T Nation


I can’t believe I am actually doing this, I am desperate!
I know a lot of you guys are pretty intellegent, so i thought you might be able to help me, here goes nothing;
I am writing a paper for my college writing class. The topic is “The possibility of a human utopia.” My thesis will sound something like this:

Self interest, greed and envy will never allow for a human utopia. It is impossible to construct a society where everyones needs are met, and everyone is equal. If there can not be equality, it is impossible for everyone in the society to be content. One man will envy what his neighbor has, and will want that, maybe even try to take it.

I will stop there because I don’t want to make a huge post. The problem is, I have to have 12 sources for the paper and I only have about 2. About 8 of the sources are supposed to concur with me. If you guys know of any magazine articles, newspaper articles, web articles, or books I could use, PLEASE HELP. Thank you, and I promise I will never use this forum for school again.

Animal Farm.

Communist Manifesto?

Civilization and Its Discontents by Freud… covers the twin drives Eros (love) and Thanatos (the death instinct). Basically covers why there can never be a true utopia.

Next: An Essay On Liberation by Herbert Marcuse (very, very short)… in it he describes how he believes there COULD be a utopia.

how about the most influential book in the western world? utopia was ours til that rib stealing bitch eve ate the apple.

The Second Renaissance in Animatrix.

Excellent, especially the Freud idea, what is the animatrix?

nevermind the animatrix question, I am downloading it as I type this, and I am about to go to the library to get animal farm. Thanks, you guys are lifesavers.

I am pretty confident Boston Barrister could give you tons of legal backup.

After all, even in justice, there`s always a winning party and a losing party, whatever the issue at hand is.

what was that poem - kubla kan or something

Robert Nozick – “Anarchy, State, and Utopia”
“Equality” - the author escapes me, but its a collection of philosophical papers. Fairly recent too. White cover with Equality printed in a red.

Two Ideas for you:
–>Is man’s level of content/satisfaction/happiness really CONTINGENT upon his level of perceived equality? You may have to qualify that, as it’s not necessarily true.

–>Also, is it IMPOSSIBLE to construct a society where everyone’s NEEDS are met? It’s probably very possible, but it would include some giving up those things that are above and beyond “needs” - i.e., luxuries.

Of course there’s always the “futuristic” classic literary route:

Handmaids Tail
Fahrenheit 451
A Clockwork Orange
Brave New World

I feel like I’m missing a couple with this theme…

sounds like you’re writing about dystopian literature…i sorta majored in that sorta crap in college until i dumped it and moved on to something more profitable :wink:

i would suggest checking out books like: 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, Animal Farm … and if you wanna throw in a good film source: The Prisoner, by Patrick McGoohan. if anything its definitely worth a watch … GREAT stuff. all that stuff is about the attempt of a manmade utopia and what life would be like under such rule…

didn’t someone already mention the communist manifesto? heehee. i shoulda found something better to do with my time … i think i majored in Judaic Holocaust studies after that…god how depressing.

“i am not a number…i am a man!” :wink:

Right side up: it sounds like you have taken some logic classes. I should have said "it is impossible to create a society where everyone’s wants are met, which is a condition of most written utopia’s. I suppose this would be possible if you could control people’s wants.

KC, just curious, what is your occupation?

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree…”

From the poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Also, see the legends pertaining to the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s dream for a kingdom of peace. The concept of the round table was that there would be no head of the table; all who sat at the table, and the lands they represented, would be equal. The dream died for power-hunger and lust. The musical “Camelot” homogenizes these themes if you’re in a pinch for sources.

Very well. I agree - not everyone can be happy at all times. That is, one’s happiness just might necessarily come at the expense of another’s. I hope this is untrue, but it seems evident to me.

“Self interest, greed and envy will never allow for a human utopia.”

On the contra, this is the only way that anything close to a utopia will be meet. The key is to have self-interest, greed and envy working towards a productive purpose, for example the founding fathers of the US and the pioneers or the various East and West Indies Companies (especially the Dutch example) or perhaps the free (i.e. no overlord) Cossack communities.

If there is a common bond between the people social welfare will take care of its self, for example the family.

For references you might want to look at Adam Smith or the various Economists from the Austrian School.

“It is impossible to construct a society where everyone?s needs are met, and everyone is equal.”

Social engineering from above (i.e. states of various types) has historically always caused massive pain. The examples of Kings, Emperors, Dictators or Political Parties (e.g. National Socialist or Bolsheviks) are too numerous. The grander the state or the bigger state?s vision (e.g. 1000 year Rich or International communism with its permanent revolution) the greater the pain. But this does not stop the time it is different crowd. The power and influence of states is growing ever more in the west. What effect has this always had on human happiness?

Jim Rogers’s Investment Biker is a practical example of why statism is a failed ideology.

But then I could be wrong comrade.

TREATY OF DESPAIR by Kierkegaard…, look it up under sweedish philosopher

why not try Mein Kampf… but don’t quote the man please!

Further to what Nephorm wrote and especially if your interested in looking at things from the ‘human’ side’:

Herbert Marcuse’s “One Dimensional Man” is a good examination of how individualism in society is disappearing [Was written in the '60’s so is a bit dated]

Erich Fromm’s ‘Escape from Freedom’ is
excellent as is his ‘The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness’. Both deal with culture and it’s effects on the individual [amongst other things].

If you want to examine some Postmodern work on cultural commodification you might want to look at Baudrillard and/ or Bourdieu.

Brave New World