During ‘lockdown version 4’, I’ve been watching a brilliant made for TV series called: The Man in the High Castle. It’s a superb adaptation of Philip Dick’s 1962 novel of the same name. I haven’t read the book but the TV adaptation is stunning.
It’s a dystopian alternate history depicting a parallel universe where the two major powers of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan rule the world together after their victory in WW2. In this parallel universe, the German Reich and Imperial Japan have divided the USA into the Nazi Reich in the East, with New York as the capital city, and the Japanese Pacific States to the West with San Francisco as its capital city. Between them lies the Neutral Zone.
Dystopian ‘perspectives’ always contain a large measure of injustice and suffering, unlike utopian perspectives, but in The Man in the High Castle, there are some truly beautiful people with equally beautiful ethics.
I won’t say any more, but if you like dystopian stories full of intrigue and surprises, I highly recommend it. But my reason for writing about it, is that it got me thinking about alternate histories.
What if Ridley Scott produced an alternate history starting around 33CE? What if, Jesus’s confrontation with the Temple leaders and corrupt system had resulted in them saying something like: “You know what, I think he’s onto something. Why don’t we listen to him and change how we do things around here”?
What if, instead of being crucified for being a trouble-maker, Jesus was appointed as the High Priest and commenced an agenda of serious religious and social reform?
What if, the Jesus Movement never morphed into early Christianity, but instead Judaism discovered a fresh understanding of YHWH and fulfilled its original calling – to be a spiritual light to the nations. Where justice was respected. Compassion was paramount. Where the love of neighbor underpinned every social policy on earth and inclusion became the priority of the day.
Oh well, it’s good to dream. But what a great TV series that would make.