The Failed Foreign Founding

In attempting to come up with something for a foreign founder themed blog post, I ended up finding a plethora of examples, but very few radically fresh ones.  Some of the more ridiculous sounding ones, without explanation, came from Futurama, the Simpsons, and South Park, but those would involve watching some of that show to understand so I threw them out.  In addition, Dr. Who has already been discussed (why didn’t I think of that first!), but I will attempt to shake things up with one other foreign founder’ish example that I found: Brave New World.

I can’t be sure that anyone has read Brave New World, so here’s a very, very quick summary.  Read the book, it’s better than it will sound after the next paragraph.  Needless to say, spoiler alert!

Set in a future, dystopian society, the world is now united into one “World State” under which there is supreme prosperity because the population is limited and controlled stringently.  Natural child-birth is non-existent, instead children are “grown” to fulfill certain jobs (eg. certain children are poisoned so their mental capacity is stunted leading to them being perfect mindless workers, while others are fostered to be geniuses that can run government and scientific facilities).  In addition, the lower caste children are not individuals, instead having up to a hundred or so identical twins made of them in order to stamp out individuality and they are sleep-conditioned into complacency.  There is much more going on, but I’m already writing too much (I loooove this book) so this should be enough.  Through complicated circumstances, a rare outsider (named John) from a “savage preserve” (basically a zoo where world staters can watch normal humans) is allowed into the World State to experience it and to be treated as a circus freak in turn.  In coming to the society, he attempts to take the role of the foreign founder and force the mindless, conditioned hordes to act individually and break away from their assigned roles.  Ending spoilers!!  He ultimately fails in this endeavor and runs away from the society, yet it will not leave him alone causing him to commit suicide.

This is definitely not a textbook example, but I chose it because it shows another way a founding can go horribly wrong.  The largest incongruity is that John comes from the savages, a group that is already known by the world state, yet he knows nothing about what he will soon become a part of (just vague fairy tales told by the other “savages” on the reserve as he grew up).  In a perfect example, he would fall out of the sky, surprising both of theme equally.

Regardless, this foreign founding is one where the people are so set in their ways that they are not willing or even interesting in the help that is offered by the foreign founder.  This doesn’t particularly fit completely with the other foreign founder myths, though I linked it most fully with Freud’s “Bad Father” myth.  While John doesn’t will harm against the society, I propose that Freud’s myth doesn’t necessarily require a completely “evil” founder, it just requires one that is attempting to eliminate the society’s way of life in a forceful way that the society does not will itself (aka. a founder that seems evil).  From their perspective, however skewed this may sound from our perspective, John was a “natural born” freak who was at first a matter of interest but became a threat as he attempted to force his beliefs on the society.  Seeing the founding from the perspective of people who completely share his ideas to the core of our being and concept of humanity, it is hard to think of his failed founding as evil.  However, in line with Freud’s idea, the people do (in their own way) kill the foreign founder yet against his founder it is implied they continue living they way they did before meeting John leading to this being a failed founding, a type of result that isn’t explored by any of the three models.

Regardless, I thought this was an intriguing example of a foreign founder (failed or not).

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