Essays Of Utopia Discipline Writing Essay
Their rejection of the past, and of established practice, is subject to its own logic of brutality.And not only has the utopian imagination been stung by its own failures, it has also had to face up to the two fundamental dystopias of our time: those of ecological collapse and thermonuclear warfare. Yet these are not challenges but chillingly realistic scenarios of utter destruction and the eventual elimination of the human species.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.At the heart of the Soviet vision there were always those burning eyes gazing intently, and with total confidence, toward the promised land.Today, the utopian impulse seems almost extinguished.
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.
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.