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Everyone knows the term, but how many people know what it is?

Utopia, by Saint Thomas More, published in 1516. Very similar to the later Gulliver's Travels - but not as over the top and a little more serious (though already openly satirical).

The original title reads: “A truly golden little book, no less beneficial than entertaining, of a republic's best state and of the new island Utopia”.

So like Gulliver's Travels it poses as a travel log, but of course this Island of Utopia was never actually found and like in Gulliver's Travels, merely serves to illustrate the contrast between how things COULD be and how things are in reality. But Sir Thomas More actually has some good and practical ideas. Unlike what the term “Utopia” came to mean nowadays, this original Island of Utopia is not a society so perfect that it would be out of the question and unreachable. It's not some unattainable heaven on earth where everyone is free and equal and where everyone has everything and where milk and honey flow. It's actually not much different from the Europe of the early Renaissance in which More lived. Utopia doesn’t have some fancy new form of government. Utopia is a monarchy like any monarchy at that time. Only that the people in Utopia have maybe a LITTLE more freedom than people from other states and are a LITTLE more reasonable and considerate than how people are in reality. And above all: people in Utopia don't get executed for political reasons… like what so many self proclaimed Utopian states have done and what More himself ultimately fell victim of.

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en/utopia.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/20 00:04 by manus