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Utopia juː is an ideal community
Community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 or society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 possessing a perfect socio-politico
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia
Utopia (book)
Utopia is a work of fiction by Thomas More published in 1516...

, describing a fictional island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities
Intentional community
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They...

 that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature
Utopian and dystopian fiction
The utopia and its offshoot, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal world, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of a nightmare world, or dystopia...

. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia
Dystopia
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

.

The word comes from the ("not") and τόπος ("place") and means "no place". The English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 homophone
Homophone
A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose and rose , or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms...

 eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ ("good" or "well") and τόπος ("place"), means "good place". This, due to the identical pronunciation of "utopia" and "eutopia", gives rise to a double meaning.

Varieties



Chronologically, the first recorded utopian proposal is Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

's Republic
Republic (Plato)
The Republic is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC concerning the definition of justice and the order and character of the just city-state and the just man...

. Part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of "golden," "silver," "bronze" and "iron" socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the "philosopher-kings." The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. There is a general pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

 or pacifist attitude. However, the people of the Republic are all ready to defend themselves or to compete militarily for resources (such as land) if necessary. It has few laws, no lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

s and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples).

In the sixteenth century, Thomas More's book Utopia proposed an ideal society of the same name. Some readers, including utopian socialists, have chosen to accept this imaginary society as the realistic blueprint for a working nation, while others have postulated that More intended nothing of the sort. Some maintain the position that More's Utopia functions only on the level of a satire, a work intended to reveal more about the England of his time than about an idealistic society. This interpretation is bolstered by the title of the book and nation, and its apparent confusion between the Greek for "no place" and "good place": "utopia" is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning "no", and topos, meaning place. But the homophonic
Homophone
A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose and rose , or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms...

 prefix eu-, meaning "good," also resonates in the word, with the implication that the perfectly "good place" is really "no place."

Ecology


Ecological utopian society describes new ways in which society should relate to nature. They react to a perceived
Ecotopia
Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston is the seminal utopian novel by Ernest Callenbach, published in 1975. The society described in the book is one of the first ecological utopias and was influential on the counterculture, and the green movement in the 1970s and thereafter.-The...

 widening gap between the modern Western way of living that destroys nature and the traditional way of living that is thought to be more in harmony with nature. According to the Dutch philosopher Marius de Geus, ecological utopias could be sources of inspiration for green political movements.

In the novelette Rumfuddle (1973), Jack Vance
Jack Vance
John Holbrook Vance is an American mystery, fantasy and science fiction author. Most of his work has been published under the name Jack Vance. Vance has published 11 mysteries as John Holbrook Vance and 3 as Ellery Queen...

 presents a novel twist on the ecological utopia. His hero invents paratime travel and becomes effectively the ruler of earth by giving everyone their own alternate-earth wilderness worlds as vacation retreats/suburbs without neighbors. However, he requires them to work during the week cleaning up the original Earth and restoring its pristineness. A typical job is driving a bulldozer that shoves the detritus of industrial civilization through a portal into the oceans of a paratime garbage world.

Economics


Economic utopias are based on economics. Most intentional communities
Intentional community
An intentional community is a planned residential community designed to have a much higher degree of teamwork than other communities. The members of an intentional community typically hold a common social, political, religious, or spiritual vision and often follow an alternative lifestyle. They...

 attempting to create an economic utopia were formed in response to the harsh economic conditions of the 19th century.

Particularly in the early 19th century, several utopian ideas arose, often in response to their belief that social disruption was created and caused by the development of commercialism
Commercialism
Commercialism, in its original meaning, is the practices, methods, aims, and spirit of commerce or business. Today, however, it primarily refers to the tendency within open-market capitalism to turn everything into objects, images, and services sold for the purpose of generating profit...

 and capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. These are often grouped in a greater "utopian socialist
Utopian socialism
Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought as exemplified by the work of Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialists and were looked on favorably...

" movement, due to their shared characteristics: an egalitarian distribution of goods, frequently with the total abolition of money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

, and citizens only doing work which they enjoy and which is for the common good
Common good
The common good is a term that can refer to several different concepts. In the popular meaning, the common good describes a specific "good" that is shared and beneficial for all members of a given community...

, leaving them with ample time for the cultivation of the arts and sciences. One classic example of such a utopia was Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy was an American author and socialist, most famous for his utopian novel, Looking Backward, set in the year 2000. He was a very influential writer during the Gilded Age of United States history.-Early life:...

