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  Wikipedia: Utopia

Wikipedia: Utopia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Utopia is the title of a Latin book by Thomas More (circa 1516).

More depicts a rationally organised society, through the narration of an explorer, Raphael Hythlodaeus. Utopia is a republic which holds all property in common. It has no lawyers, and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its warprone neighbours. Possibly More, a religious layman who once considered joining the Church, was inspired by the monachal rule when he describes the working of his society. It was an inspiration for the Reducciones established by the Jesuits to Christianize and civilize the Guaranis.

The title has since been used as a generic word to describe both works of fiction in which the author's theories of a better way to organise society are dramatised, and actual communities founded in attempts to put such theories into practice.

The word "utopia" is intended by More to suggest two Greek neologisms simultaneously: outopia (noplace) and eutopia (goodplace).

The utopia can be idealistic or practical, but the term has acquired a strong connotation of optimistic, idealistic, impossible perfection. The utopia may be usefully contrasted with the undesirable dystopia (anti-utopia, pseudo-utopia) and the satirical utopia.


Socialist and communist utopias generally revolve around a more equitable distribution of goods, frequently with the total abolition of money, and citizens only doing work which they enjoy and which is for the common good, leaving them with ample time for the cultivation of the arts and sciences.

Political and historical

A global utopia of world peace is often seen as one of the possible inevitable endings of history.


The Christian and Islamic ideas of heaven tend to be utopian, especially in their folk-religious forms: inviting speculation about existence free of sin and poverty or any sorrow, beyond the power of death (although "heaven" in Christian eschatology at least, is more nearly equivalent to life within God Himself, visualized as an earth-like paradise in the sky). In a similar sense, a Buddhist concept of Nirvana may be thought of as a kind of utopia. Religious utopias, perhaps expansively described as a garden of delights, existence free of worry amid streets paved with gold, in a bliss of enlightenment enjoying nearly godlike powers, are often a reason for perceiving benefit in remaining faithful to a religion, and an incentive for converting new members.

See also: End of the world, Eschatology, Millennialism, Utopianism

Scientific and technological

These are set in the future, when advanced science and technology will allow utopian living standards; for example, the absence of death and suffering; changes in human nature and the human condition.

See also: transhumanism, technological singularity

Opposing this optimism is the prediction that advanced science and technology will, through deliberate misuse or accident, cause humanity's extinction. These pessimists advocate precautions over embracement.


The City of the Sun (1623) by Tommaso Campanella
  • The New Atlantis (1627) by Francis Bacon
  • Oceana (1656) by James Harrington
  • The section in Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift depicting the calm, rational society of the Houyhnhms, is certainly utopian, but it is meant to contrast with that of the yahoos, who represent the worst that the human race can do.
  • Voyage en Icarie (1840) by Etienne Cabet
  • Erewhon (1872) by Samuel Butler
  • Looking Backward (1888), by Edward Bellamy
  • Freiland (1890) by Theodor Hertzka
  • News from Nowhere (1891), by William Morris; see also the Arts and Crafts Movement founded to put his ideas into practice
  • A large number of books by H.G. Wells, including A Modern Utopia (1905)
  • Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) can be considered an example of pseudo-utopian satire (see also dystopia).
  • B. F. Skinner's Walden Two (1948)
  • Atlas Shrugged (1957) by Ayn Rand
  • Star Trek (1966) science fiction television series by Gene Roddenberry
  • The Dispossessed (1974), a science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, is sometimes said to represent one of the few modern revivals of the utopian genre, though it is notable that one of the major themes of the work is the ambiguity of different notions of utopia. Le Guin presents a world in which ditches do need digging, and sewers need unblocking---this drudgery is divided among all adults, and is contrasted, in the language of the utopia, with their everyday, more satisfying work.
  • Ecotopia (novel) (1975) by Ernest Callenbach
  • The Three Californias Trilogy (especially The Pacific Edge (1990)) and the Red / Green / Blue Mars (1990s) trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Giver (1993), novel by Lois Lowry, depicts a "perfect" society of the far future whose elimination of war, disease, fear, &c. comes at the inherent price of the repression of human emotions, individuality, and free will.
  • most of the stories in Future Primitive - The New Ecotopias (1994), edited by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Hedonistic Imperative (1996), an online manifesto by David Pearce, outlines how genetic engineering and nanotechnology will abolish suffering in all sentient life.
  • The Matrix (1999), a film by the Wachowski brothers, describes a virtual reality controlled by artificial intelligence such as Agent Smith. Smith says that the first Matrix was a utopia, but humans disbelieved and rejected it because they "define their reality through misery and suffering." Therefore, the Matrix was redesigned to simulate human civilization with all its suffering.
  • Islandia (2002), by Austin Tappan Wright

  • See also cacotopia, Utopia Planitia, utopic socialism, ecotopia.

    Note: The article Utopian/Dystopian Fiction is a old placekeeper with notes on various books and should be refactored into the Utopia and Dystopia articles.

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    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
    Modified by Geona