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However, anti-utopianism may also become atavistic and beckon us to return, regardless of any cost, to an idealized past.In such cases, the utopian narrative gets replaced by myth. To many people the answer to both questions is a resounding no. They may even provide some kind of purpose to our strivings as citizens and political beings.stuck with me after reading it long ago, and it’s come to mind with some regularity over the past few months: on More’s imaginary island, anyone who aspired to high office was judged to be, for that very unreason, unfit to hold it. More sent the manuscript to his friend Erasmus in September 1516, and it was in print by the end of the year.
Add to that the profoundly anti-utopian nature of the right-wing movements that have sprung up in the United States and Europe and the prospects for any kind of meaningful utopianism may seem bleak indeed.
In matters social and political, we seem doomed if not to cynicism, then at least to a certain coolheadedness.
From the vantage point of the utopian imagination, history — that gushing river of seemingly contingent micro-events — has taken on meaning, becoming a steadfast movement the sought-for condition supposedly able to justify all previous striving and suffering.
Utopianism can be dreamy in a John Lennon “Imagine”-esque way.
The utopias of desire make little sense in a world overrun by cheap entertainment, unbridled consumerism and narcissistic behavior.
Essay On Utopia
The utopias of technology are less impressive than ever now that — after Hiroshima and Chernobyl — we are fully aware of the destructive potential of technology.The utopias of justice are perhaps even more familiar.Asking, typically, for great personal sacrifice, these utopias call for the abolition of all social injustice.Even the internet, perhaps the most recent candidate for technological optimism, turns out to have a number of potentially disastrous consequences, among them a widespread disregard for truth and objectivity, as well as an immense increase in the capacity for surveillance.The utopias of justice seem largely to have been eviscerated by 20th-century totalitarianism.They say one thing, but when we attempt to realize them they seem to imply something entirely different.Their demand for perfection in all things human is often pitched at such a high level that they come across as aggressive and ultimately destructive.Anti-utopianism may, as in much recent liberalism, call for controlled, incremental change.The main task of government, Barack Obama ended up saying, is to avoid doing stupid stuff.And while the utopian narrative is universalistic and future-oriented, myth is particularistic and backward-looking. There are reasons, however, to think that a fully modern society cannot do without a utopian consciousness. It is to be open to change even radical change, when called for. Once utopias are embodied in ideologies, they become dangerous and even deadly. We also need to be more careful about what it is that might preoccupy our utopian imagination.Myths purport to tell the story of our origin and of what it is that truly matters for us. With its willingness to ride roughshod over all established certainties and ways of life, classical utopianism was too grandiose, too rationalist and ultimately too cold. In my view, only one candidate is today left standing. Yet it calls for neither a break with the past nor a headfirst dive into the future. It would remind us that we belong to nature, that we are dependent on it and that further alienation from it will be at our own peril.