Utopian World Championship

Stan Giess: Nature, Nurture and other thoughts about Utopia

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Many different kinds of societies and governments exist today. Each has its own unique history. Perhaps the particular history and circumstance necessary for a utopian society to be created has just not happened yet. This is certainly true in the sense that a Utopian society has not happened. But I hope that we are not relegated to waiting for some particular political circumstance to coincide with a particular state or expectation of a citizen population, perhaps also needing to coincide exactly with the availability of a charismatic figure capable using this unique situation to direct that society to a structure that leads to a Utopian society. If this is a gateway to Utopia, it is one that we might never stumble onto. I think our chances might be better, if the factors that would make a Utopian society possible are things about human nature that we could learn if we directed enough of our efforts that way.
We are not surprised that cancer was not cured 200 years ago, but if it is not understood and removed as a human threat in the next 100 years we probably would be. We can see that humanity's knowledge was not sufficient in the past to deal with the problem, but that now is it seems to be reaching the point where it will be able to make a definitive impact on the disease. Similarly the critical factors that determine the nature of a society are obviously not understood, or our societies would be better than they are. Sociology is the social science that studies human societies. It is not yet advanced enough to tell us the way to create Utopia. If we want to understand and solve society's problems we need for the science of sociology to reach a more advanced level.
Greatly improved knowledge of the workings of human societies will not be enough to guarantee our transformation into a Utopian society. If this knowledge is used by governments or political aspirants to increase the effectiveness of their propaganda or their political rhetoric, I don't think this is likely to be an improvement to society. Similarly if corporations use it to improve their public image or to increase the effectiveness of an ad campaign, society overall has probably not benefited. Commercial and political use of sociologists as consultants would be desirable if their goal was to make the decisions that are the most beneficial to society. I suspect that rarely if ever will corporations and politicians act altruistically.
Although sociological knowledge can be misused, it is not different than the other sciences in this respect. Given that is seems to have great potential for improving the quality of human societies, possibly leading to a permanent Utopian existence for all of humanity, it should be advanced as rapidly as possible. Having a world that is not at peace creates a cost to humanity in lives and injuries on the battlefield, but that also ripples back through society in so many ways that it is magnified to an incalculable level. We don't have a Utopian society for comparison, thus an objective measurement of, the value of living in a peaceful world vs. the existing one, multiplied by the total number of people alive, is not possible. But in casual terms I think it is accurately termed incalculable. Given the cost of not having world peace it should be one of the best funded areas of research, in the history of research.


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