Why Are Utopias “Imaginary”? Essay

1080 words - 5 pages

A place where everything is perfect, where there are no troubles, where everybody wants to live: these are the things we immediately associate with a utopia. But what really characterizes this divine paradise? A utopia is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect.”
The social conditions of a utopia entail that every single organism holds a position within the society that he desires. Could this ever be achieved with a class system? No. One could never covet others’ social statuses if the population was socially undivided. George Orwell’s Animal Farm epitomizes this very condition. By removing the two class structure—humans and animals—the Manor Farm is transformed into a utopia. Each and every animal on the farm is regarded to be equal. There was no more human tyranny, but instead a communal and democratic society where one animal had just as much social influence as the next. Libria, depicted in Kurt Wimmer’s film, Equilibrium, is yet another example of the elimination of a hierarchy. People dressed in the same clothes, lived in the same houses, and felt the same things. There was no variation, just a single class: human. This seems simple, but how could this ever be preserved?
Equality of this level could not be maintained without the proper rules to stop disparity before it emerges. Look around. What is stopping your neighbour from killing you? Laws that stop murder are as essential to our current society as laws that stop divergence in a utopia. When the Animal Farm was saved from the destitute Manor Farm, the seven commandments were developed to stop one animal from being superior to the next or from resembling a human:
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or haw wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal. (15)
In Libria, laws against deviating from the emotional equilibrium suppressed individuals’ needs to assert their dominance over others by eliminating contempt. But what good are these laws without anyone to enforce them?
The government in a utopia differs from that of one familiar to us. Instead of simply causing a raucous, the government is held to the same strict standards as the citizens are held to. This creates a governing body that wants to improve life in the utopia for the citizens simply because they are citizens as well. On the Animal Farm, the pigs are elected to create order in their society: “With their superior knowledge it was natural that [the pigs] should assume the leadership” (17). The pigs were able to create systems that saw no animal treated differently from another, including the pigs themselves. In Libria, the government ridded themselves of hate to remove belligerence, just as the pedestrians had. This mutual belief resulted in...

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