tricks and dodges
October 30, 2016, 7:47 pm
Filed under: chronotopes | Tags: , , ,

Image result for tricks and dodges sir thomas more utopia

Tricks and dodges and law used by the rich to make society in their image and to use the poor to do it, when, in another way there is more than enough to go around.

“…when I consider any social system that prevails in the modern world, I can’t, so help me God, see it as anything but a conspiracy of the rich to advance their own interests under the pretext of organizing society. They think up all sorts of tricks and dodges, first for keeping safe their ill-gotten gains, and then for exploiting the poor by buying their labour as cheaply as possible. Once the rich have decided that these tricks and dodges shall be officially recognized by society – which includes the poor as well as the rich – they acquire the force of law. Thus an unscrupulous minority is led by its insatiable greed to monopolize what would have been enough to supply the needs of the whole population…”

Thomas More, Utopia, 1516


suburbia plus dinosaurs
March 12, 2016, 2:26 pm
Filed under: chronotopes, unseen world | Tags: , , ,

Idealist 1 (believes in perfect society) > Realist < Idealist 2 (supports the status quo)

The realist, wedged between two types of idealist, believes things will change no matter what, either for the better, or for the worse. The true idealist believes there will be no change or that there can be perfection. The big surprise though, status quo is an idealist position because of the inevitability of change.

There are two kinds of starry-eyed idealist: those who believe in a perfect society; and those who hold that the future will be pretty much like the present. Wedged between them are the realists, who recognize that the future will be a lot different, though by no means necessarily better. To claim that human affairs might feasibly be much improved is a realist position; those with their heads truly in the clouds are the hard-nosed pragmatists who behave as though chocolate-chip cookies or the International Monetary Fund will still be with us in two thousand years time. Such a view is simply an inversion of the television cartoon The Flintstones, for which the remote past is just American suburbia plus dinosaurs.

Utopias I, Figures of Dissent, Terry Eagleton

arrested at utopia
July 17, 2010, 2:17 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , ,

Our cities and towns – their politics and form – are a direct consequence of the policies of our leaders and the ideas we hold dear.  Jefferson was suspicious of the city because he saw it as the seat of the totalizing power of money and capital.  Generations later we still don’t really know how to build a proper city, it seems.

The following passage talks about an ambiguity in the American mind: that our cities are developed democratically but that the cities we have made are wrong, somehow.  It implies that democracy is foundational to development, that the market should be allowed to fulfill its project and that to impose a utopian vision on the development of our built environment is, well, utopian.

Continue reading

soma free love and the feelies
April 10, 2009, 9:20 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , ,

I subscribe to Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time newsletter.  In Our Time is a culture radio program on the BBC.  He tapes his show with scholars talking about a given topic in literature or the arts and then walks through central London back to his office where he puts down the newletter.  Here is an excerpt from this weeks on Aldous Huxley’s distopian novel Brave New World.  What I find interesting, and disturbing, is Bragg’s thought that many people today would actually want the distopian life described by Huxley.  I think he is absolutely right.

From the newsletter –

A central argument of our programme was how this hugely acclaimed dystopia would in fact, in some respects, be a utopia for many people today. The notion of a life without physical pain, the notion of death made painless, the notion of being employed in an area where you were secure even though you were confined to that area, the notion that pleasure of certain sorts was always readily available. For many I think that would not be considered an entirely bad deal. There is a large dollop of snobbery in Huxley’s dismissal of the masses – vide John Carey’s magnificent book The Intellectuals and the Masses – and yet, in the final argument between John Savage and Mustapha Mond, the claims that Savage makes for art and religion are powerful and in my view, and I suspect in the view of many of you, conclusive. Yet it’s not an entirely one-sided thing. It presupposes a hierarchy of tastes which is perfectly acceptable. But it also presupposes that that hierarchy ought to be imposed which is not at all acceptable.

— Melvyn Bragg, In Our Time