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Authors write of a utopia,

When many authors write of a utopia, the question arises of how the community in the utopian society should be organized. A utopia is generally referred to as an idyllic place, but can also be referred to as simply a community in which all things run smoothly. A utopian society, in a sense, is “in the eye of the beholder. ” In modern works, such as Orwell’s 1984, the community is organized into well divided hierarchies, with the most powerful people at the top, controlling all aspects of the society.

These people have all they could ever need and although they control the entire society, Orwell never really describes what they, as individuals, are like. On the other end of this spectrum is the majority of citizens, which live with daily fear, anger and suspicion at most of what is around them. There is no love, no loyalty to one another, only to the ruling party. This society is, in a sense, a utopia, for those running it. Aldous Huxley’s version of utopia which he sets out in Brave New World is much the same as Orwell’s in respect to the power structure and the elite’s treatment of their citizens.

In this version of utopia, Huxley describes a world in which, like 1984, all people are divided into a hierarchical structure of which there is no escape. Individuals are free in as much as they think of themselves as being free, but when they begin thinking too much, there is soma to turn to, which lets them know that everything is alright. This sort of society too, is run by an elite group which controls all the process of the community, including the birth and personality of individuals.

Plato’s version of utopia which he sets out in the Republic, from which More was much inspired, has many of the same characteristics as 1984 and Brave New World; society is specially divided into definite classes, which, depended on which you are put into, determine how your life will be lived. All of these utopian societies have the same fundamental principle that sacrifices in individual freedoms are necessary for the greater good of the utopian ideal. More’s version of utopia is no different. There is not the freedom to do as one pleases in More’s Utopia.

The most severe punishment for acts forbidden by the society is to forever become a slave. And slavery, which most would not equate as a necessity in a utopia, is common in More’s version. Petty desires such as gambling, astrology and makeup are all banished in Utopia. Premarital sex is forbidden. And if one desires to travel throughout the island, a passport is required. The punishment if caught without a passport is to be put into slavery. And although it is possible to be freed for good behavior once one has been put into slavery, it probably would not happen very often considering the necessity of slavery for the development of Utopia.

If the utopian society is to be run correctly, detailed attention must be paid to the structure of community. More sees as fundamental to the workings of utopia, a society free of wealth and private property in which all things are owned in common. In fact, he goes so far as to make all citizens, men and women, conforming to the same dress standards. The structure of Utopia is set up so that there is no desire to accumulate money or property because it is completely useless. And they use gold in such a way in dealing with prisoners that the common people no longer desire it.

In many modern day societies, the purpose of many people is to raise enough money so they never again have to work. But in Utopia, those who do not work do not eat. All citizens of Utopia take their food in community dining halls. They all eat the same food, which was in turn raised by them. The exceptions to this are the old members of the society and administers, who are given the best food. Like Plato’s Republic, the citizens of More’s Utopia lived communally and with relative equality among the sexes. All people were trained in the same ways and did the same kind of work.

In the community there were no locks on any of the doors because there was no such thing as one individual’s family home; the homes were rotated between families after so many year. And although, in contrast to Plato’s Republic, women were still subordinate to men, having to confess their sins to their husbands once a month, they were seen as relatively equal and were not forbidden to learn about things such as carpentry and the military and were also, able to become priests and hold relatively powerful positions in the society.

In some ways I agree with many of the authors, including More, on the banishment of private property. If no one person can have more than any other, then you are basically guaranteed to have equality of all citizens. And when there is equality among all people, no rich and no poor, then the community ties become that much stronger, as everyone sees one another as a brother or sister, or at least equal in many respects to them.

But at the same time it seems counterintuitive to say that for everyone to be equal, they cannot own anymore than anyone else. The problem becomes, who is going to be in charge of regulating how much the community receives for their work? All of these utopias I have mentioned have as a common feature an elite group of people at the top that control the distribution of resources. But it seems to me that these people, in effect own everything, and this does not seem fair in a society where ownership is forbidden.

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