Essays Of Utopia

And not only has the utopian imagination been stung by its own failures, it has also had to face up to the two fundamental dystopias of our time: those of ecological collapse and thermonuclear warfare. Yet these are not challenges but chillingly realistic scenarios of utter destruction and the eventual elimination of the human species.From the vantage point of the utopian imagination, history — that gushing river of seemingly contingent micro-events — has taken on meaning, becoming a steadfast movement the sought-for condition supposedly able to justify all previous striving and suffering.Utopianism can be dreamy in a John Lennon “Imagine”-esque way.Even the internet, perhaps the most recent candidate for technological optimism, turns out to have a number of potentially disastrous consequences, among them a widespread disregard for truth and objectivity, as well as an immense increase in the capacity for surveillance.The utopias of justice seem largely to have been eviscerated by 20th-century totalitarianism.That candidate is nature and the relation we have to it. No amount of human intervention would ever exhaust its resources. 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. The German thinker Ernst Bloch argued that all utopias ultimately express yearning for a reconciliation with that from which one has been estranged. Espen Hammer is a professor of philosophy at Temple University and the author of “Adorno’s Modernism: Art, Experience, and Catastrophe.” Now in print: “The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments,” an anthology of essays from The Times’s philosophy series, edited by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley, published by Liveright Books.Are our industrial, capitalist societies able to make the requisite changes? Have you ever wondered about after getting up in the morning and never have to look in the mirror and do your hair or pick out an outfit good enough?Even have to worry about getting laid off and losing your home and possibly getting a divorce?While the French Revolution had its fair share of such visions, they reached an apotheosis in 20th-century Marxist politics.Despite his own personal rejection of utopianism, Lenin, high on his pedestal addressing workers in October 1917, came to be the embodiment of all three forms of utopia.


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