Competition year: 2001
"There is no alternative."
"All that is held under power must someday revolt."
"Grant me the courage to change the things that I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Ever since St. Thomas More wrote 'Utopia', which can be an allusion to either 'Outopia' (no-place), 'Eutopia' (the good place), or both, the word has often been associated with the unattainable, the impossible dream. And when one considers that More's own vision included both slavery and the death penalty one might be happy to not live in his utopia -or even next door.
The Bolshevik dream of a communist and stateless society that never emerged was another sort of utopian quest yet, despite establishing a certain amount of economic equality, it resulted in a nightmare for many a soul who lived under its yoke. And is not capitalism itself with 'the American Dream' as its ultimate promise also a utopian myth of sorts? For we are told, in a grand quixotic challenge to basic mathematics, that all people have a chance to become a part of the wealthy minority. The truth is that a third of the world earns about 90% of the world's income. That leaves the other two thirds of the people to fight amongst themselves for the remaining 10% and the result is a nightmare that equals its Soviet counterpart in sheer brutality.
People have tried, and are still trying, to create free and egalitarian alternatives. They have demonstrated that a wide variety of community structure is possible. Still others have created half-worlds based upon a single aspect of life. Initiatives such as organic farming, rehabilitation programs, community currencies, worker run co-ops, alternative schooling have all come from people who have helped us see new possibilities that are available to us here and now. Their successes and shortcomings can give us insight as we continue our journey towards a better society for all. Through their example we can see that Utopianism may turn out to be a journey in itself rather than a final destination point. A way to move through rather than a place to move to.
"Which or whose Utopia? The kind of those involved,
of course. Many different kinds."
Karl Hess, Community Technology
"We want a world in which there are many worlds,
a world in which our world, and the worlds of others will fit:
a world in which we are heard, but as one of many voices."
This vision of utopia is not a singular vision but a vision that has space for many visions. It is not a vision of a perfect world, but rather a vision of a possible world. One of many possibilities. It depicts a world that is beautiful and harmonious, yet ugly and chaotic. A world where the answers are not given to us but have to be continually created by us. For the challenges, like the questions, never end.
The links provided within this essay are portals to other worlds. Real worlds in real-time. These worlds that hide amongst words are steps - steps to the world of greater possibilities, to your dreams, to the utopian scenario you're about to read, to anyone's hope for a better world. What determines whether or not these worlds are ever attained or to what degree they are attained depends on one factor: what you are willing to do to make it happen.