You don’t realise you’re living a dystopian future until after the fact.

Ironic if you think about it.

Actually, I suppose it was more of a dystopian present.  It was kind of hard to swallow when I realised. I spluttered and I muttered until I blew away my shattered illusions and saw the world clearly for once.

By then it was too late, of course. Not that I could have done anything to stop it beforehand. The survivalist in me just likes to be prepared.

There was a path to destruction that we followed blindly, hindsight lighting the road ahead of us years too late. I think it was unavoidable for the longest time. What was it that author said – a crowd is only as intelligent as it’s stupidest member?

Too many people making too many bad decisions, those mostly being to hand leadership to other people who carry on making bad decisions. Not that we often heard too much about it. There was a covert media blackout going on. The state made sure we heard what they wanted us to hear. Wars were happening in the world but the wider public were force-fed select bits of information and anyone who dared to offer a more complicated view was shouted down as extremist. Images were recycled and packaged as yet another new development in tasteless conflict.

I happily took this all in, trusted what I was told and never looked any further because as long as it wasn’t happening around me there was no need to get involved. Not a nice way to think but I wasn’t the only one.

Then there were all these stories being planted everywhere. Little bits of intelligence crafted meticulously by the masters of deception, throwing up confusion and scepticism wherever the roots took hold.

If you were of the disposition to go and find the truth it was a damned difficult task. Of the same mythical stature as the Holy Grail.

Now I think about it, it was all a bit too much like that 1984 book. That sent cold shivers down my spine when I read it. How an entire nation could be so easily herded into such a dark future was beyond me. Apparently it was easier than it looked.

The mistrust was no longer just between citizens and the media, it seeped between countries and their respective people. Random attacks on streets, torrential rants raining down on social media; you never quite knew where it was going to come from next.

In the end they withdrew from each other. Relationships broke down, partnerships faltered and fractious allies drifted apart. Globalisation crumbled and took the tenuous peace that most countries enjoyed with it.

Industries grew stagnant and money disappeared into the abyss. Rich countries grew poor, poor countries grew even poorer. No one was happy and global overcrowding only made it worse. War broke out, unsurprisingly.

But this is where we started to educate ourselves. This is when we realised that something wasn’t quite adding up. Stories were changed and previously innocent countries were implicated in terrible war crimes that now, suddenly, seemed to involve our own people.

Things we knew as children were forgotten.

Of course, as soon as we turned on each that’s when everything fell apart. International conflict led to civil conflict, that led to unrest and discontent. What happened from there? Well that belongs to the depths of history.

We lost everything. The digital age, the age of information, fell. We were finally unhooked from the internet and our pooled knowledge was lost. Rarely did books survive the chaos and now we live without guidance. All except the most recent history forgotten.

World powers were powerless. We were in the Dark Ages, literally and figuratively. Without the internet to source our knowledge and a severe shortage of experts in anything we would have to relearn everything. Including how to hook the power back up.

The dystopian future looked a lot like the past. Anything could happen and anything often did. Everything else was taken away but we had hope, hope that we’d rebuild ourselves, get our knowledge back and read the signs better the second time round. Hope that, one day, we’d get it right.