What is Utopia?

What should the ideal community or society be like?
Thoughts and ideas on making the utopian idea reality.

What is Utopia?

Postby Sabina » Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:05 am

Since the name of this forum is, at least for the time being, Utopia, I thought it might be interesting to explore the term, its etymology and variations.

The term "utopia" was coined by Sir Thomas More (also known as Saint Thomas More) in 1516, in the book called "Of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia". Utopia refers to a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean.
It derives from Greek ou+tópos, and literally means "no (such) place".

Isola-di-Utopia-Moro.gif
Title woodcut for Utopia, by Thomas More
Isola-di-Utopia-Moro.gif (88.92 KiB) Viewed 2155 times


It has been suggested that the double meaning that results from the origin of the word was intended, and that Thomas More felt that such a place not only didn't exist, but wasn't possible.

Against all odds, today people disregard that aspect of the word, and when used it usually refers to a place that is perfect, and not a place that is non-existent.

However, it made me wonder if that was the best choice for the title of this forum. After all, the idea is to discuss a new society, a new, perhaps not perfect, but at least better structure.
And if Utopia is not the right word, then what is?
What are your thoughts?

Sabina
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Re: What is Utopia?

Postby mirjana » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:24 am

As far as I remember the description in Sir Thomas More book was in the direction how ideal society should or could be. The fact that such society does not exist is far from that not to strive or to long for such a society. Striving for ideal makes possible to come as closer as possible.
I can imagine that your question was in the direction what characteristics we would prefer to have in a society that corresponds the best where we would like to live. So, if you really think how to rename this forum, how would it be to use this word as a question?

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Re: What is Utopia?

Postby Heidi » Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:55 am

Another place like Utopia, is Shangri-La, as it is described in the novel "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton.
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