It may be overly deterministic, but I often wonder whether those who live in climates that do not vary with the seasons, so that they live where it is almost always warm and sunny, or always cold and grim, experience less often over the course of a year the full spectrum of human sentiments and end up being either too utopian for reality to justify, or too dystopian for those lucky enough to be here and have a world to complain about in the first place. The novel I wrote about last time, A Canticle for Leibowitzis a winter book because it is such a supremely pessimistic one.
With its engaged columns, broken pediments and Victorian architraves, the room is typical of the Gilded Age mansions built in 19th century New York.
Though painted five years apart, the portraits are seen as a pair, representative of the friction between these two royal advisors. More, who hosted Holbein on his first visit to England, is presented as affluent, wise, and confident. Cromwell, by contrast, is jowly and clad in black, looking cold and indrawn.
More certainly comes out on top in this comparison, a wise and kindly man compared to a grim political fixer. This is how, until very recently, the two men have been regarded.
There is, though, a darker side to Thomas More, a side that should not be ignored. He was undoubtedly a great politician and an intelligent Humanist scholar, but that should not obscure completely an appraisal of the more questionable aspects of his character — he did, after all, think it acceptable to burn Protestants.
Hence, Utopia is one of the most hotly-debated works ever written, with critics wondering not only what More actually believed, but also whether Utopia comes anywhere near to the perfect commonwealth. There certainly are parts of the Utopian vision that were significantly ahead of their time.
The abolishment of private property serves as the obvious example — because Utopia is a proto-communist state, almost everyone is equal.
Nobody ever goes hungry or without a home, and the Utopians have no reason to be proud, greedy, or jealous. Hence, in order to ensure that the Utopian regime works, the Utopians have almost no freedom — they are, in effect, slaves.
Along with this deprivation of freedom comes an undeniable lack of fun and excitement in Utopia. People are not allowed to travel without getting a passport, and even then they still have to work their normal hours.
Moreover, there is complete uniformity amongst people, destroying almost any sense of individuality: We cannot help doubting whether Utopia really could be the perfect commonwealth, given its lack of freedom, excitement and individuality. Hythloday himself seems to point out this flaw in Book I: It would be hard to deny that the Utopians have been deprived of excitement: Another aspect of Utopia that causes concern is the use of slavery.
This was one of the premises of Greek utopias, the goal of the commonwealth being the happiness of its citizens, rather than the happiness of all. The slaves in Utopia seem to be almost dehumanized: By dehumanising the slaves of Utopia, it seems acceptable that they should be enslaved and thus not regarded as equal.
True, slavery is better than capital punishment, and the slaves of Utopia are treated relatively well — but is it really ethical to enslave someone for committing adultery, for example?
Along with the use of slavery, there is an ominous sense of Utopian superiority reminiscent of the Aryan ideal in Nazi Germany. Thus, Utopian policy towards these savages is inconsistent with the concept of universal human brotherhood depicted in the New Testament. Wells argued, a real utopia requires a world state — every human in the world must work together and be equal for the concept of a utopia to be fulfilled.
Linked to this xenophobic sense of superiority is the questionable practice of Utopian colonisation.
The Utopians govern according to their own values, and very often they force their own values on surrounding states, most notably the ideal that all land should be cultivated as much as possible. And yet, this same argument could have been used against the Native Americans who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The question we must now ask ourselves, though, is whether More actually believed Utopia was a perfect commonwealth. Many would like to think so, and thus proclaim him as a great communist thinker.
We question, too, whether a man who spent much of his life as a lawyer and as Chancellor the most important legal figure in the landwould have created a world without lawyers and attacked the length of legal codes: There is also a modesty in Utopian belief in that their prayer involves a confession of human ignorance: The question is, would Thomas More ever have questioned the truth of the Catholic religion?
Would More, who referred to himself as grievous to heretics and who burned six protestants during his reign as Chancellor, really preach religious tolerance? What qualifies the Utopian tolerance of religion is that religious trouble-making is not allowed.
Just as with most things, we need to take a nuanced view of both More and his work. Indeed, this use of nuance has never been so vital given the current political landscape, dominated as it is by partisan arguments and bigoted beliefs.
Human beings are flawed, complex, and individual. The inevitable consequence of the human condition is that our policies and views will always be problematic, and the commonwealths we create will never be perfect.It can be shown that the idea of continuous human progress (nowadays individual progress) towards some kind of earthly (individualistic) utopia is related to and sustained by the allround theory of evolution.
In response, critics argue that, because economic growth is fundamental to the improvement of human welfare, policies that negatively affect economic growth are unworkable and undesirable. This contextualization of the issue has led to policy gridlock grounded in . - No disease, no crime, no poverty or for some other improvement in the human condition.
- The belief that the expanding power and reach of technology results in a gradual worsening of the human condition and will, ultimately, lead to chaos and ruin. Dystopian Philosophy The Philosophy of Utopia & Dystopia The Ultimate Philosophy - We. The Problem of Freedom and Moral Behavior in Thomas More's Utopia Timothy Kenyon Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 21, Number 3, July , pp.
Freedom and Moral Behavior in Thomas More's Utopia T. A. KENYON the human condition. Prospects for Utopia in Space Christopher C.
Yorke (The Open University) Abstract In this essay, I discuss three models of utopia — the teleological, discursive, and horizonal — and query how they might apply to the subject of founding a utopia in space.
Civilization is a mere years old. A small fraction of the age of the human race, a very small fraction of the age of genus Homo, and a tiny sliver of the geologic age of the Earth. It is cle.