's Looking Backward
Looking Backward
Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian science fiction novel by Edward Bellamy, a lawyer and writer from western Massachusetts; it was first published in 1887...

. Another socialist utopia is William Morris
William Morris
William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

' News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere
News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

, written partially in response to the top-down (bureaucratic) nature of Bellamy's utopia, which Morris criticized. However, as the socialist movement developed it moved away from utopianism; Marx in particular became a harsh critic of earlier socialism he described as utopian. (For more information see the History of Socialism
History of socialism
The history of socialism has its origins in the French Revolution of 1789 and the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution, although it has precedents in earlier movements and ideas. The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848 just before the Revolutions...

 article.) Also consider Eric Frank Russell
Eric Frank Russell
Eric Frank Russell was a British author best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. Much of his work was first published in the United States, in John W. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction and other pulp magazines. Russell also wrote horror fiction for Weird Tales, and...

's book The Great Explosion
The Great Explosion
The Great Explosion is a satirical science fiction novel by Eric Frank Russell, first published in 1962. The story is divided into three sections...

(1963) whose last section details an economic and social utopia. This forms the first mention of the idea of Local Exchange Trading Systems
Local Exchange Trading Systems
Local exchange trading systems , also known as LETSystems, are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises that provide a community information service and record transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created...

 (LETS).

Utopias have also been imagined by the opposite side of the political spectrum. For example, Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress is a 1966 science fiction novel by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, about a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth....

portrays an individualistic
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 and libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 utopia. Capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 utopias of this sort are generally based on free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 economies, in which the presupposition is that private enterprise and personal initiative without an institution of coercion, government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, provides the greatest opportunity for achievement and progress of both the individual and society as a whole.

Another view that capitalist utopias do not address is the issue of market failure
Market failure
Market failure is a concept within economic theory wherein the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient. That is, there exists another conceivable outcome where a market participant may be made better-off without making someone else worse-off...

, any more than socialist utopias address the issue of planning failure. Thus a blend of socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 is seen by some as the type of economy in a utopia. For example, one such idea is to have small, community-owned enterprises working under a market-based model of economy. Such a model of market-based Communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 itself was in theory supposed to create a "classless utopia", but no nation has ever reached that point.

During the late-20th century, many economic utopias sprang up around the United States in response to various political conservative movements. They were largely dubbed commune
Commune
Commune may refer to:In society:* Commune, a human community in which resources are shared* Commune , a township or municipality* One of the Communes of France* An Italian Comune...

s.

Politics & history


A global utopia of world peace
World peace
World Peace is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and/or people. World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. The term is sometimes used to...

 is often seen as one of the possible endings of history
End of history
End of history may refer to:* The advent of a particular political and economic system as a signal of the end point of humanity's sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government, as posited by Thomas More in Utopia, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx and Francis Fukuyama*The...

. Within the localized political structures or spheres it presents, "polyculturalism
Polyculturalism
"Polyculturalism" is a term for an assertion that all of the world's cultures are inter-related. It is thus opposed to the concept of multiculturalism, which its supporters argue is divisive. Polyculturalism was the subject of the 2001 book Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and...

" is the model-based adaptation of possible interactions between different cultures and identities in accordance with the principles of participatory society.

The Soviet writer Ivan Efremov produced during the "Thaw" period the science-fiction utopia Andromeda (1957) in which a united humanity communicates with a galaxy-wide Great Circle and develops its technology and culture within a social framework characterized by vigorous competition between alternative philosophies.

Religious utopia


Religious utopias can be intra-religious or inter-religious.
The inter-religious utopia borders on a concept like Polyculturalism
Polyculturalism
"Polyculturalism" is a term for an assertion that all of the world's cultures are inter-related. It is thus opposed to the concept of multiculturalism, which its supporters argue is divisive. Polyculturalism was the subject of the 2001 book Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and...

 and is not deemed possible in the near future or the near-far future. Fledgling theories are generally canceled as impossible, but the ideology of God and Religion used in inter-religious utopia is commonly stated by many people as their view of God. Inter-religious utopia is a condition where the leaders of different religions accept science as a part of human-living and agree to abolish all baseless superstitious beliefs. In more extended theories it goes up to the level of different religious leaders setting-aside their differences and accepting harmony, peace and understanding to unite all religions within one another, thereby forming an utopian religion or a religion of Humans with God being defined as Science or the (supposed) supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 force that reigned before the birth of the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

. Religion and God being used as a self-motivating factor for people to believe in and raise themselves out of difficult situations.

