A Death Knell for Utopia

Utopian visions have caught the imagination of some of the greatest minds in history, and formed a theme that has been echoed in historic libraries around the world. We have Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, an unparalleled publishing of nearly 100 utopian fantasies between 1875 and 1905, and more recently the publishing of Fukuyama’s ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, in which he says that the future will simply be managing past ideas. Most now agree that ‘the end of history’ reflected no more than a mood at the time. In fact it’s no coincidence that each utopian vision is eventually discredited. A state of universal perfection is a backward concept. It belongs with the absolutes of Newtonian physics; not with society past the teachings of Einstein. What’s perfect to one person is an abomination to another. And what is perfect to someone at age 40 may be an abomination to that same person aged 50.

So in fact there is no such thing as a true Utopia. However there are such things as ideals, and as such the closest we will ever get to utopia is a state of constant reform, adaptation and evolution.

Do you agree? Is the mood today one that will result in a death knell for the continued publishing of utopian visions?

One comment

  • I think you’re probably right.

    It seems that the only people who publish manifesto’s these days are demented folk.

    Ideas of Improvements and Betterments are very common, either in literature or cinema or music. But these are ideas, not instruction manuals.

    As stated above, I think for somebody to publish a how-to, step by step guide, to a better civilization is probably a reflection on the person, and not on society.

    Of course, if the mood of society changes and publishers think that a book like that might sell, then I’m sure some will be published.

    It would require a significant and unlikely shift in society though.

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