For this meeting please come prepared to share with the group your own idea of utopia. It can be written, spoken, sketched, sung, chanted, a PowerPoint presentation, an interpretive dance, a comedy routine — anything.
For inspiration, read whatever you can find. Of course there are those old chestnuts:
Plato’s REPUBLIC, More’s UTOPIA, Bellamy’s LOOKING BACKWARD, Perkins Gilman’s HERLAND, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, and so on…
But there are also more recently published works that reach towards a new utopia. Here are a few I am looking to for ideas and prompts:
POSTCAPITALISM: A GUIDE TO OUR FUTURE by Paul Mason
THE FUTURE WE WANT: RADICAL IDEAS FOR THE NEW CENTURY, edited by Sarah Leonard and Bhaskar Sunkara
INVENTING THE FUTURE: POSTCAPITALISM IN A WORLD WITHOUT WORK by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams
UTOPIA FOR REALISTS by Rutger Bregman
Happy reading, everybody.
. The other day, Florence sent me the following email:
Between two swims are my thoughts…
If we are not able to efficiently change minds (intentional blindness / boring, blasé feelings / guilt that prevents us from acting), and we cannot reach people through speeches and lectures (you are good at that, not me), maybe…
are some of the answers.
Will the younger generation compose popular songs that make us aware of our obligation to save our Earth?
Maybe we need a new John Lennon “Imagine” that everybody will feel in his or her heart, even if it is fully utopian!
Like… “100 years (in front of us that is all we have to live!)”, or
“Put it back how it was” or
“The game is over… no playground games anymore”
We have to restore positive utopia!
Is politics starting with order? not always…
What are the new ways of positive utopia?
Restore positive utopia in people’s minds
Eradicate the anxiety created by our “accelerated conscience” / “conscience augmentée” (because we are connected we are massively more aware of all issues / what is going on everywhere at all levels, and this awareness creates depression, fear and inaction!)…
Develop PPP (plan your own Planet Pool Party!)
[Tom’s note: Florence’s vision of the Planet Pool Party, which she had previously shared with me, is to have everyone in their local pools, all over the world, on the same day, in an effort to raise awareness of the threat posed by climate change.]
First, just chaos: Beach balls of religions/ Games and frivolity of humans!
And scale of time: the lifetime of the pool since its (physical) building to the party time represents the length of life for our planet so far. Perhaps the time of the afternoon party represents four or five millennia…
It can last if we take care of it!
A limited resource space where everybody has to find a way to live harmoniously including plants and animals (not only “sapiens”!)…
At some moment, all over the world, the word goes out:
“Let’s stop splashing and playing balls, let’s put our goggles on and use our microscopes (to be installed around the pool) and examine what the water is made of (find solutions with knowledge). Solutions are here under our eyes (we don’t see them yet), we are swimming among them!”
It’s an emergency, the pool’s color has already started to “turn” and fade (perhaps dye would be secretly added to the water during the party??).
“But it’s not too late: we have to stop playing games and maintain our pool!”
I hope you don’t mind this “flow” email… Floating in my brain somewhere!
No answer needed!!!!!
Reading this, I realized right away two things:
1.) Flo is right. “We have to restore positive utopia in people’s minds!”
2.) This must be the topic of our first Old New Way meeting.
So the reading for our next meeting is… anything that leads you to restore “positive utopia in your mind.”
You might want to read Plato’s REPUBLIC.
You might read Thomas More’s classic UTOPIA (More coined the term, by the way, from the Greek, meaning “no – where”).
You might read Edward Bellamy’s LOOKING BACKWARD, or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s HERLAND.
You might look at Pre-Raphaelite paintings, or De Stijl painters like Mondrian, Bauhaus, Russian Constructivism… The Communist Manifesto? Hillary Clinton’s website? Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty?
Anything to get you dreaming.
When you are ready, take a moment to dream up, and represent in writing or images, your own utopia.
How do people live? What are the basic laws guiding society, if any? How do we reproduce? How do we die?
What is the supreme achievement possible? The greatest crime? Is there an underground? What is your utopia’s relationship to the natural world around it and part of it?
Then come prepared to share your vision of utopia at the meeting with the rest of us.
Have fun. Dream big. See you on the 6th.