How each of us views utopia is probably similar in the broader sense, but we may differ as we each conceive of the details. Utopia is a real place. It’s a small town in the Texas Hill Country. I’ve been there several times when I used to ride my motorcycle in that area northwest of San Antonio. The Bandera, Texas, region is popular with riders from all over. The Hill Country is beautiful, but Texas is anything but a utopian society (although you may find anything there). The utopia that I’m writing about is not a place, it’s an idea.
When I lived in Oklahoma, I had a friend who would say “ideal” when she intended “idea.” In the case of a utopia, it works because utopia is both. But whose ideal idea is it? You can view the wiki of utopia here.
The nature of utopia requires that I skirt my plan to avoid politics and religion. I think we know two things about utopia. It is theoretically a social possibility, and it is impossible because our human nature will not permit it. In the sense of the natural world or the effects of nature, it is not possible unless (until?) we achieve much greater strides in science and technology. But I need to take two shots across the bow of my two avoided topics.
In the world of politics, the dark side of human nature emerges. Of course, it is always the others or the other side. Real world peace would be required long before we could begin to approach anything like utopia. It requires an egalitarian (equal) society and that is contrary to most politics I’ve ever seen. When I think politics, I see far more potential for dystopia and war.
Religion? While a great deal of good is done in the name of a deity and the respective religions, that good fades to virtually nothing when balanced against the historical inequality and current turmoil that seems to move more toward dystopia — more war.
I asked alcoholic and drug-addicted Texas prison parolees the following three questions while teaching secular recovery classes. I came up with these to help them find a world view that went farther than the tips of their fingers. My personal answers are utopian.
1. What do you want?
2. How do you want things to be?
3. If you could change anything about the future, what would that be?
The confusion and struggle so many of us face in answering these questions is an interesting testimony to our nature. But we each have our personal utopia within our answers.
I turn to music to finish off my thoughts on utopia (three songs), and one old favorite to give time to my dystopian friends.
Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog:
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Imagine by John Lennon
Dystopia — The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel