Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Perhaps Small Goals Are Better?

Dear Friends, perhaps we Utopians should NOT try to change the world because that appears to be a complete impossibility. Instead, initially perhaps, we should turn our backs to it (as the photograph shows). We can do this by rejecting materialism, capitalism, war-mongering and the whole me-first philosophy!

Perhaps the most important challenge is for Utopians to find and develop a simple, semi-communal way to live, one that is peaceful, that threatens no one, that is in harmony with the natural world, that embodies genuine love and caring for family and friends as well as those less well off than ourselves, that rejects greed, violence, depravity, false beliefs, etc. After all, if we can't find any real answers for ourselves how can we convince others of the worth of our position?

Once such a personal solution is achieved, in itself a very large challenge, then surely others will notice our peace and joy and envy it and perhaps begin to question their own lifestyles. Perhaps this is the way the UTOPIAN MOVEMENT will get going, not through massive collective action and marches and advertising but through individual actions by a few people at a local level in each country snowballing.

During the establishment period the internet is a great way for us to help each other through the rough patches, to share our problems, to suggest solutions, give encouragement and to spread the word that there is a better way, one based upon co-operation and sharing and selflessness.

Once we find the solution for ourselves then we can operate from a position of strength and conviction!

I would value your input. Remember, I too am feeling my way!

P.S. By semi-communal I don't mean setting up a hippie colony or trying to copy the Amish! I mean the development of communities or groups within larger communities where folk happily work together both to enhance their local community and to provide most of its physical and emotional needs.

Update: 20/9/2007. I've made some minor changes to the Utopian Movement Principles in the sidebar. Your feedback on them would be appreciated.


ninglun said...

I find such an approach more promising.

Daniel said...

The really big issues for me, Neil, are whether or not human nature can be modified or changed and whether or not the 'competition is good' programming we've had for the last thirty years can be replaced by co-operation.


Dylan said...

"The really big issues for me, Neil, are whether or not human nature can be modified or changed..."

Just a thought, Daniel, but wouldn't you have to first establish that there is such a thing as 'human nature'?

(Apologies if you have posted the argument for this previously...)

Daniel said...

Dylan, it would be great if you could offer something constructive to this discussion! Cheers.

Dylan said...

Sorry if my comment seemed to be something other than constructive - it was not meant to be.

To explain what I meant a little more, the notion that there is something that can be described as "human nature" is a controversial one. See discussion here for a brief but reasonably accurate overview of some of the philosophical and epistemological issues involved with asserting that humans have a "human nature".

Scientists - including those as opposed to the notion of a God/creator as you seem to be, such as Charles Darwin - have argued persuasively that humans have no inherent nature.

Thus, to return to the point I made in my comment, before describing something as an "issue" or suggesting that something be "modified or changed" (or even exploring the possibility as to whether such a modification or change is possible), wouldn't you first have to establish that there is such a thing exists in the first place?

To offer an absurb example, if I wrote that the fundamental problem in the solar system are the people who live on Mars and that - by changing their behaviour - the solar system would be a better place, wouldn't the onus be on me to establish that there is such a thing as people who live on Mars?

I hope this puts my earlier comment in context and I hope, also, that you can see how it is constructive.

Daniel said...

Dylan, we could argue about unresolvable esoteric issues like this forever and bore everyone to tears.

I'm sure you'll find an academic in Lyon who will happily engage with you. Cheers.

P.S. By the way, why aren't academics leading our world towards a more peaceful sustainable future?

Dylan said...

If you think it's unresolvable then fine - but really if you are talking about something (whether it's God or human nature) it's nice, I think, to be able to establish it exists.


pissed off patricia said...

The same sort of thoughts have been running through my head lately. It's almost like a do-over of civilization. Maybe the second time we could get it right.

Monica Thatcher said...

Hi Dan
To answer some of these points: I think it would be useful to Replace the term 'Human nature' with human 'behaviour'. The term Nature is I feel somewhat confusing and vague. Agreeing that, then and speaking with my professional hat on, behaviour can indeed be modified.... remarkably easily. Pavlov springs to mind.

I think I mentioned in one of my previous comments that to lead by example would be the only way forward. And I'm sure there are many models of these small semi rural communities already in existence. I will investigate and report back some examples but a system based on Modern permoculture using up to date technology would match the premise perfectly. This is why we need a permoculturalist on board! Trouble is that this old planet has finite resources and the formation of these small communities will be but a drop in the ocean against a tsunami of failure. But you have to start somewhere. What's needed is a bigger profile to the whole message and the establishment of An Official UTOPIAN movement. The Idea being to ease the thinking into the minds of people already bombarded with enough political cobblers. I have taken the liberty of writing to a number of high profile individuals who have the experience and knowledge to make the simplicity of the Utopian system or whatever you want to call it available to a much wider audience than us brave pioneers struggling to be heard via Blogging. I'll keep you posted on that one. Just remember this When you push a ball of snow down a snowy slope it gets bigger VERY quickly. Onward and upwards!

Granny said...

This is closer to what I was trying to say. I can continue to nag my Representatives, I can post on the blog, but the best thing I can do is to try to live my life as best I can and hope I can persuade by example.

Probably hopelessly naive.

Daniel said...

Dylan, I'm trying to establish a Movement which might help to stop humanity from destroying the world. At this important stage I haven't got time to argue with you about semantics.

Monica, thanks for your constructive comment. I majored in Psychology and could argue with Dylan for the next six months about whether human nature exists or not but surely that's not important as we try to get the Movement going. Your efforts to get some intelligent people on board who actually want to help us is fantastic!

Patricia, after every major war people declare 'never again.' But it does. Unless we change the way society is run it always will!

Granny, what started out as a vague notion in my mind is beginning to crystallize. It's important for us to set the right goals, achievable goals and this is where a team effort is so important!

Cheers to all!

Lucyp said...

I love that philosophy granny, it is one we should all aspire to (although it may be wise to skip over my drinking and smoking).

Renegade Eye said...

The post brings backs memories of the hippy days, "Tune in, Turn on and Drop Out." A counterculture can't share power, with a popular culture, eventually one must sucumb.

Daniel said...

We need a just people's counter-culture to replace an unpopular elitist-culture, Renegade.

Let the battle begin!

Anonymous said...


betmo said...

changing attitudes in the west- against empire building and consuming- is a place to start. i agree we have to shift our mindsets and the only way to do that is to actually do that. i personally think that that's the way to go.

Monica Thatcher said...

Dan,I've renamed my blog at 'Change the World'. Same url but now called Blue Ball United.
Have posted some Youtube Permoculture clips which I'm sure you will find very interesting.. The ideas devised by Bill Mollison and still growing are a very sound base to work from and I believe highly workable and apolitical. Establish local communities on this basis and then join up into a national co-op aiming ultimately at international cooperation and sustainable global team work. Common Sense if you ask me. A classic Mollison line," Get rid of all the Universities and you've lost nothing, get rid of the forest and you've lost everything"!
@ renegade eye, you don't need to be a Hippy or to drop out to want better way of life, you just need to be passionate, active and committed! Maybe I should be Committed, woof woof!