March 14, 2012
Dr. Linda Burke
Utopia: To Live Or Not To Live?
Picture a world where nothing is your own. The house you live in, the furnishings, the clothes you wear. Everything is held in common with the State deciding who receives what and when. You can be evicted at any time and forced to live in another house, taking nothing with you, leaving everything behind. Your time is not your own. Constantly watched by your neighbors who will report you if you do not work often and diligently enough. You, also, are expected to watch and report those neighbors. There is no leisure time. What we call leisure would be spent on secondary vocations for the good of the State. Even your children are not your own. They can be taken from you if the state determines that you have too many children and another family has too few. The houses are exactly the same; the clothes are shapeless and grey. Who would want to live like this? Though Mores’ descriptions make it sound appealing, there is no getting around the fact that The State is all-powerful in all areas of Utopian society. There is no way I would be willing to live in a Utopian society, even for a day.
Thomas Mores’ Utopia portrays a society with no tenable position or allowance for the human as an individual. Utopian civilization has, figuratively speaking, become commoditized: they are part of the body politic, and Utopia owns and controls them as much as they own and control Utopia. They have been effectively refined and are, essentially, labor power. According to More, the island of Utopia is “…two hundred miles across in the middle part, where it is widest, and nowhere much narrower than this except towards the two ends, where it gradually tapers. These ends, curved round as if completing a circle five hundred miles in circumference, make the island crescent-shaped, like a new moon” (More 23).
“They think it is better for each man to plead his own cause, and tell the judge the same story he'd...