Intra-Religious utopias are based on religious
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 ideals, and are to date those most commonly found in human society. Their members are usually required to follow and believe in the particular religious tradition that established the utopia. Some permit non-believers or non-adherents to take up residence within them; others (such as the Community at Qumran
Qumran
Qumran is an archaeological site in the West Bank. It is located on a dry plateau about a mile inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalia...

) do not.

The Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic, Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 ideas of the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 and Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 may be interpreted as forms of utopianism, especially in their folk-religious
Folk religion
Folk religion consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of an organized religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices...

 forms. Such religious utopias are often described as "gardens of delight", implying an existence free from worry in a state of bliss or enlightenment. They postulate freedom from sin, pain, poverty, and death, and often assume communion with beings such as angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s or the houri
Houri
In Islam, the ḥūr or ḥūrīyah are commonly translated as " companions of equal age ", "lovely eyed", of "modest gaze", "pure beings" or "companions pure" of paradise, denoting humans and jinn who enter paradise after being recreated anew in the hereafter...

. In a similar sense the Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 concept of Moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

 and the Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 concept of Nirvana may be thought of as a kind of utopia. In Hinduism or Buddhism, however, utopia is not a place but a state of mind. A belief that if we are able to practice meditation without continuous stream of thoughts, we are able to reach enlightenment. This enlightenment promises exit from the cycle of life and death, relating back to the concept of utopia.

In Thomas More's Utopia, there is a rule in Utopia of religious tolerance, the penalty for breaking it is slavery or exile. The only despised people are atheists, as they do not believe in a reward for good behaviour.

However, the usual idea of utopia, which is normally created by human effort, is more clearly evident in the use of these ideas as the bases for religious utopias, as members attempt to establish/reestablish a society which reflects the virtues and values they believe have been lost or which await them in the Afterlife
Afterlife
The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal...

.

In the United States and Europe during the Second Great Awakening
Second Great Awakening
The Second Great Awakening was a Christian revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1800, had begun to gain momentum by 1820, and was in decline by 1870. The Second Great Awakening expressed Arminian theology, by which every person could be...

 of the 19th century and thereafter, many radical religious groups formed utopian societies in which all aspects of people's lives could be governed by their faith. Among the best-known of these utopian societies were the Shakers
Shakers
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, known as the Shakers, is a religious sect originally thought to be a development of the Religious Society of Friends...

, which originated in England in the 18th century but moved to America shortly afterward. A number of religious utopian societies from Europe came to the United States from the 18th century throughout the 19th century, including the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness (led by Johannes Kelpius
Johannes Kelpius
Johannes Kelpius , a German Pietist, mystic, musician, and writer, interested in the occult, botany, and astronomy, came to believe with his followers in the "Society of the Woman in the Wilderness" that the end of the world would occur in 1694...

), the Ephrata Cloister
Ephrata Cloister
The Ephrata Cloister or Ephrata Community was a religious community, established in 1732 by Johann Conrad Beissel at Ephrata, in what is now Lancaster County, Pennsylvania...

, and the Harmony Society
Harmony Society
The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist society founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg, the Harmony Society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, initially purchasing of land in Butler...

, among others. The Harmony Society
Harmony Society
The Harmony Society was a Christian theosophy and pietist society founded in Iptingen, Germany, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church and the government in Württemberg, the Harmony Society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, initially purchasing of land in Butler...

 was a Christian theosophy and pietist
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

 group founded in Iptingen
Iptingen
Iptingen is a small village in southwestern Germany, some 25 km to the northwest of Stuttgart. Today, Iptingen is a part of the community of Wiernsheim, together with Pinache and Serres....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, in 1785. Due to religious persecution by the Lutheran Church
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 and the government in Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

, the society moved to the United States on October 7, 1803, settled in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, and on February 15, 1805, they, together with about 400 followers, formally organized the Harmony Society, placing all their goods in common
Commune (intentional community)
A commune is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become...

. The group lasted until 1905, making it one of the longest-running financially successful communes in American history. The Oneida Community
Oneida Community
The Oneida Community was a religious commune founded by John Humphrey Noyes in 1848 in Oneida, New York. The community believed that Jesus had already returned in the year 70 AD, making it possible for them to bring about Jesus's millennial kingdom themselves, and be free of sin and perfect in this...

, founded by John Humphrey Noyes
John Humphrey Noyes
John Humphrey Noyes was an American utopian socialist. He founded the Oneida Community in 1848. He coined the term "free love".-Early activism:...

 in Oneida, New York
Oneida, New York
Oneida is a city in Madison County located west of Oneida Castle and east of Canastota, New York, United States. The population was 10,987 at the 2000 census. The city, like both Oneida County and the nearby silver and china maker, takes its name from the Oneida tribe...

, was a utopian religious commune that lasted from 1848 to 1881. Although this utopian experiment is better known today for its manufacture of Oneida silverware, it was one of the longest-running communes in American history. The Amana Colonies
Amana Colonies
The Amana Colonies are a group of settlements of radical German Pietists in Iowa, USA, comprising seven villages. Calling themselves the Ebenezer Society or the Community of True Inspiration , they first settled in New York state near Buffalo in what is now the Town of West Seneca...

 were communal settlements in Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

, started by radical German pietists, which lasted from 1855 to 1932. The Amana Corporation
Amana Corporation
The Amana Corporation is an American brand of household appliances. It was founded in 1934 by George Foerstner as The Electrical Equipment Co. in Middle Amana, Iowa to manufacture commercial walk-in coolers. The business was later owned by the Amana Society and became known as Amana Refrigeration,...

, manufacturer of refrigerators and household appliances, was originally started by the group. Other examples are Fountain Grove, Riker's Holy City and other Californian utopian colonies between 1855 and 1955 (Hine), as well as Sointula in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Canada.

Science and technology


Scientific and technological utopias are set in the future, when it is believed that advanced science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 will allow utopian living standards; for example, the absence of death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 and suffering
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

; changes in human nature
Human nature
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

 and the human condition
Human condition
The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of...

. Technology has affected the way humans have lived to such an extent that normal functions, like sleep, eating or even reproduction, have been replaced by artificial means. Other examples include a society where humans have struck a balance with technology and it is merely used to enhance the human living condition (e.g. Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

). In place of the static perfection of a utopia, libertarian transhumanists envision an "extropia
Extropianism
Extropianism, also referred to as the philosophy of "Extropy", is an evolving framework of values and standards for continuously improving the human condition....

", an open, evolving society allowing individuals and voluntary groupings to form the institutions and social forms they prefer.

Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, futurist and second president of Mensa International, the high IQ society....

 presented a theoretical basis for technological utopianism
Technological utopianism
Technological utopianism refers to any ideology based on the belief that advances in science and technology will eventually bring about a utopia, or at least help to fulfill one or another utopian ideal...

 and set out to develop a variety of technologies ranging from maps to designs for cars and houses which might lead to the development of such a utopia.

One notable example of a technological and libertarian socialist utopia is Scottish author Iain Banks
Iain Banks
Iain Banks is a Scottish writer. He writes mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies...

' Culture
The Culture
The Culture is a fictional interstellar anarchist, socialist, and utopian society created by the Scottish writer Iain M. Banks which features in a number of science fiction novels and works of short fiction by him, collectively called the Culture series....

.

Opposing this optimism
Optimism
The Oxford English Dictionary defines optimism as having "hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favourable or hopeful view." The word is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning "best." Being optimistic, in the typical sense...

 is the prediction that advanced science and technology will, through deliberate misuse or accident, cause environmental damage or even humanity's extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

. Critics, such as Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul
Jacques Ellul was a French philosopher, law professor, sociologist, lay theologian, and Christian anarchist. He wrote several books about the "technological society" and the interaction between Christianity and politics....

 and Timothy Mitchell
Timothy Mitchell
Timothy P. Mitchell is a British born political scientist and student of the Arab world. He is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University. He was previously Professor of Politics at New York University.-Biography:...

 advocate precautions
Precautionary principle
The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those...

 against the premature embrace of new technologies, raising questions on responsibility and freedom brought by division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

. Authors such as John Zerzan
John Zerzan
John Zerzan is an American anarchist and primitivist philosopher and author. His works criticize agricultural civilization as inherently oppressive, and advocate drawing upon the ways of life of prehistoric humans as an inspiration for what a free society should look like...

 and Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen
Derrick Jensen is an American author and environmental activist living in Crescent City, California. Jensen has published several books questioning and critiquing modern civilization and its values, including A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, and Endgame. He holds a B.S...

 consider that modern technology is progressively depriving humans of their autonomy, and advocate the collapse of the industrial civilization, in favor of small-scale organization, as a necessary path to avoid the threat of technology on human freedom and sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

.

There are many examples of techno-dystopias portrayed in mainstream culture, such as the classics Brave New World
Brave New World
Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's fifth novel, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540 , the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of...

and Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...

, which have explored some of these topics.

Feminism


Utopias have been used to explore the ramification of gender being either a societal construct, or a hard-wired imperative. The fictional aliens in Mary Gentle
Mary Gentle
-Literary career:Mary Gentle's first published novel was Hawk in Silver , a young-adult fantasy. She came to prominence with the Orthe duology, which consists of Golden Witchbreed and Ancient Light ....

's Golden Witchbreed start out as gender-neutral children and do not develop into men and women until puberty, and gender has no bearing on social roles. In contrast, Doris Lessing
Doris Lessing
Doris May Lessing CH is a British writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing, The Golden Notebook, and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos....

's The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five
The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five
The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five is a 1980 science fiction novel by Nobel Prize in Literature-winner Doris Lessing. It is the second book in her five-book Canopus in Argos series....

(1980) suggests that men's and women's values are inherent to the sexes and cannot be changed, making a compromise between them essential. In My Own Utopia (1961) by Elizabeth Mann Borghese, gender exists but is dependant upon age rather than sex — genderless children mature into women, some of whom eventually become men.

Utopic single-gender worlds
Single-gender worlds
A relatively common motif in speculative fiction is the existence of single gender worlds or single-sex societies. These fictional societies have long been one of the primary ways to explore implications of gender and gender-differences in science fiction and fantasy...

 or single-sex societies have long been one of the primary ways to explore implications of gender and gender-differences. In speculative fiction, female-only worlds have been imagined to come about by the action of disease that wipes out men, along with the development of technological or mystical method that allow female parthenogenic reproduction. The resulting society is often shown to be utopian by feminist writers. Many influential feminist utopias of this sort were written in the 1970s; the most often studied examples include Joanna Russ
Joanna Russ
Joanna Russ was an American writer, academic and feminist. She is the author of a number of works of science fiction, fantasy and feminist literary criticism such as How to Suppress Women's Writing, as well as a contemporary novel, On Strike Against God, and one children's book, Kittatinny...

's The Female Man
The Female Man
The Female Man is a feminist science fiction novel written by Joanna Russ. It was originally written in 1970 and first published in 1975. Russ was an avid feminist and challenged sexist views during the 1970s with her novels, short stories, and nonfiction works...

and Suzy McKee Charnas
Suzy McKee Charnas
Suzy McKee Charnas is an American novelist and short story writer, writing primarily in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. She has won several awards for her fiction, including the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. A selection of her short fiction was collected...

's Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines. Utopias imagined by male authors have generally included equality between sexes, rather than separation. Such worlds have been portrayed most often by lesbian or feminist authors; their use of female-only worlds allows the exploration of female independence and freedom from patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

. The societies may not necessarily be lesbian, or sexual at all — a famous early sexless example being Herland
Herland (novel)
Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society composed entirely of women who reproduce via parthenogenesis . The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination...

(1915) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent American sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform...

. Charlene Ball writes in Women's studies encyclopedia that use of speculative fiction to explore gender roles in future societies has been more common in the United States compared to Europe and elsewhere.

Utopianism



In many cultures, societies, religions, and cosmogonies
Cosmogony
Cosmogony, or cosmogeny, is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. The word comes from the Greek κοσμογονία , from κόσμος "cosmos, the world", and the root of γίνομαι / γέγονα "to be born, come about"...

, there is some myth or memory of a distant past when humankind lived in a primitive and simple state, but at the same time one of perfect happiness and fulfillment. In those days, the various myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

s tell us, there was an instinctive harmony between man and nature. Men's needs were few and their desires limited. Both were easily satisfied by the abundance provided by nature. Accordingly, there were no motives whatsoever for war or oppression. Nor was there any need for hard and painful work. Humans were simple and pious
Piety
In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

, and felt themselves close to the gods. According to one anthropological theory, hunter-gathers were the original affluent society
Original affluent society
The "original affluent society" is a theory postulating that hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society. This theory was first articulated by Marshall Sahlins at a symposium entitled "Man the Hunter" held in Chicago in 1966...

.

These mythical or religious archetypes are inscribed in all the cultures and resurge with special vitality when people are in difficult and critical times. However, the projection of the myth does not take place towards the remote past, but either towards the future or towards distant and fictional places, imagining that at some time of the future, at some point of the space or beyond the death must exist the possibility of living happily.

These myths of the earliest stage of humankind have been referred to by various religions:

Golden Age
The Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 poet Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, around the 8th century BC, in his compilation of the mythological tradition (the poem Works and Days
Works and Days
Works and Days is a didactic poem of some 800 verses written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BC. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer's almanac in which Hesiod instructs his brother Perses in the agricultural arts...

), explained that, prior to the present era
Ages of Man
The Ages of Man are the stages of human existence on the Earth according to Greek mythology. Two classical authors in particular offer accounts of the successive ages of mankind, which tend to progress from an original, long-gone age in which humans enjoyed a nearly divine existence to the current...

, there were other four progressively more perfect ones, the oldest of which was the Golden age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

.

Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, the Greek historian and biographer of the 1st century, dealt with the blissful and mythic past of the humanity.

Arcadia
Arcadia (utopia)
Arcadia refers to a vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature. The term is derived from the Greek province of the same name which dates to antiquity; the province's mountainous topography and sparse population of pastoralists later caused the word Arcadia to develop into a poetic byword for an...

, e.g. in Sir Philip Sidney's prose romance The Old Arcadia
Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, also known simply as the Arcadia or the Old Arcadia, is a long prose work by Sir Philip Sidney written towards the end of the sixteenth century, and later published in several versions. It is Sidney's most ambitious literary work, by far, and as significant in...

(1580). Originally a region in the Peloponnesus, Arcadia became a synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

 for any rural area that serves as a pastoral
Pastoral
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

 setting, as a locus amoenus ("delightful place"):

The Biblical Garden of Eden
The Biblical
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 as depicted in Genesis 2 (Authorized Version of 1611
King James Version of the Bible
The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611...

):

"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [...]



And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. [...]



And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; [...] And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."


The Land of Cokaygne
The Land of Cokaygne
Cockaigne
Cockaigne or Cockayne is a medieval mythical land of plenty, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist...

 [also spelled Cockaygne or Cockaigne] (in the German tradition referred to as "Schlaraffenland":de:Schlaraffenland) has been aptly called the "poor man's heaven", being a popular fantasy of pure hedonism
Hedonism
Hedonism is a school of thought which argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure .-Etymology:The name derives from the Greek word for "delight" ....

 and thus a foil for the innocent and instinctively virtuous
Virtue
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a positive trait or quality subjectively deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being....

 life that is depicted in all the other accounts mentioned above. Cockaygne is a land of extravagance and excess rather than simplicity and piety. There is freedom from work, and every material thing is free and available. Cooked larks fly straight into one's mouth; the rivers run with wine; sexual promiscuity
Promiscuity
In humans, promiscuity refers to less discriminating casual sex with many sexual partners. The term carries a moral or religious judgement and is viewed in the context of the mainstream social ideal for sexual activity to take place within exclusive committed relationships...

 is the norm; and there is a fountain of youth
Fountain of Youth
The Fountain of Youth is a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in writings by Herodotus, the Alexander romance, and the stories of Prester John...

 which keeps everyone young and active.

There is a medieval poem (c. 1315) written in rhyming couplet
Couplet
A couplet is a pair of lines of meter in poetry. It usually consists of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter.While traditionally couplets rhyme, not all do. A poem may use white space to mark out couplets if they do not rhyme. Couplets with a meter of iambic pentameter are called heroic...

s which is entitled "The Land of Cokaygne":

"Far in the sea, to the west of Spain,

Is a country called Cokaygne.

There's no land not anywhere,

In goods or riches to compare.

Though Paradise be merry and bright

Cokaygne is of far fairer sight...."


These myths also express some hope that the idyll
Idyll
An idyll or idyl is a short poem, descriptive of rustic life, written in the style of Theocritus' short pastoral poems, the Idylls....

ic state of affairs they describe is not irretrievably and irrevocably lost to mankind, that it can be regained in some way or other.

One way would be to look for the "earthly paradise"—a place like Shangri-La
Shangri-La
Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains...

, hidden in the Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

an mountains and described by James Hilton
James Hilton
James Hilton was an English novelist who wrote several best-sellers, including Lost Horizon and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.-Biography:...

 in his utopian novel Lost Horizon
Lost Horizon (novel)
Lost Horizon is a 1933 novel by English writer James Hilton. It is best remembered as the origin of Shangri-La, a fictional utopian lamasery high in the mountains of Tibet.-Overview:...

(1933). Such paradise on earth must be somewhere if only man were able to find it. Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 followed directly in this tradition in his belief that he had found the Garden of Eden when, towards the end of the 15th century, he first encountered the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 and its indigenous inhabitants.

Another way of regaining the lost paradise (or Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse...

, as 17th century English poet John Milton
John Milton
John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...

 calls it) would be to wait for the future, for the return of the Golden Age. According to Christian theology
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, the Fall from Paradise, caused by Man alone when he disobeyed God ("but of the tree of the knowledge
Tree of Knowledge
-Religion and mythology:* Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, a tree in the Garden of Eden, mentioned in the Book of Genesis-Publications:* The Tree of Knowledge, a novel by Pío Baroja* Drvo Znanja, a Croatian magazine...

 of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it"), has resulted in the wickedness of character that all human beings have been born with since (original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

).

In a scientific approach to finding utopia, the Global Scenario Group
Global scenario group
The Global Scenario Group was a team of environmental scholars, headed by Paul Raskin, who used scenario analysis to analyze future paths for world development in the face of environmental pressures and crises...

, an international group of scientists founded by Paul Raskin
Paul Raskin
Paul Raskin is the Founding Director of the Tellus Institute which has conducted over 3,500 research and policy projects throughout the world on environmental issues, resource planning, and sustainable development...

, used scenario analysis
Scenario analysis
Scenario analysis is a process of analyzing possible future events by considering alternative possible outcomes . Thus, the scenario analysis, which is a main method of projections, does not try to show one exact picture of the future. Instead, it presents consciously several alternative future...

 and backcasting
Backcasting
Backcasting starts with defining a desirable future and then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect the future to the present. The fundamental question of backcasting asks: "if we want to attain a certain goal, what actions must be taken to get there?"Forecasting is the...

 to map out a path to an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable future. Its findings suggest that a global citizens' movement
Global citizens movement
In most discussions, the global citizens movement is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure. The term is often used synonymously with the anti-globalization movement or the global justice movement. Colloquially the term is also used in this imprecise manner...

 is necessary to steer political, economic, and corporate entities toward this new sustainability
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

 paradigm.

Pre-20th century

  • The Republic (written around 380 BCE) by Plato
    Plato
    Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

     is one of the earliest conceptions of a utopia.
  • The City of God (written 413–426 AD) by Augustine of Hippo
    Augustine of Hippo
    Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

    , describes an ideal city, the "eternal" Jerusalem, the archetype of all Christian utopias.
  • Tao Hua Yuan, (421) is a utopia for Chinese intellects.
  • Al-Madina al-Fadila, written by Al-Farabi
    Al-Farabi
    ' known in the West as Alpharabius , was a scientist and philosopher of the Islamic world...

     (874-950), where he theorized an ideal state as in Plato's The Republic. Al-Farabi represented religion as a symbolic rendering of truth, and, like Plato, saw it as the duty of the philosopher to provide guidance to the state.
  • Utopia
    Utopia (book)
    Utopia is a work of fiction by Thomas More published in 1516...

    (1516) by Thomas More
    Thomas More
    Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

    .
  • Christianopolis (1619) by Johann Valentin Andreæ, describes a Christian utopia inhabited by a community of scholar-artisans and run as a democracy.
  • The City of the Sun
    The City of the Sun
    The City of the Sun is a philosophical work by the Italian Dominican philosopher Tommaso Campanella. It is an important early utopian work.The work was written in Italian in 1602, shortly after Campanella's imprisonment for heresy and sedition...

    (1623) by Tommaso Campanella
    Tommaso Campanella
    Tommaso Campanella OP , baptized Giovanni Domenico Campanella, was an Italian philosopher, theologian, astrologer, and poet.-Biography:...

     depicts a theocratic and egalitarian society.
  • New Atlantis
    New Atlantis
    New Atlantis and similar can mean:*New Atlantis, a novel by Sir Francis Bacon*The New Atlantis, founded in 2003, a journal about the social and political dimensions of science and technology...

    (1627) by Francis Bacon.
  • Gulliver's Travels
    Gulliver's Travels
    Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels , is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of...

    (1726), Book III, satire.
  • Erewhon
    Erewhon
    Erewhon: or, Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country...

    (1872) by Samuel Butler
    Samuel Butler (novelist)
    Samuel Butler was an iconoclastic Victorian author who published a variety of works. Two of his most famous pieces are the Utopian satire Erewhon and a semi-autobiographical novel published posthumously, The Way of All Flesh...

    , constitute a satiric romp through a hidden utopia (with dystopian elements) in the mountains of New Zealand.
  • News from Nowhere
    News from Nowhere
    News from Nowhere is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris...

    by William Morris
    William Morris
    William Morris 24 March 18343 October 1896 was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement...

