Leave a reply The following piece was contributed by Sasha S. This article is in line with this passion by highlighting how Thomas More, a saint of the Catholic Church, was able to create a utopic society following a life of Epicurean hedonism.
The word utopia was coined by Thomas More — as the name of the island described in his Libellus vere aureus nec minus salutaris quam festivus de optimo reip[ublicae] statu, deq[ue] noua Insula Vtopia While More wrote in Latin, he based his new word on Greek.
More combined topos place or where with u or ou no or not to create nowhere, but in "Six Lines on the Island of Utopia," part of the larger work, he suggests that the word eutopia, or good place, is a better descriptor.
Thus, from the time of More's original coinage, the word utopia has been conflated with eutopia to mean a nonexistent good place. The word utopia entered Western languages quickly—the book was translated into German inItalian inFrench inEnglish inand Dutch inand the word itself often entered these languages before the book was translated.
In the eighteenth century, the word dystopia was first used to characterize a nonexistent bad place, but the word did not become standard usage until the mid-twentieth century. While More coined the word and invented the genre of literature that grew from the book, he was not the first to imagine the possibility of a society better than the one currently existing and to describe such a society.
Examples of such imaginings can be found in ancient Sumer, classical Greek, and Latin literaturethe Old TestamentBuddhismConfucianism, and Hinduismamong other predecessors.
While it is no longer possible to see utopia as a product of the Christian West, the role of utopia in Christianity has long been an area of dispute. Edenthe millennium, and heaven all have clear utopian elements, but the extent to which they can be achieved through human action is open to dispute.
The Fall and the resultant emphasis on sinful human nature has led some commentators to view utopia as anti-Christian and heretical.
Human beings are simply not capable of a utopia in this life. But other commentators, like the theologian Paul Tillich — and the founders of Liberation Theology, have argued that utopia is central to any understanding of the social message of Christianity.
Expressions of Utopianism Today dreaming of or imagining better societies is usually called "utopianism," and utopianism can be expressed in a variety of ways. Utopian literature, the creation of intentional communities or communes, formerly called utopian experiments, and utopian social theory are the most commonly noted forms in which utopianism is expressed, but there are other means of expressing utopianism, such as the design of ideal cities.
Utopian literature is most common in the English-speaking world, with particularly strong traditions in Englandthe United Statesand New Zealand. BrazilFranceGermanyGreeceItaly, Russiaand Spanish America also have strong utopian traditions, and we now know that there are substantial utopian traditions in other European countries and in the non-Western world.
The strongest non-Western utopian tradition is found in Chinabut such traditions exist throughout the Middle East and in India and Southeast Asia ; there are also developing utopian traditions in various African countries.
Even Japanwhich was once thought to have no such tradition, has recently been shown by young Japanese scholars to have one. Although early scholarship in the field treated utopias from all times and places as if they were alike, these utopian literatures differ from each other in significant ways, and national and cultural differences are now recognized.
Also, as a direct result of the influence of feminist scholarship, we are now more aware of both the similarities and differences found in utopias written by men and woman, and recently such awareness has been extended to differences and similarities based on ethnicity, race, religion, and other such characteristics.
From its earliest expression to the present, a basic human utopia is found in which everyone has adequate food, shelter, and clothing gained without debilitating labor and in which people lead secure lives without fear of, in early versions, wild animals, and in later versions, other human beings.
But these basic elements are expressed in different ways in different times and places and also reflect individual concerns; as a result, the range of utopias present throughout history is immense.
Much utopian literature, particularly the dystopian, has been marketed as science fictionand one minor scholarly controversy had some arguing that utopias were a subgenre of science fiction and others arguing that historically it was the other way around.
In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, there was clearly an intellectual as well as a marketing overlap with the most prolific writers of utopias, like Ursula K.
In Scraps of the Untainted SkyTom Moylan carefully considers the relationships between utopia, dystopia, and science fiction. Scholarship on utopian literature increased in both quantity and quality in the s and s with the publication of definitional essays by Lyman Tower Sargent and Darko Suvin that helped clarify the conceptual muddle; bibliographies by Arthur O.
Manuel, Tom Moylan, and Kenneth M. Roemer that rewrote the history of utopian literature. A major contribution to our understanding of the changes utopias were undergoing was Moylan's development in Demand the Impossible of the "critical utopia.
A central concern in the critical utopia is the awareness of the limitations of the utopian tradition, so that these texts reject utopia as a blueprint while preserving it as a dream. Furthermore, the novels dwell on the conflict between the originary world and the utopian society opposed to it so that the process of social change is more directly articulated.
Finally, the novels focus on the continuing presence of difference and imperfection within the utopian society itself and thus render more recognizable and dynamic alternatives.
The dystopia uses the depiction of a usually extrapolated negative future as a means of warning the present to change its behavior. The message of the dystopia is that if the human race continues in the direction it is now heading, this is what will happen.
The dystopia, thus, has a positive element in that it suggests the possibility of change.
In this, the dystopia is in the tradition of the Jeremiad, or a work modeled on the Book of Jeremiah, in which a condemnation of contemporary behavior and a warning of retribution also holds out hope of improvement if the warning is heeded.
Although there were precursors, the dystopia came to prominence through four works: They were concerned with the effects of the dominant ideologies of the twentieth century and each raised the question of the potential danger of a utopia based on one of these ideologies being imposed on some country.
Such works continued to be written, albeit rarely as well, throughout the rest of the century. Later the dystopia was applied to other areas. Two works by John Brunner — are outstanding examples: Stand on Zanzibarfocusing on the effects of overpopulation, and The Sheep Look Upfocusing on the effects of pollution.Utopian thinking is dangerous because it motivates people to do anything and everything in service of its admittedly impossible goal.
Humans have striven for Utopia for thousands of years, and for just as long, charlatans, evil people, and human nature itself have led them astray. Innumerable Crimes. Utopia Essay Examples. A Look at How the Utopian Society Viewed Religion.
1, words. 3 pages. A Look at the Existence of Utopian World as Depicted in Utopia by Thomas More. words. 2 pages. The Title Hints in the Book Utopia. 1, words. 4 pages. A Description of Utopia Which Was First Inverted in by Sir More Thomas.
Apr 26, · This comparative structure, found between Thomas More’s two books of Utopia, poses the country of Utopia opposite the broader communities of world civilization.
Despite the comparison of Utopia as distinct from and morally better than widespread society, . Utopian thinking is dangerous because it motivates people to do anything and everything in service of its admittedly impossible goal.
The term comes from Thomas More’s famous work, Utopia, if "utter perfection" is the current chaotic imperfections of life then aren't we already living in a utopian existence? The Federation of Planets, in the Star Trek Universe is a utopian society. The individual stories feature threats to that society or discovery of places and people outside of that utopia.
But, that's the crux of the reason that stories don't feature "exclusively utopian societies". Stories need. 1. Introduction “Throughout more than four hundred years a book called Utopia, written in by an Englishman named Thomas More, has been read by thousands of people in dozens of countries- usually, it seems, with fascination and enthusiasm.