November 16, 2013

Utopia revisited

When I was a teenager in the 1960s, it was an accepted fact that humanity was on the road to Utopia, a scientifically perfected existence.

Sci-fi writers showed us what this might be like. Apparently, every person on Earth would be able to reach his or her potential. Opportunities and education would be available to all, tailored to match each person's talents. Money, of course, wouldn't matter at all. We could have all the goods we wanted; robots would make the stuff to our specifications. There is no need for money in Utopia.

It sounded grand and likely. After all, humans are such an intelligent species. It's obvious we would work toward this goal and achieve it. The golden age of mankind was right around the corner.

But of course, over 50 years has passed and we're no closer to that egalitarian goal than we were when it was just a hippie dream. I don't think I need to embellish this statement with links; you know it's true. The world, as currently managed by humans, is an ugly cauldron of greed and suffering -- the latter usually caused by the former. So much for utopian dreams.

As I pondered this loss, something occurred to me. You know what couldn't exist in Utopia, even for five seconds? Filthy rich people. And that is why it's still only a dream.

Note regarding the image: I'm not sure who I should credit for the photo. I found it on this page. Here's an excerpt from the post where the photo appears. It's by Steve Morris and it fits right in:
If humans were invited to a meeting of intergalactic intelligences, then we’d turn up late in a used spaceship, borrow someone else’s pencil to take notes, then blow a raspberry at a crucial moment in the discussion. Everything about human society is cobbled together at the last minute and held together with sticking plasters.

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