Realization of Utopias?

zerorelations

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“A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at... Progress is the realization of Utopias.” - Oscar Wilde



Do you think that Oscar Wilde is right? Do you believe that progress is the realization of Utopias and that a perfect world cannot exist?
 
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palerider

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Utopia is a pipe dream but good old oscar does reveal much about himself with that statement. It is possible for it to exist for some, but since everyone has a different idea of what it is, there is no one place that will be utopia for everyone who lives there. Nazi Germany was utopia for some. The soviet union was utopia for those at the top of the pecking order. Even mao's china was utopia for a select few.

I believe that the closest the world has ever come to utopia for all was the US before we gave government permission to interfere in every aspect of our lives.

Freedom from government intrusion in my life would constitute utopia for me? Does your vision of utopia require that I give up mine in order for yours to be realized?
 

Koios

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I believe the closest we (as humans) have come to a Utopia is "the USA" before there was a USA.
 

palerider

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Yes. In my opinion it was a far better state especially in its social and moral aspects, perhaps even politically too.

Better state? Near constant intertribal war, very short life span as a result of disease, weather, injury, or starvation, genuine struggle to survive. Some utopia you have there.
 

Koios

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I think you are making a similar assessment as that made by one of the most rational thinkers of all time:

For Locke Indians were 'wild', 'like savages', and devoid of the capacity to raise themselves unaided to the level of the 'civilized part of mankind'. Since they lacked the basic drive to accumulate wealth and engage in international commerce, without which property, the arts and sciences and political society were impossible, they would, if left to themselves forever remain in the same state of nature.

Locke's second assumption related to this monistic vision of the good life... He never asked if the Indian way of life might not be good in its own way, represent a different view of human flourishing, and contain elements missing in his own way of life and from which he might learn something. Even when Locke noticed that Indians led peaceful and content lives, were 'free of hurry and worry'.... did not quarrel over property, settled disputes peacefully, avoided litigation and generally did not commit offences, the qualities he himself admire in other cotexts, he did not ask how these qualities were developed and nurtured by the Indian way of life and whether it might have useful lessons for him.
(by Parekh on The Decolonization of Imagination - Culture Knowledge and Power)

Additionally, I would argue that if anything, the colonizers brought many of the diseases you speak of. Additionally, the USA has always had great problems of its own including but not limited to: materialism, racism, obesity, and most notably, the exploitation of others in order to achieve ones own success.

Of course no society is perfect....but I still disagree with the claim that the USA was once as close to a Utopia as we have ever been.

I guess it all depends on how you define a "Utopia" and whether you factor in morality and concern for the world or whether you just limit yourself to the mere state of that one society. When I think of a Utopia I don't just think of the effect of that society on its own citizens but rather its "overall effect".
 

Koios

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Well of course not.. but I still stand by the claim that they had a pretty good society in place. Unfortunately it is one which history books often neglect--in my opinion it was more Utopian like than the succeeding republic ever has been.

In the end however I doubt there could ever be a Utopia, maybe there was once something that came fairly close but went undocumented.
 

palerider

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Well of course not.. but I still stand by the claim that they had a pretty good society in place. Unfortunately it is one which history books often neglect--in my opinion it was more Utopian like than the succeeding republic ever has been.

In the end however I doubt there could ever be a Utopia, maybe there was once something that came fairly close but went undocumented.

You consider a pretty good society one in which the strong rule the weak? One in which leadership is decided by actual physical combat between candidates?

The natives were a savage lot long before we ever got here and they had always been at war with each other in exactly the same way we had always been at war with each other
 

Lilly Marlene

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You consider a pretty good society one in which the strong rule the weak?

Irony alert.
Is there a better description of runaway capitalism, Mr. Rider ?

[That is not to agree with Koios that the American Indians had a utopia because I don't happen to agree with that either].
 

Koios

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You consider a pretty good society one in which the strong rule the weak? One in which leadership is decided by actual physical combat between candidates?

Have you forgotten about the best military in the world. If I remember correctly, we spend more on our military than all the other "major" players put together. How exactly do you think we manage to "stay on top"? Do you really think the rest of the world just likes us that much? The difference is that we use bombs and guns to "settle" our disputes--something I think to be far worse.


Btw Lilly, what would YOU say the closest the world has come to a Utopia is?
 

palerider

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Irony alert.
Is there a better description of runaway capitalism, Mr. Rider ?

In a capitalist system, people are climbing up the ladder and falling down it all the time. It isn't static and one who is weak today is one idea away from being on top tomorrow. Capitalism may be the worst system ever created, except of course, for every other system ever created.
 

palerider

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Have you forgotten about the best military in the world. If I remember correctly, we spend more on our military than all the other "major" players put together. How exactly do you think we manage to "stay on top"? Do you really think the rest of the world just likes us that much? The difference is that we use bombs and guns to "settle" our disputes--something I think to be far worse.


Btw Lilly, what would YOU say the closest the world has come to a Utopia is?

How nations handle disputes should not be confused with the way individuals handle disputes, especially in the context of utopias. Native tribes fought nearly constantly among other tribes (as we do) and their leaders assumed their leadership positions when all challengers were either dead or lying on their backs in submission (which we certainly do not).

You simply can't paint the native americans into anything resembling utopia unless your vision of utopia is no medicine, short life spans, non existant sanitation, and never ending violence.
 
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Friendindeed

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In a capitalist system, people are climbing up the ladder and falling down it all the time. It isn't static and one who is weak today is one idea away from being on top tomorrow. Capitalism may be the worst system ever created, except of course, for every other system ever created.


Got to give you credit for a great reply palerider.
 
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