Thursday, January 27, 2011

Utopia: Is it Possible?

I often try to imagine what a utopia would look like, and within my limited imagination I don’t think I get too far. Butler talks about the imagination and how everything we can imagine already exists within our knowledge base—thus our imagination can exist in reality. Obviously that wasn’t the extent of the argument, she wasn't referring to unicorns, but if one looks at a particular issue such as sexism—we can imagine a world without it and within that we know that a sexist-free environment can exist.

When I try to create a utopia does the very act of trying help to get us closer? One of the themes I’ve been wanting to have for the Feminist Creative Alliance is one on a positive future and what they would look like.

Most of the books I’ve read about our future have caused me to be ridden with dread, Parable of the Sower, 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, In Persuasion Nation, etc.

I suppose that’s part of the point, to scare people into not letting it go down like that—but how many of those authors were a little too close for comfort. And in what ways have those prophecies manifested or even became worse?

Are there any books or visual representations of our future that are closer to a utopia then a dystopia? Perhaps I have always just gravitated toward the negative.

I don’t believe it’s possible to have a collective utopia; I’m sure there are certain people on the planet right now who think that what they’re living in is a utopia (people who are too privileged to even know what’s going on outside of their mansions for an example), so is it all about creating a perfect place with what we already have? Can we transform everything we see as problems into imaginative solutions? What would it look like? How would we do it?

Does it come from avoidance? Letting go of issues that are too big to solve? Or does it come from not letting the things that bother us into our lives? How can we do that? Perhaps it’s not about creating a utopia at all but just attempting to make better what we already have...a planetary makeover so to speak. Or maybe it’s just about accepting what we have and be happy with it (as often as we can).

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