The word was first used in the book Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More.
It refers to an imagined place or state of things where everything is perfect. When you are utopic, you are defining your highest vision of your life. You are describing the best that you think the world can be. You are diving deep into your consciousness and returning with the most lustrous pearls in your depth. It isn’t a definition of the state without; it is an unveiling of the state within.
Definitions of utopia have included a range of visions as diverse and vast as human imagination. But there are some (almost) mandatory features in almost every one’s concept of utopia.
It has lush lands resplendent with rivers of milk and honey. Chocolates and delectable desserts grow on bushes. No one needs to work hard. They have mildly strenuous jobs for about twenty minutes a day leaving them to gambol about singing and languidly eating chocolate (also other, less exotic confectionery) by the tons.
Despite an exclusive diet of sweets and savories, there is no illness. People never gain weight. They gad about with plastic pink cheeks and enormous blue eyes wearing prim garments. As befits the place, there is no meanness in the place. In fact everyone is so good they wouldn’t know meanness if it kicked their shins and stuck a four inch blade between their ribs.
The seven deadly sins would have a mighty thin time of it if they tried to muscle into someone’s utopia. But for fear of appearing weak minded, I might have said the seven deadly sins would have been dead in a land rampant with utopia. But I shan’t; because I am not weak- minded. There is a limit to how far puns can be carried even by those who aren’t weak- minded. And you thought there was no code of behavior? Ha.
Putting the skids under the seven deadly sins wouldn’t be a bad thing at all, truth be told. The world would get rid of the pesky sins all at once and leave the field a lot more conducive for those not of a utopia indulging/ abuse frame of mind. Was that an undignified (read juvenile) whoop I heard there? Tsk tsk…!
There is no suffering in this Utopic land. People don’t fall down the stairs and break their silly necks. When they take a toss from their pretty red bicycles, they land in the softest hay. When a shiny red Jaguar (there are only the highest end cars in Utopia. They all run on water- thus producing no smoky smog to choke the life out of you) rolls over you, some kindly soul just scrapes you off the tarmac with a handy spoon and you are as good as new. If not better.
No one dies in Utopia. They live on and on forever. Happily ever after was a phrase coined in a utopic moment, in case you ever wondered. There is always a balmy sunshine abroad. Birds are a-twitter and exotic, colorful butterflies a-flitter (poetry!). The green is the greenest green, the blue its bluest blue. All other colors trying desperately to catch up with the leaders- and nearly making it. Pleasant, I am sure you will agree.
With nothing to do all day and everyone to do it with, the state would be idyllic. With no fear of gaining poundage, you would stuff your face with goodies like there’s no tomorrow. On and on. Sometimes you’d stuff yourself to the gills all by your ownsome, sometimes you’d visit people (or they would visit you) and you’ll stuff your respective faces together (ugh!). Did I hear a soft sigh there? Ummm… I know, right?
Since no one would be in pain, people who get their kicks from being kindly to those less fortunate than themselves will have nobody needing their
cloying ministrations. We’d clean up the language of useless adages like no pain no gain. In the first place, they’d be Not Applicable. In the second, when there is already unlimited chocolate, what are you going to do with more? It’s like saying you want to multiply infinity by two so you’d have two infinities instead of one. Yes, it’s that silly. Very silly.
Which is all very well. But what about me?
I hate chocolate. Sweet things make me feel ill. I am very fine with Jaguars running on water and the whole sunshine and birds-n- bees scenario. And don’t you dare accuse me of kindliness! I haven’t a kind bone in my body! In short, the utopia described above is anything but- for me. In the colloquial, it sucks! I want OUT!
My utopia is a lot simpler. As I said, I dig the cars. Those, we will keep and wipe out the rest of the gawdawful stuff. As for sweetness- of any kind- you don’t want to get me started on that, do you?
I’ll take the pain (and the gain). I’ll take suffering and back breaking labor. I’m very fine with death and loss. I can take human fickleness and am willing to be betrayed. I can deal with having my heart broken and my love spurned. Disappointment and hurt don’t scare me anymore and I can impudently cock an irreverent snook at them.
Just give me a world where I won’t have to compromise with my values- or integrity.
That’s all the Utopia I want.
Note: This post was first published in Fried Eye, a variety feature e-zine.
Please add some chaat and bhelpuri to your Utopia!!!
Ah Mimmy! Looks like you are sickened of the Chocolate too! 😀
Chaat and Bhelpuri added. As requested.
I don’t think there is any compulsion to compromise our values or integrity – in this world of ours. Most of the times we do it voluntarily (for the perceived benefits they might offer). Even if under compulsion, the choice is finally ours.
For the record, I have never compromised on my values or integrity. As you say, it is a choice.
But when I wrote that my Utopia would be a world where I am not asked/ expected/ compelled to compromise with my values… I meant literally that. I don’t want to be compelled. I may never give in to the compulsion… but why should an attempt at compulsion be made in the first place?
Ah! There is another name for that Utopia you described – Erehwon 🙂 Me – all the utopia I need is in my mind. It kept me happy even when I am fiddling around alone in my house with a fractured right hand in the last month of last year – what more can I ask of it 🙂
Well Suresh, not everyone can be as lucky as you. We lesser mortals have to make do with some rather mundane utopias. 🙂
Aah! Indeed–this is the Utopia we need where we can keep our values and our integrity. In btw, I need choclates–an unending supply of them and more. Don’t know what math will help–but u can do an infinity * infinity in my case for chocolates:P Rest, don’t need. Just my values.
You can’t fool with all the talk of Chocolate. I know what your priorities are, don’t I? 😀
Ah that pesky little thing called integrity. I feel if we didn’t have any of the other things you described and just had integrity instead, even this bloody place we call home might be quite like Utopia.
It will, it will! I am convinced of it Rickie.
So pleased to see you here. 🙂
I get my utopia in small doses.
I love day dreaming of how to create an utopia – how to create a system of human behaviour to achieve a perfect world.
Someday, hopefully, I may also shriek “Eureka.” Till then I have to live with small helpings.:-))
Haneef, I think we should compare notes. I dream also of a perfect world. For all we know we might be dreaming the same dream. 🙂
I am sure many would not agree with you when you say you are fine with death and loss. Practically, I agree with you.. utopically, no 🙂
As long as you agree somewhere Diwakar, I am happy. 🙂 But yes, I don’t think many will agree with me. That’s okay though. 🙂
My Utopia will be a job I love. Rest is all good in this life.
You’re lucky then Amit. 🙂
The last words were powerful, Dagny! Yep integrity and no compromise of values. But I also want a load of chocolates of all varieties, plants and trees, good health, and lots of fresh produce so that I can cook with abandon. I just wish that this word called ‘ego’ could be eliminated as well.
Let’s phase it out. No compromise first… and all else to follow. 😀