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Is a utopia possible?

 
 
aperson
 
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 05:42 pm
Not without sacrifice.

It is my view that:

a) Human nature is evil.
b) A utopia is without evil.

Ergo, in order to have a utopia, one must remove human nature.

This can be done in many ways, examples of which can be taken from science fiction.

In "A Brave New World", all suffering is taken away. Suffering is part of human nature. To live a life without suffering is to not live at all.

In "Equilibrium", emotion is taken away. Emotion is part of human nature. To live a life without emotion is to not live at all.

Some stories go so far as to remove human beings themselves, and replace them with more perfect beings, such as transgenics or androids.

Note that "human nature" can be replaced with "humanity" to the same end.

One might argue that human nature is required for a utopia, therefore creating a paradox where a utopia is indeed impossible, for a utopia requires human nature and lack of evil, but human nature is evil. If this is the case, what we are left with in the examples are dystopias.

What do you think?
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 06:16 pm
I think the answer to your question -- is Utopia possible -- is contained in the definition of the word. Utopia literally means Nowhere. We speak of something impossible as a "Utopian dream." Of course Utopia is not possible. I'm not sure, though, whether this is due to the "evil" in human nature (that's a very subjective term) or just the cussedness of the way things are.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 06:23 pm
It's telling that the examples you cite -- Brave New World etc. -- are all actually dystopias, satires on the notion of Utopia. Very few actual Utopian novels come readily to mind. There's Thomas More's original, of course. More, btw, coined the word 'Utopia.' Bellamy's Looking Backward springs to mind. But, generally, no serious writer has taken the notion of a real-world Utopia seriously.
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raprap
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 06:46 pm
Sounds like your inundated with 'Old Testament' Reasoning. That is that the serpent was able to appeal to Eve's evil side to conspire to have her and Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge. Thus ruining the possibility of 'utopia' forever.

As for your question 'is utopia possible?' I'd have to answer to a limited degree yes---the reason is because it has been shown that selected humans can live cooperatively. The case I will point to as an example are 'squids.'

Now I don't know if you know what a 'squid' is, but it is a nuclear submariner. 'Squids' are in most opinions of those in the know very special people and as a result only about 2% of all people could qualify to be a 'squid'. First you have to be smart---I've heard that the minimum IQ of a 'squid' is 120, and that the average is 130. This requirement is necessary because every 'squid' has to be qualified to fill multiple highly technical and demanding positions. Then there are the physical requirements---being able to swim, dexterity, and work and live in confined quarters. Finally you have to be able to get along with many people in a confined space. If you consider what a nuclear submarine is, it has the floor space of the average suburban three bedroom house. Now imagine cramming 140 or so people in that house and saying you can't go outside for six months or so. Now imagine no fights or big personality disputes. That would takes some pretty good natured, 'laid back' people--and that what 'squids' are--this is also the biggest washout to prevent most people from becoming a 'squid.'

So IMO is utopia possible? My answer is yes---but you have to be very selective on letting people into your utopia. No boobs, louts, layabouts, compulsives, rabid evangelists or psychopaths need apply, regardless of their skills.

Rap
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 07:16 pm
...Oh God. Please don't bring that fairy tale into my thread!

Ok, so you're saying that you can have a utopia, but only with certain people. This seems a valid theory, but on a large scale this would require mass genocide and/or eviction.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 07:42 pm
Merry Andrew has said it.
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existential potential
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 09:46 am
It is logically possible.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 10:14 am
Quote:
Is a utopia possible?


No.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 02:00 pm
I had the privilege of spending time with Aldous Huxley, just before he died, in 1963. Part of our discussion was about his "dystopia" (Brave New World). He noted that he tried to show that a eutopia (a "good place", as opposed to the "noplace" denoted by utopia) is theoretically possible in his later book, Island. As I recall, his eutopian Island achieved a very high level of well-being using quasi-buddhist mental and social hygenics.
As I also recall, the island society of his book eventually failed because of exogenous (international) forces--an expression of Merry Andrew's "cussedness of things"?
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blakblak
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 04:29 pm
You spent time with Aldous Huxley! Wow.

Maybe in the future we could meddle with genes and some sort of g.e. human could have the capability of having a human nature that is not evil.

If we brought all the good people into one place we would still see a dystopia as some would be more good than others, creating conflict. Currently, Utopia is impossible. And I don't see the likelihood of it ever coming into existence.

We as humans are driven by desires and I would think that it would be incredibly hard to take those desires away. Unless you're Buddha Shocked
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 05:00 pm
Wow you are truly privileged JL! How did you get that opportunity?

You must be old.

Laughing

Anyway, I'm not going to take people just assuming a utopia is possible (the meaning, "no place" is a satire - ie there is no perfect place). I actually want people to put some thought into it. It's not just some vague, mystic concept. If it is possible, then certainly it can be perceived.

JL, I haven't read Island, but I think the concept is very interesting. Also I think a solution to the problem would be to eliminate all those outside the utopia (or "eutopia").

blakblak, yes I had that in mind in my original post (note the use of the word "transgenics", meaning genetically modified organisms.)

I disagree with your theory that goodness is relative. If everyone is above a certain point, there would be no conflict. There isn't going to be conflict just because there is variation.

As I have said before, desires, which are effectively human nature, can be suppressed or eliminated in a variety of ways. JL also added one to my list - "quasi-buddhist mental and social hygenics". I don't know exactly what that means, but it sounds fancy. Laughing
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 06:44 pm
Aperson, as I recall, a memorable mental hygenic practice in Huxley's fictional society involved talking (mina?) birds continuously and ubiquitously calling out "attention", "attention," to remind people to be mindful of their experience--in the tradition, I assume, of Theravadan Buddhism's meditation practice: vipassana.
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jul, 2008 05:51 pm
...ok...
What about my first question? It's not offensive or anything, is it?
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2008 01:11 pm
It seems to me that EUtopia and DYStopia (perfectly "good" and "bad" societies), may be so categorized in terms of their fundamental functions, i.e., do they cohere or fall apart. They may also be so categorized, as I suspect we are doing, in terms of how good they are regarding the felt needs of their members or how bad they are regarding such needs. That involves value judgements, doesn't it? SO, what might be eutopian for Stalin might be dystopian for Jefferson. In other words the question itself is problematical.
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 10:59 pm
Laughing No, this one:

Quote:
Wow you are truly privileged JL! How did you get that opportunity?
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OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 11:08 pm
in my opinion only, i think we came from a "utopia"


and hence forth ruined it, government is a prime example of anti-utopia imo
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aperson
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 11:24 pm
...please don't tell me your talking about Eden?
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Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jul, 2008 11:40 pm
"I love people, I hate groups. People are smart, groups are stupid."
~ George Carlin

Genetic engineering, cybernetics, robotics, and artificial intelligence all point to the idea that more harmonious sustainable societies may be possible.
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Jul, 2008 02:35 pm
Chumly wrote:
"I love people, I hate groups. People are smart, groups are stupid."
~ George Carlin

Genetic engineering, cybernetics, robotics, and artificial intelligence all point to the idea that more harmonious sustainable societies may be possible.


Maybe so. I sure wouldn't want to live in one of those societies. Therefore, for me, it would be no Utopia (or, perhaps, Eutopia is the correct word here).
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OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Jul, 2008 01:33 pm
aperson wrote:
...please don't tell me your talking about Eden?


well in a sense, im talking about the world pre-government (and religion)

the 2 most evil things in existence.

hands down......
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