Why does The Christmas Carol still influence us? It has been translated into several languages and adpated for film, stage, and opera.
Charles Dickens wrote the story as a novella in 1843 as a commentary on the disparity of wealth and power in London. As the story unfolds, it also shows the transforming power of love as Scrooge becomes a more loving, caring man.
Has anything changed in the past 174 years? There is still, even today in our technically advanced society, a disparity of wealth and power. We have homeless families. We have a minimum wage that barely allows anyone to live a quality of life.
What has changed? Not much.
Will anything change in the future?
Look forward into the world of Star Trek where war, hunger and want has been abolished. At least in theory. Money has been abolished. Everyone has a purpose with the goal of becoming the best person they can. Technology, in the form of replicators, can provide everyone with a good, hot meal. Travel from one place to another is done with transporters, rather than trains or airplanes.
In that ideal world will everyone be treated equally? Fairly?
The answer to that question is simple – I don’t know. No one does.
Throughout human history there has always been a disparity of wealth and power. The haves and have nots. Will a highly technically advanced society make a difference?
Maybe, if there is some outside influence that also eliminates the ebb and flow of politics.
As long as there are human beings, however, there will always be some form of hierarchy. Someone will always be in power, and will want to consolidate that power to a chosen few.
Is there a solution? I’m not sure. Maybe, if we design an artificial intelligence that manages everything on our behalf free of greed and the drive for power, maybe we will be able to create an “ideal” society.
Even if we did create such a social order would there still be detractors? Of course. Would there still be a disparity of wealth and power (however they may be defined at the time)? Absolutely. Will there still be protesters? Yup.
Where human beings are concerned, there is no such thing as an ideal society. I imagine that, in the year 2217 Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol will still be told, and its point of view still ring true because it touches on the truth of the human condition.
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