5.a.1 – Shall we pursue the utopia?

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June 12, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Shall we pursue the utopia?

Utopia is often defined, although it is not its original meaning, as a project not feasible but  based on principles universally judged as correct; from this definition derives that of utopian, seen as a person who decides to follow an ideal that feels to be right even knowing that this ideal will remain unfulfilled. This concept applies to projects which tend to an ideal and perfect society, a fraternal society without injustices, while recognizing that this is an unrealistic and unachievable condition.
There are those who exalt the utopians as men on which placing the hope of a better world, like those who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for a right ideal; others see them as examples to follow, trusting in such a universal spread of utopian ideal to enable its actual implementation; in other cases the utopians are considered pure men without sin and, as such, worthy of utmost respect; finally there are those who, while considering them as incurable dreamers, are still fascinated by them.
Even this time is appropriate to stop and reflect: when a project, although based on principles deemed fair by all, is judged unfeasible, what is the point of bringing it forward? If a project does not lead to concrete results, we can study some corrective actions and try, but always in the belief of reaching sooner or later the objectives set; being stuck instead on a project which by definition is unattainable is simply absurd. Furthermore, how an unachievable ideal may be universally considered right? If really we all agreed, this would be an ideal not only feasible, but already achieved; if this was an ideal truly shared, such as maintaining the physique we have at twenty years until we are ninety, or the possibility of breathe under water, failure would be due to the fact that this is not a legitimate aim, but simply against nature. Extreme examples have been made to stress the paradox implicit in this definition of utopia, but it is important not to confuse the right ideals with those unattainable: that confusion brings to a very serious consequence concerning the psychological pollution, i.e. it leads to accuse of utopianism, and therefore of unfeasibility, innovative and valid projects, only guilty of breaking the existing schemes, schemes that are maybe exceeded and therefore unfit to new environmental and social exigencies. Instead, we saw how, in full adaptive emergency, it is essential to adapt quickly to changing conditions without being stuck to bias, nor to sayings of which we do not even know the exact meaning.
We can therefore conclude that:
– if the utopia is an unfeasible project, then it is a project to be abandoned
– the Utopians do not exist: those who believe in the realization of an unachievable project are people who are wrong; those who do not believe in the feasibility of a project and still insist on pursuing it, are masochists; those who boast of being utopians, having suffered the charm of a paradoxical definition, are simply foolish
– an innovative project of which we do not know about similar experiences, it is not necessarily unrealistic
– a project widely experienced for a long time but that has not ever brought to the desired results, it is probably unrealistic: it therefore should not be changed forever with useless remedies, but it should be abandoned completely in order to leave time and energy to new valid projects. Often utopian projects are not abandoned, in spite of successive failures in time, only because there are no alternative projects and this suggests that the corrective actions are sufficient; once convinced to pursue a feasible project, although in need of improvement, we will tend to shy away from any truly alternative project and perhaps to consider this as unrealistic because never experienced.
A project involving the organization of our society, which aims to improve the quality of life but that is not unrealistic, therefore, must necessarily be based on a profound knowledge of human nature, both from a biological and a cultural point of view, and lead to concrete results with respect to the real problems. Who decides to undertake such a complex path, must expect to encounter various obstacles on the way, must be prepared to assess from time to time the changes of direction which may be necessary up to profoundly revise his beliefs and, above all, must not be discouraged by all those who inevitably will consider him as utopian.

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