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  1. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    How to Improve Society

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Snoopingaround, Sep 28, 2011.

    Is a Utopia possible? This is not necessarily to say that we will ever live in a Utopian society, a land without poverty or hunger or crime, but my question is can something resembling a Utopian civilization be an actual possibility for humanity in the future?

    Assuming it is possible, what can be done now that would bring us closer to that ideal? Let's say that you had the ability to shape a new society from the decaying husks of an old, ruthless, and ineffective system (hmm...maybe like what many countries in the world have now), what ideas for a new economic, political and social system do you believe would better serve the needs and aspirations of people in society? Or, do you have an idea or a policy that you think can at least improve existing social and economic conditions at present times?

    Or, if you don't believe that anything can be improved about society generally, explain why you think that is the case...
     

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  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    This whole idea is all explained in the novel called "The Giver". The whole concept of utopia, and the question to keep it within our reach is all shown.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, not for the human race, anyway... see related works on my website for why...
    www.saysmom.com

    here's just one of many:

     
  4. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Utopia is fully possible, but not here on Earth. It's far too overpopulated, too polluted and too corrupt. But that said, if we could focus more on space travel and move to other planet, we can solve a lot of issues in one go. We'd send a lot of people from Earth to other planets, making this planet less populated. The immigration to the other planets will be stricktly regulated, so we get a lot of people with the same ideas and same ideals living on them. Earth can never be at peace when there are so many people fighting wars for so many idiotic reaons, but if we could remove the need for war, we'd remove most of the issues we have here.

    I know many of you think it's impossible to travel to other planets, and the nearest earth-like planet I know is at least 20 lightyears away. That means if we travel in a direct line at the speed of light the whole time, it would still take at least 20 years to get there. But a hundred years ago, it was 'impossible' to travel to the moon, and 500 years ago, it was 'impossible' to drive a car. Who knows what things would look like 500 years from now? And three of the biggest religions on the planet (Christianity, Judeism and Islam) are all about 3.000 years old or less. How will the Earth look 3.000 years from now? It seems like a long time for us, but it's not long in the big picture. Even the US as we know it is only a few centuries old.
     
  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    A global utopia, no - conflict will always exist. A sustainable society can exist, however.

    As for a global/universal utopia,
    Only a global/universal civilization could work, in which only one dogma controlled education, the media, everything. An entire generation and onwards would have to be separated from society and directed towards a common focus.

    Yes, this is extremist. That it the nature of the term 'utopia'. It is the ideal society based on a group's definition of perfection. Perfection is not constant, the world is diverse.
     
  6. Allan Paas
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    Humanity is partly corrupt for one thing, plus the overpopulation. To solve that is either set strict rules and wait till the situation gets better (that, I guess, would take centuries), which I doubt it would. Or, since everything has gone as far as it has, it is easier to determine those who are basically worthless and then just start killing them. After that a new world order or something similar must be put in effect.
    Since probably nothing has a purpose or meaning, there is no point for anything, everything just happened to be this way. But since we DO exist, we might as well take a purpose for ourselves and the most logical one would be survival as a species for as long as possible. It would be very important to make the "survivors" understand that, make them understand that you have to do whatever is necessary so we actually would survive, even if it would require the killing of say 99% of humanity. Those who don't understand that have no place to be alive. It sounds extremely harsh but it also is the truth. If I were to go into details, that could easily be a book's worth of material.

    Something like a utopia is possible but with a very high cost, a necessary cost if we care about humanity's survival, or survival as a reasonable and logical race.

    Perfect as a universal concept does not exist. Every individual has their own definition of perfect, even if it seems exactly the same there are possibly some minor dissimilarities.
     
  7. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a prototype habitation, research, lectures, solutions, and precise new world re-evaluations stemming from Venus, Florida. It is not the perfect system but certainly a better one proposed by Architect Jacque Fresco.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's kind of shameless plugging, isn't it? I mean, there's no real evidence in that poem for why you think humankind is bad. It's also kind of politically incorrect, what with the mankind versus humankind debate that cropped up however many years ago, and your fourth and fifth stanzas are out of alignment with the number of lines in the others.

    I definitely think a utopia is possible, and to entirely refute the idea that it's possible but not for humankind: might I remind you all that we are an ever-changing species. As we procreate more and more, the genome of our entire race changes. One day, we will cease to be Homo sapiens and will become something different.

    Personally, I see utopia as already having existed. There's a small mountain forest in Kenya (I do believe) that was only recently discovered by the world at large. Nearby villagers used it to hide, and they didn't want their place discovered, so they never told anyone about it. It's virtually untouched and all the animals that live there are slightly different species to what we've already discovered because they're been isolated for so long.
    I like to think of that place as having been a utopia until it was discovered by scientific men.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Education. Education for everybody in a broad range of subjects with a strong emphasis on critical thinking. We have a ton of problems in this world, most of which probably can't be truly solved but have to be lived with, and ways of living with them (or solving them, if possible) won't be found by ignorant people. They'll be found by educated, well-rounded, open-eyed critical thinkers.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I doubt that. Some of the most educated people I know, with Masters Degrees and Ph.D.s, are also some of the most irrational and incapable of coming up with common sense solutions to problems. The idea that high levels of education necessarily produces better solutions is false, in my view. The solutions proposed have to evaluated on their own merits, and I think it is a mistake to either accept them or discount them based on the education level (or lack thereof) of the person making the proposition.
     
  11. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    Nations are now operating on global scales. Traditional common sense is fine, but universal problems won't be solved by listening to everyone and accepting their opinions based on merit, or else there would be millions of opinions and nothing would ever get accomplished. The educated, informed, and literate have always been the ones to shape history, if not for the better.

    Education may not be required to solve certain problems, but on a larger scale there's no alternative. While I'm sure there are many common sense issues out there to be solved, every country, and groups within that country, have their own forms of common sense. That term differentiates based on whatever part of the world or country you choose, therefore it can't be possibly be a reliable or trusted standard, especially when trying to solve a problem that requires prior knowledge of more than one side, or more than two minutes of critical thought. For those problems you need education. Not for the classes, but because education teaches a love of knowledge, acceptance of other ways of doing things, and most importantly- critical thought.

    While someone may think an answer to a problem may be very simple, 99% of the time someone in the world will disagree. Instead of pushing "common" sense, it would be best to use critical analysis to appeal to logic, reason, and emotion.

    Blah.
     
  12. CULLEN DORN
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    "Save America ... whack a Republican; save the planet ... whack two of 'em."

    Partially kidding, of course. ;)

    "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,"
    was then and still is a cry for utopia on earth.

    Is it possible? I do believe it is however not at present what with the tsunami forces of avarice
    and political apathy running amuck. In the dim past the political powers would burn books to
    keep the populace ignorant. But today a different method is executed. There's no more burning
    books. Instead society is fed incessantly with inane television programs, celebrities, visual gimmicks,
    celebrities, unreported news, more celebrities, and spoon-fed oblivion unparallel in our history.
    But in spite of current affairs the human spirit will tire and sigh for a higher plane of cognition.
    And I surmise evolution will prod them on. :)
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Read what I said again. I said a broad range of subjects with a strong emphasis on critical thinking. Don't confuse having a Ph.D with having an education. I, too, have met Ph.Ds who are irrational and ignorant of practically everything except their own narrow speciality. They certainly aren't those I referred to as "well-rounded, open-eyed critical thinkers."
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The only problem, Minstrel, is that some of the most capable problem solvers I know have little to no education whatsoever. A few of them own their own businesses and are people I'd rather have make decisions in a pinch than someone else who has had years of "well-rounded" education. It makes the most sense to me to judge each proposal on its own merits instead of coming to it based on preconceived notions of how educated or uneducated a person might be.
     
  15. mugen shiyo
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    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

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    Nope. All those external factors like politics, overpopulation, and such aside, I think it's pretty much a people problem. If there was only a family of four living in the world, chances are they are not going to get along.
     
  16. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    This. You can't have a utopia as long as there are individuals with individual thoughts, wants, needs, etc. Small groups of people who think/believe most of the same things - perhaps. But utopia almost demands conformity and that would, IMHO, be hell.
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    There are a number of problems with the reasoning here.

    1. With respect to educated people influencing events, the argument fails to properly distinguish between causation and correlation and consider that for much of human history the people who were privileged enough to receive an education were those who were in positions of wealth and power. They didn't influence events because they were educated; they were educated because they had wealth and influence. And of course the uneducated influenced events as well.

    2. Common sense is not an antithesis of education. The two are not mutually exclusive. The qualities generally labeled "common sense" can serve an educated person in decision making, and without them an educated person may well be a poor decision maker. The idea proposed earlier in the thread that education was the simple answer is, in fact, too simple.

    3. The argument illustrates perfectly why utopia is probably not attainable. We're all fairly well educated here, I'd guess, and the conceit running through this thread basically says that the way to utopia is to have "more people that think like/agree with me." But the 'us versus them' mentality, the like and not like way of looking at the world that this mentality embodies, is a big part of the reason we won't achieve utopia. It is biologically built into us.

    4. "Blah" is an ineffective closing.
     
  18. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    Creating a utopia is actually quite simple. All you have to do is completely eliminate anything and everythying that might cause any individual or group of individuals to be stressed.

    In other words, all we have to do is eliminate:
    1) hierarchys
    2) socio-economic status
    3) any form of competetion
    4) all diseases, and/or experiences that might cause physical or mental anguish
    5) the desire as well as ability for any single individual to strive for greater things

    So you see? It really is quite simple.
     
  19. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    And we can easily manufacture the solution.
    1279690469174.jpg

    If we could eliminate stress, we would have done so long, long ago. However, without stress we would not have civilization, order, or any of the everyday services people take for granted. This kind of change would take years and every individual to agree on it. You cannot have a utopia unless everyone participates.

    Good luck with that.
     
  20. Chad J Sanderson
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    I'll address your points in the order you brought them up.

    1. Of course the uneducated have influenced events, every caliber of person from every walk of life has influenced events somewhere in some form or fashion. And now you're the one being mutually exclusive saying that education goes hand in hand with power, which it does not. While many great leaders have influenced the world through birth rights or positions of affluence, others got to that level BECAUSE of education. I feel like this would ring especially true on a WRITING forum, since many Nobel Prize winning authors and Philanthropists came from poor backgrounds and typically spent time in war or poverty. The great thinkers of every generation have almost 100% of the time been educated. The concept of a self made man/woman holds particular true in creative and philanthropic fields. Is your point that it's a bad thing to gain knowledge?

    2. I never said that they were. But you're much more likely to be heard and recognized if you can articulate your common sense and provide evidence.

    3. I agree with you. I don't believe it's attainable and never said it was. If you're saying my points are in the vein of 'us vs. them' you misread. I was only pointing out "common sense," that having more knowledge, being more globally aware, etc are all ways to allow people to communicate more effectively with each other thereby solve bigger and more permeating problems. In a perfect world everyone would be able to relate to everyone. We'd read Homer one day and then sheer the sheep and plant corn the next. I grew up in a very poor town with lots of very poor people. Getting into college completely changed my life, not only because of the job opportunities that result from high education, but being able to meet so many different types of people and professors and listen to them speak. In Robeson I'd never heard of Descartes and Locke and Mill, nor is philosophy my major, but it changed the way I saw the world and myself. That may not happen with everyone, but without education there's a much lower oppurtunityto experience different ideals, opinions, and viewpoints. Knowledge is a way to connect those who would otherwise have nothing in common. An educated inner city kid from Atlanta and a butcher from India both know what Pi is, and thereby have a commonality. It's great to explore and understand our differences, but if all we had were differences in culture, differences in opinion, and differences in language, we'd be waging war on every country at our borders.

    Would education for everyone solve the worlds problems? Of course not. But it would help in the dissemination of critical thought and expand global and cultural awareness so that an individual can lend either his/her expertise or common sense to the aid of the people in whatever form that might be.

    4. Get the stick out of your butt. Blah. :)

    ---------- Post added at 09:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 AM ----------

    I think it was a joke. :)
     
  21. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I tend to agree with this. I think having a broader view, and also a broad range of experiences, is the key. Concentrating solely on formal education can minimize the latter. I know plenty of well-educated people who are very narrow-minded in their viewpoint because they have a narrow range of experience, and they surround themselves with a narrow range of viewpoints. People with formal education tend to be more liberal politically, for example, and they delude themselves into thinking that this equates with tolerance and open-mindedness, when in fact many of them are just as intolerant and closed-minded as the most uneducated right-wing zealot. The reason is that neither group has a breadth of experience that allows them to appreciate viewpoints outside of their own. Ideally, I think you would want educated people who also have a lot of real-world, practical experience doing things that are not related to their formal education. Those people can effectively draw on both. It is an important balance - overemphasizing either one to the exclusion of the other is a bad idea.

    But I don't think human nature will allow for a utopia any time soon. The need to associate with "like" and to distrust and eliminate "not-like" is something that served our early ancestors well and has become ingrained in our biology. It will take a look time to evolve away from that, if in fact we ever can.
     
  22. Quezacotl
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    I hoped it was.
     
  23. Pallas
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    I think many here confuse human behavior with an unquestioned common concept of nature. While I can believe people are born with certain physiological or neurochemical tendencies, that is hardly an indelible road to strife and misery. Society is an organic thing and such, its many parts must be working in unison to achieve something beyond the idea of an established civilization, something akin to a beehive (from my bee keeping helper days). But how things seem now, how entrenched factions are in their notions of patriotism/nationalism/class/race/them/us/ a turnaround for the better might not exclude a total tear down of all assumptions and expectations of what a society is.
     
  24. shadowwalker
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    The 'problem' with any society (or any definition of a society) is that there is an inherent issue of fairness. Someone has to decide what is fair - and that's where things break down. People (even if they aren't the actual parties involved) do not always agree on what is fair, except perhaps in generalities or hypotheticals. And there's also the idea of the individual - in a truly utopian society, can there be room for mavericks, for freethinkers, even for the introvert versus the extrovert? Can any society be conflict-free without enforcing conformity? Or fear? It seems to me, at least, that for a larger population, it is impossible to have both a 'utopia' and humans with [working] brains.
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. This brings up the important question of whether a Utopia is even desirable. I'd argue that it is not, for the reasons you state. A utopia is necessarily one groups definition of utopia, which may not hold true for all.

    And I do believe that humans are biologically disposed to characteristics that make strife likely.
     
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