Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Fistful of Utopias - Part I

A Fistful of Utopias:  Part I
Eva Kosinski

I spend a good deal of time poking around in the Kindle book section for works that are interesting, and most importantly, budget friendly. I came across "8 Novels of Utopia" for a grand total of $.99 and thought this was interesting....many were from the 19th century. So I decided to look to see how far back the tendency went to find the perfect society via literature. I found the namesake for the concept, Sir Thomas More's "Utopia," the same Thomas More who was Lord High Chancellor for Henry VIII, later beheaded by said King for refusing to call the King the head of the Church, and later canonized by the Catholic Church). "Utopia" was published in 1515. Then I remembered Plato's "Republic" dating back, according to Wikipedia, to 380BC. (comments on that one, I will leave to the many college philosophy courses that deal with its complexities)

It seems to this very minute, people are still discussing the idea of a perfect society, one that would rid itself of elitist control, poverty, injustice, and bias, but to date, few have actually managed to come off the written page and enter the reality that we live in. Various attempts have been tried, usually resulting in either extreme poverty with power concentrated at the top, or total economic collapse. There's an old saw that gets quoted from time to time, usually referring to death and taxes: "If someone had figured out how to deal with them, they long since would have cashed in and made a fortune." That doesn't mean they don't continue to try. Should you have any doubt, go to google images and type in Utopia. Across the years there are dozens of books, and more and more editions of, and discussions of, Utopian concepts.