Although historically people started uniting in groups and communities for increasing their capabilities of achieving the common goods, societies have experienced a wide array of problems for centuries, which indicated the imperfectness of the system. In the pursuit of resolving fundamental problems of society and improving well-being of all people, intelligent minds offered their visions of perfect or idealistic societies, frequently referred to as utopia-esque societies. Utopia is defined as a verbal construction of a specific quasi-human society, institutions, norms, and social interactions of which are governed by a more perfect principle that the one practiced in the author’s community. Based on estrangement, utopia-esque societies are developed on the ground of an alternative historical assumption (Teslenko, 2003).
Thus, utopia utilizes the existing political, social, and economic ideologies and structures to describe a society deprived of problems experienced by the current system. The key critical concern regarding utopia-esque societies is that the presented description of an idealistic community, where everybody is happy and healthy, lacks a blueprint or explanation of how such a perfect society can be achieved. Utopia provides people with a framework for constructing their utopias, where people enjoy their liberties of forming networks and attempting to bring to life their visions of a perfect society with individual utopian vision presenting a value for others. In an idealistic community, no one is imposes his or her vision of the desired society upon others. Hence, utopian-esque society may be defined as a society of utopianism (Bader, 2013).
The idea of a utopian-esque society is not new, although most people associated with term with 1984 by George Orwell. Precisely, Plato described his vision of a perfect society placing a selfless and wise leadership at the roots of a just society. In his ideological foundation, Republic, Plato underlined the irrelevance of sacrifice expressed by individual leaders, as he saw a great honor to serve such a just society. Another remarkable example of a literary utopia is Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy (1888), the main point of which was an equal distribution of resources to ensure access to and availability of necessary resources to any citizen. In his perspective on a perfect society, Aldous Bradley focused on education and employment. Thus, Brave New World describes a perfectly stable society, where every person is raised, educated, and conditioned to a particular job, which enables elimination of unemployment and poverty. The ultimate condition for such an idealistic community is the absence of negative emotions, such as anger or passion, which may undermine the stability (Shostak, 2015).
Orwell’s vision of a perfect society addressed concerns raised by the then technological development and rapid industrialization. Thus, the author stressed on the importance of retaining fundamental human values and virtues to oppose the modernized and mechanized world with a capitalist spirit (Shostak, 2015). Therefore, utopian-esque societies are a utopian insight into a reality, where human behavior is driven by good intentions and virtues, which allows an equal distribution of both tangible and intangible benefits of living in a community. Utopianism is subject to not only scholarly intentions and aspirations of improving the world and the observed reality. The human history knows examples when large communities shared a particular utopianism vision. Socialism sought and promoted by a large portion of southern European states in the 20th century relies on the utopian-esque society of Marx and Engels, where people were free and equal. The case of the USSR is a vivid case of utopianism, social dreaming of millions of people about creating a society, where everybody will be free, equal, and happy. Outcomes of that decades-long pursuit of a perfect society are well known – the official model of a socialist society hindered social inequality and justice suffered by most of the public (Teslenko, 2003). Therefore, a utopia-esque society is a dream with a low potential for a successful realization, as complex human psychology is accountable for most problems faced by human societies through history.
Bader, R. M. (2013). Robert Nozick. New York, NY: A&C Black.
Shostak, A. (2015). Viable utopian ideas: Shaping a better world. New York, NY: Routledge.
Teslenko, T. (2003). Feminist utopian novels of the 1970s: Joanna Russ and Dorothy Bryant. New York, NY: Routledge.