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Blind in Utopia

Thinking anew about Utopia -- I wonder if there are Utopian schemes that can accommodate people with impairments.  I am sure there are Utopias where impairments are fixed; and there are dystopias where perfect bodies are required and those who don;t measure up are disposed of.  But what about Utopias where impairments are accepted and dealt wisely with?


Feb. 10th, 2012 05:22 pm (UTC)
Starship Troopers is a great example of what I was saying in my own response. Utopia's and Dystopia's are often so similar that any line of demarcation is barely visible. The word Dystopian itself is not it's own word in terms of linguistics but rather was coined to convey something that was not Utopian. If a Utopia means both a good place and a place that doesn't really exist then its opposite must mean a bad place or a place that really does exist (If I may play a little word play game). So in the real world we are far more likely to see a successful Dystopia.

Feb. 11th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
chelseagirl on another post related that when she asked her students to name a Utopia, all they could come up with was dystopias. Which are not only commoner now but I guess seem more likely.
Feb. 11th, 2012 03:29 pm (UTC)
I suppose entropy is easier to recognize. If you subscribe to circular philosophy utopia breeds its own dystopia which in term lead back to a new utopia. Most of the time spent living is in those intermediate periods
Feb. 13th, 2012 12:49 pm (UTC)
Did the students think they were dystopias ?
They might consider Brave New World a Utopia now given the enthusiasm for fully pneumatic breast implants (a description that conjures up a number of strange images)
Feb. 14th, 2012 07:26 am (UTC)
I think the problem is that ideal societies are boring. Conflict is what makes a story interesting. But we think an ideal society would be free of conflict. Dystopias are easier to write.

I have a good collection of utopian literature because it interests me. There needs to be a conflict for there to be a story.

In "The City, Not Long After" by Pat Murphy, and "The Fifth Sacred Thing" by Starhawk, the conflict was with other societies.

"Herland", "Ecotopia", and "Looking Backward" were travelogs. The conflict was the narrator's personal journey.

Many 'utopian' stories, like Frederik Pohl's "JEM", deal with how to solve a problem the society has.

And then there are stories, like "Candide", "Gulliver's Travels", and "Erewhon", that are social commentaries. Which segue into dystopian literature.
Feb. 11th, 2012 09:03 am (UTC)
I don't think it's a Dystopia. Being at war is actually a perfectly acceptable condition for a utopia. Thomas More's Utopia is at war with its neighbours.
Feb. 11th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
"Being at war" and "making military service the sole route to full citizenship" are not the same thing.
Feb. 12th, 2012 09:48 am (UTC)
The world of Starship Troopers would not suit me-- I am a Quaker-- but within its own terms it has resolved the issue of who gets to rule, and insists that everyone has access to that route. If they choose not to take it, that's their choice, but no one is preventing them.
Feb. 11th, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
And if you look at Moores Utopia you see perfection through oppression. It is In part because it views its world order as superior which is why my point is the difference between utopia and dystopia is relative and subjective. The most oppressed state can be utopic for those not directly oppressed. In the years after Americas Civil War the Lost cause myth arose and recast the South as a grand utopia. For slave owners its was like a land of milk and honey but for slaves and even poor whites it was far from it. In fact the term Utopia was often used to describe the South by writers including Joel Chandler Harris. His Uncle Remission stories are very utopic in the way they are presented.
Feb. 11th, 2012 04:11 pm (UTC)
Nice spellcheck oddity there.]

I think what Uncle Remus portrayed was not so much utopia as Eden. Utopia being the perfect soiciety we can build with foresight and wisdom ("where everybody wants to do what they should," W.H. Auden) and Eden the place we once lived in where everything was perfect till we lost it ("where everyone should do what they want," Auden.)
Feb. 14th, 2012 07:27 am (UTC)
I find the argument that "Dystopian itself is not it's own word in terms of linguistics but rather was coined to convey something that was not Utopian" amusing. As if 'utopia' was not also a made up word. Every word had to be made up by somebody at some point.
Feb. 14th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
And in the case of Utopia we know by whom -- Thomas More. Dystopia probaboy has a nameable author but I don't know it.