As far as the big literary Utopias go there's nobody better to describe a brief history than Margaret Atwood in her article published this weekend in the London Guardian. In our longing to have everything, and to have it all be perfect, human beings have a strong tendency to build imaginary worlds. It could be argued that most creative activity, albeit some with much more skill than others, is based on our individual visions of a better world. In the article she discusses the diverse possible futures foreseen by two of the 20th centuries better known authors: George Orwell's '1984' and Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Both of them wrote about future Dystopian societies growing out of the industrial and war profiteering cultures that were burgeoning between two world wars. As the Utopian dreams of the 19th century were being made irrelevant there were many who saw limitless expansion as a Utopia yet to come. Orwell and Huxley both provided excellent forewarning of the price to be paid for allowing optimism to overcome understanding.
It's always a little too easy to imagine the past as having been better than the present simply because we can't go there. It's over but since we can look back while wearing any style of rose colored glasses we choose we can make any time period into one that would have suited us, as we know ourselves now, quite admirably. We like to daydream and there's nothing wrong with that but we should keep in mind that life is always imperfect and our real choices are few no matter when or where we live.
So far as small Utopias are concerned this is one we've been enjoying for nearly two years. The story was written by a young Korean and is from one of the game pages my husband frequents. It reminds us that the best presents don't have to be real in the physical sense and that the only true Utopia is the one that feeds your heart.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to come.