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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

How would Utopia even work?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7894points) September 19th, 2013

So I read Utopia by Sir Thomas More recently for school, and it got me thinking about this ideal world More wrote about.
As regards to employment, everyone would learn a trade or two and choose which one to ply, depending on which they liked better or what the economy called for.
It seems that the slaves in Utopia were the ones doing dirty work.
But how could it be a Utopia when there’s hardly any freedom of choice?
You choose from a few trades which ones you’d most like to do. What if one wanted to become a teacher? (That was never addressed in the book.)
Houses would all be the same; cities would all be mostly uniform.
What exactly is Utopia? Is it a place where everything is equal? A place where everyone is happy, getting what they want? Is it possible to have both? The people in Utopia were apparently happy, their employment was fulfilling, and they were all equal. But I wonder if this perceived happiness was contentment rather than pure happiness.

What are your thoughts on Utopia and on how “utopic” it really is?

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10 Answers

snowberry's avatar

I never read the book, or if I did, it’s too long ago to remember, but what you describe sounds a lot like communism to me.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@snowberry It does, doesn’t it? If you want to read it, you could find the text anywhere free online.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“A place where everyone is happy, getting what they want?”

That doesn’t even happen in heaven… hence the fall of Lucifer.

“Is it a place where everything is equal?”

Impossible. Ice cream and Sushi are not equals.

My idea of Utopia is a society where everyone pursues whatever career they wish, with no regard to payment. There will be those who want to build rockets, and those who want to sweep the gutters. Both are needed, yet an argument could be made that gutter sweepers are actually needed more.

You want to lie on the couch and waste your life away, then be my guest. You will be provided for just as much as the person who made the couch. But your kind will go extinct very soon because it will lack fulfillment. Perhaps one or two generations, and the freeloader couch potatoes will vanish. So will the drug addicts. Soon enough, lives will be lived upon the merit of curiosity, contribution and accomplishment, rather than monetary reward or extravagant comfort.

The virtues won from truth and compassion will trump the virtues won through deception and greed.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It can’t work, and it won’t work.

The way that it is described in the book, their society is very, very close to the planned society in Brave New World (Huxley) and there are some huge parallels to the way that Communism (the theoretical “ideal” communism) is often described.

A planned economy where everyone has his “role” is not freedom, at all. It is regimentation and (albeit at a higher level) slavery. Further, in this sort of “everyone is happy” society, there is no incentive for people to perform well, because there is no societal reward for doing so. This utopia is a breeding ground for stagnancy.

It also discounts human nature. Yes, some people like being automatons. But many more are capable of thinking for themselves and being creative and dreaming dreams. In this sort of regimented society, that’s not possible.

So it sure isn’t MY idea of utopia.

Coloma's avatar

Hey, I’m up for it. I’ll raise chinese geese, bamboo and veggies. All very valuable things. lol

Jaxk's avatar

It doesn’t work. You still need someone to manage it all and not everyone gets to do what they want. Sorry Plato we have plenty of philosophers what we need is someone to clean the cesspools.

YARNLADY's avatar

it will work when and only when people realize it is in the own best interest to cooperate in all things, and not fight, but rather learn the art of compromise.

dxs's avatar

It wouldn’t. There is no good without evil.

Blondesjon's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies . . . Spoken like a true Discordian.

Hagbard couldn’t have said it better himself.

NanoNano's avatar

Utopia in my opinion, isn’t possible until human beings are no longer driven by certain fundamental limitations:

1. The need for food, clothing and shelter.
2. The need to be accepted by your peers.
3. The need to understand the meaning of death.

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