More’s Utopia Thomas Mores Utopia is one of the defining works of the Renaissance period. During this era, there was rampant change all over Eastern Europe. The failing governments were being revamped into more democratic organizations and focus was placed on the community as opposed to the dictator or monarch. Thus, the concept of an ideal society in which citizens governed themselves and strove for the good of the community, such as that in Utopia, seemed revolutionary.
His book gained widespread notoriety among the humanists of the Renaissance and to this day it continues to serve as a model of a perfect society.In my opinion, however, it serves as only that..a model of a perfect society. Utopia is simply a standard by which to compare all other societies by. I would venture to say that More created it as an unrealistic ideal and not an actual goal to be attained. Based on Mores description of Utopia, I feel that a Utopian community is not possible.
The concept of a Utopia is simply not possible for a wealth of reasons, one of which is the fact that humans are greedy. Not all people are greedy, but, as a whole, human beings are greedy, that is, they always want more. Very rarely will there be a person that is truly satisfied with the condition of his/her life.In Mores Utopia, everyone is equal; all people have the same amount of everything. Supposedly, this would prevent people from wanting more. When everyone has the same amount everyone is satisfied, right? Wrong, there is nothing to prevent people from wanting more than their ration of food, firewood, or other resources.
In a situation such as a drought where there is only a small amount of a resource and a small ration is given to everyone, people will be that much more likely to want more than their share. If all Im getting for dinner is a slice of bread I will want more regardless of the fact that everyone else is getting the same amount.This might lead to me stealing someone elses ration, thus throwing off the delicate balance of a perfect society. Furthermore, the desire for more is not limited to material things, such as food and other resources but also entails the desire for more wealth, power, or higher social standing. In a society with no class division and no wealth such as Utopia, therefore there is nothing to strive for.
When there are no goals, people will not work. Sadly, there is no incentive for people to labor for the community when there is no prospect of gaining anything for themselves. This will produce a community of apathetic, unmotivated workers, which will eventually lead to the downfall of the Utopian society. Another issue that makes Utopia an unrealistic goal is the fact that in a perfect society everyone would be equal. The concept of equality is incredibly idealistic and simply not possible amongst a large group of people.By adding slaves to the model society, it is obvious even More could not avoid class divisions. It is also human nature to put people into groups, whether it is based on skin color, creed, status or education.
Certain groups would be admired, and conversely certain groups would be looked down upon. This will create hostility and unrest amongst the citizens and will ultimately destroy the model society. It was nave of Thomas More to think that humans could exist in a society without ever creating social divisions.More would probably argue that without material possessions and social division people would not make distinctions between each other. However, I feel that people will create divisions among themselves, even if it must be based on the most trivial of differences. A Utopian society certainly sounds like a wonderful place, but is it a realistic place? Most people would say no, including myself. Sadly, not too many people have enough faith in human kind to ever see a community such as this one flourish.
Several years ago, an experiment in communal living was done on what is known as Brook Farm.This was supposed to be a modern day Utopia however it failed miserably due to unrest among the people living in the community. This proves that an ideal society can never exist, not because people are greedy or need to make class distinctions but because people would be unhappy in Mores Utopia due to the lack of growth and progress both in society and individually, thus making it an imperfect society.