Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What is politics? A science fiction answer

I used to make political buttons as a hobby. The first button I made was a commentary on how much people disparage politics and why I thought they were mistaken. The button expressed a mathematical formula: 2 or more people + a decision + a disagreement = politics.

This formula implies something important, that politics is found just about everywhere you find yourself when you're not alone.

It was about a decade ago when I came up with this formula, and I still think it's valid.

Well, as I worked on my in-progress novel Fisher King: Dancing Lance, sequel to Fisher King: Percival's Descent (, it evolved into a political thriller in a science fiction setting. I decided to let my own ideas about politics and economic theory filter into the book. How could I possibly leave out my formula? I couldn't.

What I decided to do was expand the formula into a fuller statement of what I though politics was and to showcase it as the opening paragraph of a fictitious book on politics that I would use as a device in the novel.

The simple formula evolved into this, a statement of my fundamental beliefs about politics:
What is politics? Politics is the encompassing term for what transpires under the following circumstances: two or more people, a joint decision to be made, and a disagreement. Life is unavoidably filled with politics. Accepting this brings happiness and empowerment, denying this brings misery and the sense that one is at the mercy of others.
The fictitious book is named The Party, inspired by Machiavelli's The Prince.  It is a supposedly ancient tome, written about a millennium into our future but about two millennia before the time of Dancing Lance.

I'm only about seven chapters into Dancing Lance, so I can't say much more on how politics will play out, other than I know there will be plenty of gamesmanship and intrigue with light-handed servings of cynicsm.

So long for now.