Posted by: Fabius Bile | January 30, 2010

Utopian Society: The impossibility

So once again breaking off a bit from reading and focusing more on what has been discussed in class and online, I decided to explore more into the idea of the Utopian society. It is by no means a new or unusual idea, and it is probably easy to postulate that sine humans have had societies, there has been the dream of creating the “perfect” one. So looking into the context of Women on the Edge of Time and basically every other Utopian society created in fiction, lets look at how these places come about.

First of all, some changed have to be made to either the environment, or humans themselves, otherwise there always ends up being some sort of conflict, whether it be overpopulation, under-abundance of resources, some part of the human interaction with the world around them needs to change. So how does Women on the Edge of Time handle this? I’d say that it is handled by both conflicting nations within the future timeline by some form of birth control, and modified genetics. So that seems to be in check.

In order for a society to be a true Utopia, all peoples must somehow achieve absolute equality. Some more famous ways to do this are with totalitarian based governments, mind control, or somehow eliminating every differing factor between humans (or eliminating the will for competition: aka creating apathy). So how is it handled in Marge Piercy’s novel? Well the more technological based society is obviously grossly unequal, with women being subservient etc. So looking at the breakaway society, we see that they have been able to remove gender.

Well that’s great! You have managed to remove a major discriminatory factor (along with a part of everyone’s identity, as I went over in a previous post). So that just leaves every other factor remaining right? Religion, race, ethnicity, appearance, all of those can suddenly become a way to be biased against one another. No matter how complacent a group of people are, there are always emotions making them jealous, prideful, egotistic, making them want to be better than those around them. This novel does not address any of these issues (race kinda-sorta’, but not in much detail). How can any society be a true Utopia without removing the ability to create superiority one way or another?

It is highly improbable, if not impossible for this to be achieved. Unless we all want to look the same, talk the same and feel the same all the time, or be completely apathetic to our surroundings, it just won’t happen. See, humans have this sort of drive in them (the human “spirit” if you will) that makes us want to be better. Whether we want to make one group better than the rest, or just ourselves as individuals, its a drive to become better. Why are we in college? To become better people so we can get better jobs than less educated people. Know what, that inequality right there couldn’t stand in a Utopia, because some people would be excluded. Pretty easy to see how hard it is to make work huh?

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