Espen Hammer’s article “A Utopia for a Dystopian Age” left me with many things to ponder.
“Utopia comes in many forms – it can be dreamy, creating thoughts of cosmic expansion and immortality. It can be ready to intervene and bring about concrete transformation, calling out for the abolition of all social injustice. Unfortunately, demand for perfection in all things human is often pitched at such a high level that it comes across as aggressive and ultimately destructive.”
Espen discusses the current (political and technological) pendulum swing and speaks to the conflict of looking into the future versus looking into an idealized past. Which look is better? Which way do you look?
Is it too dreamy to think of the world becoming a better place? Is it too naive to believe in the goodness of people? Will technology ruin us or expand us for the better?
In my personal opinion, I look to the future with a growth mindset and with optimism (both professionally and personally). I want to choose a strength-based and positive stance on the choices I make rather than a deficit-based approach. I would much rather magnify the strengths in my experiences than be consumed by my weaknesses. I also strive to instill this belief in those around me. So when I came across this article, I agreed with Espen’s expression of embracing change, even radical change, in order to find purpose.
Think I’m naive? I snowflake even (ugh)? A hippy?
Now, now, of course I know everything in the world isn’t all chocolates and kittens and I know there’s a sh*t ton of work to do when it comes to the state of the world… and it’s going to move on whether I’m are ready for it or not. So where do I start when it comes to actually doing something instead of just dreaming about it?
Instead of being overwhelmed with the thoughts of past and present, I loved Espen’s conclusion that narrowed down these pendulum concepts to focus on the one important candidate- the Earth. Depending upon your love-hate relationship with Utopia, certainly we can all agree that none of us will have a Utopian future, if we don’t have a planet to stand on.
“As the climate is rapidly changing and the species extinction rate reaches unprecedented levels, we desperately need to conceive of alternative ways of inhabiting the planet.
Are our industrial, capitalist societies able to make the requisite changes? If not, where should we be headed? This is a utopian question as good as any. It is deep and universalistic. Yet it calls for neither a break with the past nor a headfirst dive into the future. The German thinker Ernst Bloch argued that all utopias ultimately express yearning for a reconciliation with that from which one has been estranged.
A 21st-century utopia of nature would do that.”
What are you doing to/for the Earth to secure your Utopian future? Or did the Earth even cross your mind?