Utopia

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an essay i did in college....

Submitted: June 30, 2012

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Submitted: June 30, 2012

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Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has been chasing the idea of a society

where everything works perfectly and fluidly, but is there really even such a possibility?

Everyday the general population of society gets up and goes to work, to school, or

whatever activity it may be, that makes them feel like they are doing a part to better

themselves. The problem is however, what about the world around us? In essence yes, we

are making things better just by not participating in the degradation of sound social and

moral structures. We have placed laws, requirements, and restrictions that help to achieve

some kind of order and control. The problem is though, human nature is an ever

evolving equation that eventually brings chaos to any order or control that is opposed

upon it. It is because of human nature that we are always in a state of change, so we are

forced to come up with a new formula to attempt a heightened state of balance to our

society.

 

The first concept that comes to mind when I think of utopia is dystopia. A

dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the

disguise of being utopian. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social

control systems, and various forms of active and passive coercion. Often, dystopian

societies are imagined as police states, where the government has unlimited power over

the citizens. Examples of dystopias are characterized in books such as Fahrenheit 451,

Brave New World, 1984, and Handmaids Tail. Novels such as these have really made a

profound impact on our culture in respects to our passion for a free thinking world. The

idea of a world where we are denied our desires and passions as human beings has really

opened my eyes to be mindful and conscious of everything and everyone I am graced with

in my life. Books of this nature have invoked a very passionate fire in me that has

completely changed how I view the world around us in all it’s beauty, and all it’s tragedy.

I can think of one book in particular that really opened my eyes to some very scary

and possible realities for our future. It was a novel by Lois Lowry called “The Giver”, the

first dystopian novel I had ever read. Where there is a huge question that is brought up

when Jonas, the eleven year old protagonist of the book, discovers what truly happens

when a member of the society is “Released” from the community. Release applied to the

elderly who have lived past their expectancies, newborns whom are considered

inadequate, criminals, and anyone who applies for release simply out of dissatisfaction

with the community. The community believed that when someone was released they were

sent to live in a place called “Elsewhere”, a good place. Jonas however, discovers that

they are put to death by lethal injection. This book digs deep on where the limits should

be, as to where there should be boundaries on the value of human life. I remember

reading this book and thinking about some of the current and ongoing arguments in the

world, such as assisted suicide and overpopulation. I wondered about the possible

extremes it would take to limit the growth rate of the human population. I also thought

about the concept of assisted suicide, in particular, assisted suicide to the terminally ill.

Where are the boundaries between survival of the human race and the freedom of

mankind? Where are the boundaries between the value of human life and deeming it

medically ok to let a person end their suffering?….end their life? Where do we set our

limits? How do we lay the groundwork for a society that can achieve balance on a

scientific and spiritual level? The idea of a utopia, a society with a perfect or ideal socio-

politico-legal system, is a very difficult concept to even begin to embrace. Our culture is

always changing, always adapting new ideals, new religions, new philosophies, so how

can we even begin to create a base to build upon?

I honestly believe a utopian society is not achievable. Can we make our society

better within our neighborhoods, our states, our countries, our planet? Yes, there is

definitely room for our growth in so many areas, and I am positive that we will. The

question is, do things have to get worse before they ever get any better? Mankind has

such a destructive element to it’s motor, that its hard to believe that we can achieve some

state of balance, or some state of harmony. I remember as a boy, I was walking with my

dad and little brother to the park, I stopped to pick a red tulip on the edge of the sidewalk

and my dad asked me as I caught up with them, “did you pick that for your mom?”, “I

don’t know”, I replied. I began to tear pedals off the flower as we walked along. One by

one, I would toss them to the ground until all that was left was the greenish black stamen

in the center of the stem. Looking down at the bare skeleton of what was once a beautiful

flower, I felt satisfied with my destruction and tossed it to the ground without a single

thought as to the beauty it had once brought to the world. It was harmless on a small

scale, I was just a curious child that wanted to see all the parts of a flower, but it also

showed an aspect of human nature, that when out of control, leads to careless destruction

for the pure sake of curiosity, on a much larger scale. Ultimately I think the most

important thing to remember is that you can’t ever fully control the nature of mankind.

We are all of the same energy, and maybe it would be best if we allow ourselves to accept

it. To know that we are all following the same flow of life, and to stop trying to create

our own little stagnating pools along the riverside.


© Copyright 2019 C Christopher Bettinger. All rights reserved.

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