What is Utopia? utopiasJune 28, 2021
Utopia is the state and society projects that do not exist anywhere and are thought to exist in the future. Utopias are forms of social and political order that have not yet found an application area.
Utopia is a word of Greek origin and can be translated as ‘no place’, ‘non-existent place’ or country in Turkish. In this sense, utopias are intellectual and literary fictions about a place or country that does not exist in reality.
Some of the political theorists of the Renaissance tried to shed light on the phenomenon of politics with some fictions similar to Plato’s ideal state fiction. These society and state fictions have been classified as political utopias, based on Thomas More’s “Utopia”. In this context, utopias are designs for the future. It is completely inconsistent with reality.
Works written in the utopia style contain insights that are ideal for people. In the proposed system, people are valuable and justice prevails. The importance of these works is that they make an intellectual contribution to the establishment of a good living order.
Thomas More’s Utopia represents a state founded on an unknown island.
Undoubtedly, the societies depicted in political utopias have no counterpart in real life. Utopia writers do not aim to produce literary texts that express the richness of their imaginations with these political fictions. Their aim is also that there can be another way of life, another and alternative model of social relations.
Utopias express an egalitarian and peaceful fiction in human relations, as well as a political demand and aspiration. The unequal and hierarchical political structure created by conflicting particular and individual interests in real life also causes unproductive competition and social tension.
The term ‘utopian’ in the field of political struggle generally has a negative content. A ‘utopian’ political or political understanding is belittled as it offers impossible fictions and projects that do not take into account the data of real life and human nature and that are impossible to implement.
GENERAL FEATURES OF UTOPIA
Utopias are ideal designs of society and state.
They focus on a desired society model.
Utopias are critical of existing social orders.
Utopias are peculiar to Western philosophy.
The first examples appear in the philosophy of the Renaissance.
Utopias are of two kinds. We will share and explain them later in our article.
1. Desired Utopias
These are the desired layout designs. Rather, they are ideal layout designs that aim to ensure human welfare and happiness. The “Ideal State” of Plato, “The Virtuous City” of Farabi, “New Atlantis” by Francis Bacon, “Utopia” by Thomas More and “Land of the Sun” by Campanella are examples of desired utopia.
Plato’s “Ideal State” utopia
Farabi and “The Virtuous City (El Medinetu’l Fazila) Utopia”
Bacon’s “New Atlantis” utopia
Thomas More’s “Utopia” utopia
Campanella’s “Land of the Sun” utopia
2. Unwanted (Fear) Utopias
The anxiety caused by the rapid development of science and technology and the fear that states will turn into despotic governments by being blocked in the future have led some thinkers to design a frightening utopia in order to warn the society. These utopias are a warning against future negativities. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984” are examples of unwanted utopia.
Huxley’s “Brave New World” utopia
Orwell’s “1984” utopia
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook