What is Utopia?
By Brad Bell
There are a number utopian writings. For example, B. F. Skinner's novel, Walden Two (Skinner, 1976), is one example of a utopian writing in which there is a description of a fictitious community that can be considered ideal. What is a utopia? Below is one definition of an utopia.
A utopia can be defined as a conception of an ideal society or community.
Characteristics of Utopia:
In order to have a clearer understanding of the concept of utopia, it would be important to gain an understanding of some of the characteristics of utopia. The characteristics of utopia may include a description of values, relative judgments, and practical ideas.
Description of Values. Certain values may be specifically stated in a utopian writing. Values reflect what is perceived to be important. For example, harmony, equality, and happiness may be considered values. In my utopian, science fiction novel, A Bright Purple Sky (Bell, 2019), equality is one value that is mentioned.
Relative Judgments. What is considered ideal may reflect a relative judgment. A situation may be considered ideal because it is perceived to be better than a current situation. Once a situation becomes a norm, it may no longer be considered ideal. This implies that conceptions of utopia may change over time. Thus, conceptions of utopia may reflect an improvement with the current situation. For example, a sunny day may be considered perfect weather after ten days of cloudy weather, but not after ten days of sunny weather.
Practical ideas. Conceptions of utopia may not neccesarily be unrealistic. A view of utopia may provide insight concerning concrete solutions to problems, or ideal ways of living that are achievable. For example, in my utopian, science fiction novel, A Bright Purple Sky (Bell, 2019), there is information on empathy training. It may be feasible to include empathy training in some schools and organizations.
Bell, B. (2019). A bright purple sky. Portland, Oregon: Blue Fox Communications.
Skinner, B. F. (1976). Walden two. (reissued). New York: Macmillan.