new movie that I watched , namely ” The Giver “


“The Giver” Movie Poster

















You can find out brief storyline about this movie on this link http://www.fandango.com/thegiver_171115/plotsummary

Or you can check the movie trailer here :

This movie is an adaptation of the bestselling teen novel in 1993 with the same name by Lois Lowry’s, that is being considered as a dystopian novel . Utopia and dystopia is more often appears in the science-fiction novel or movie, but it is not easy task to separate the two , because the line is very thin and both genres can have aspects of the other. 

Let us first see a glimpse of utopia and dystopia:

Utopia is understood as a condition and perfect state , community or society goes well , no pain , no poverty, no war , and everyone can do a good job or activity they like . The concept of Utopia in religious understanding we can interpret as heaven or paradise,while in the field of science , Utopia was conceived as advanced science and technology will abolish suffering and death. 

Imaginery Drawing of Utopia

Imaginary Drawing of Utopia


Otherwise, the opposite of utopia is dystopia , a condition in which humans live without humanity and live a life of fear . Conditions where crime is rampant , technology replaces humanity , negative social trends that brings nightmares , government control the freedom of its citizens, providing strict rules without giving room for any difference. 

Imaginary Drawing of Dystopia

Imaginary Drawing of Dystopia


The first question that arises when concerning the term utopia – dystopia from this film is; ” Do we have to choose one ? I mean, if we pick one then we will lose the others ? ” Or utopia and dystopia actually will always be together ? So we should embrace both of them with a combination of different degrees depending on how much we want ? 

That first question leading to other fundamental questions related to the movie, while the answer (in my opinion ) requires contemplation throughout life :

  1. The assumption of perfect life according to whom ?
  2. Whether the perfection of life can only be achieved by controlling everything including the weather ?
  3. Does a perfect world is a world that life full assisted by technology ?Or a world that is totally do not know of technology ?
  4. Are we able to reach the point of 100% utopia or 100% dystopia?
  5. Does emotion will always bring trouble, pain and chaos that must be suppressed by morning injection ?
  6. As the time passes and technology advancing, whether man will lose his humanity? 
  7. etc.

From this film I learned that there is no such thing as 100 % Utopia as well as 100 % Dystopia . Anything in this life , whether it is technology, or our life itself will always have two sides, the positive and the negative. Even our personalities can have a positive and negative side . Take ‘ sensitivity’ for example. People who have a high sensitivity on one side would be able to understand other people’s feelings and empathetic with them , but on the other hand , they are also more prone to take offense . 

So …. how should we respond to future that comes with two faces (the good and the bad)? Let’s take another simple example: we know hammer . Hammer can be use as tools to make great furniture, but the other hand it can be used to hurt other people or even kill people. In my opinion, in this world  risk will always exist . And we will always be confronted with choices. We take risks so we can get something , but at the same time we may also lose something . Likewise, the technology , on one hand the future will be much easier if we embrace it, but we might also have risk that technology will take over the humanity ( this risk is likely to occur ) .

But I strong believe as human we won’t  be able doing nothing. Despite knowing the risks we will face, in order to achieve a  better life (eg, finding a drug technology to overcome chronic disease), the risk will be taken to get us to better life.   For me personally , the movie ” The Giver ” give heavier load in moral and life lessons . The most viscous lesson that I learned from this movie is , when we choose ‘Life’ we must embrace all its aspects no matter good or bad . That’s what make us living! We can’t accept only the good but refuse to accept the bad.

Take risk, anticipate, striving to balance the two aspects, then we’re ready to embrace the future!