100%(1)1 out of 1 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 13 pages.
Bowden 1Brendon BowdenMrs. KlingenmeierEnglish Lit., P.24/2/15Trouble in Paradise?Childhood's End, a novel written by Arthur C. Clarke, makes clear criticisms of the idea of utopia, and as such, these suggested flaws can be further analyzed through the lenses of culture and anthropology. For thousands of years, writers and thinkers have focused their efforts on how to perfect humankind. They were and still are enamored with the fact that humans, whose power to reason is unmatched on this Earth, are capable of self-improvement. Some of thefirst known peoples to consider such a concept were that of Greek, as well as Roman, poets and philosophers. Men like Hesiod, a poet who lived in the 8th century BC, ruminated on what a community would be like if it could be as peaceful and carefree as that of the gods'. Others such as Virgil and Plato wrote texts which suggest that society could be better perfected through human progress. The first time the word “utopia” was coined, though, was not until 1516. Sir Thomas More was an English philosopher and Renaissance Humanist who first referred to a utopia in his Latin narrative of the same name. In it, he describes a complex, self-sufficient colony where its inhabitants peacefully coexist under a common culture and specific set of rules. This giant colony of 54 cities is housed on an island, and has many privileges for its citizens that were not present in modern societies at that time, such as: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia permissible by the state, priests being allowed to marry, and permissible divorces. TheUtopians own no private property and share everything that is needed in large warehouses. Thereis even freedom of religion on this island, with Atheism being the only religion that is looked
Bowden 2down upon, but allowed. Such a concept was quite revolutionary for its time, and going forward, it sparked a great interest in the fields of philosophy and sociology. As time progressed, actual utopian colonies were formed by people who’s religious and social values caused them to seek change. In America alone, many attempts toward such a concept were made. For example, “In 1825, Robert Owen bought the town of New Harmony, Indiana and established a utopian community there. Although New Harmony prospered at first, the farmers, laborers and professionals soon fell to quarreling about politics and religion. The utopian colony failed in 1828, and Owen lost the equivalent of a $5.3-million loss today” (Alfred). Eventually, almost all of these colonies, regardless of religious or reformative beginnings, failed just like New Harmony. The only successful mainstream “utopias” that can be observed in modern American are that of the Amish and Mennonite communities, but flaws are being revealed by their own youth in shows like “Breaking Amish.” These efforts could definitely be seen as admirable, for example the pursuit, of perfection can be drawn from a desire to be closer to God or the belief