     (1892), Shows "Nowhere", a place without politics, a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production.
  • Looking Backward
    Looking Backward
    Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian science fiction novel by Edward Bellamy, a lawyer and writer from western Massachusetts; it was first published in 1887...

    (1888) by Edward Bellamy
    Edward Bellamy
    Edward Bellamy was an American author and socialist, most famous for his utopian novel, Looking Backward, set in the year 2000. He was a very influential writer during the Gilded Age of United States history.-Early life:...

    .
  • Gloriana, or the Revolution of 1900 (1890) by Lady Florence Dixie
    Lady Florence Dixie
    Lady Florence Caroline Dixie , before her marriage Lady Florence Douglas, was a British traveller, war correspondent, writer and feminist.-Early life:...

    . The female protagonist poses as a man, Hector l'Estrange, is elected to the House of Commons
    British House of Commons
    The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

    , and wins women the vote
    Suffragette
    "Suffragette" is a term coined by the Daily Mail newspaper as a derogatory label for members of the late 19th and early 20th century movement for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom, in particular members of the Women's Social and Political Union...

    . The book ends in the year 1999, with a description of a prosperous and peaceful Britain governed by women.

20th century

  • Childhood's End
    Childhood's End
    Childhood's End is a 1953 science fiction novel by the British author Arthur C. Clarke. The story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia...

    (1954) by Arthur C. Clarke, alien beings guide humanity towards a more economically productive and technologically advanced society, allowing humans to broaden their mental capacities.
  • A Modern Utopia
    A Modern Utopia
    A Modern Utopia is a work of fiction by H. G. Wells.* H. G. Wells's proposal for social reform was the formation of a world state, a concept that increasingly occupied him throughout the remainder of his life...

    (1905) by H. G. Wells
    H. G. Wells
    Herbert George Wells was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games...

  • Islandia
    Islandia (novel)
    Islandia is a classic novel of utopian fiction by Austin Tappan Wright, a U. C. Berkeley Law School Professor. Written as a hobby over a long period of time, it was posthumously edited down by a third by his wife and daughter, and first published in hardcover by Farrar and Rinehart in 1942, eleven...

    (1942), by Austin Tappan Wright
    Austin Tappan Wright
    Austin Tappan Wright was an American legal scholar and author, best remembered for his major work of Utopian fiction, Islandia...

    , an imaginary island in the Southern Hemisphere, a utopia containing many Arcadian
    Arcadia (utopia)
    Arcadia refers to a vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature. The term is derived from the Greek province of the same name which dates to antiquity; the province's mountainous topography and sparse population of pastoralists later caused the word Arcadia to develop into a poetic byword for an...

     elements, including a policy of isolation from the outside world and a rejection of industrialism. (In three sequels by Mark Saxton
    Mark Saxton
    Mark Saxton was an American author and editor. He is chiefly remembered for helping edit for publication Austin Tappan Wright’s Utopian novel Islandia, and for his own three sequels to Wright’s work.-Life:...

    , including The Islar (1969), below.)
  • In the film Road to Utopia
    Road to Utopia
    Road to Utopia, filmed in 1943 but not released until 1946, is the fourth film of the "Road to …" series starring Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.-Plot:After the credits we see Sal and Chester Hooton, an old married couple...

    (1943), it was suggested (comically) that a personal Utopia could be obtained from the wealth of gold mines in Alaska, USA.
  • Walden Two
    Walden Two
    Walden Two is a utopian novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, first published in 1948. In its time, it could have been considered to be science fiction, as the methods employed to alter people's behaviour did not yet exist....

    (1948) by B. F. Skinner
    B. F. Skinner
    Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American behaviorist, author, inventor, baseball enthusiast, social philosopher and poet...

    , a community in which every aspect of living is put to rigorous scientific testing. A professor and his colleagues question the effectiveness of the community started by an eccentric man named T.E. Frazier.
  • Big Planet
    Big Planet
    Big Planet is the first of two stand-alone science fiction novels by Jack Vance which share the same setting: an immense, but metal-poor and backward world called Big Planet....

    (1957), by Jack Vance
    Jack Vance
    John Holbrook Vance is an American mystery, fantasy and science fiction author. Most of his work has been published under the name Jack Vance. Vance has published 11 mysteries as John Holbrook Vance and 3 as Ellery Queen...

    , depicts a world in which attempts by utopian misfits to set up new societies have gone haywire after many revert to savagery and violence. But one city, Kirstendale, sets up a successful order in which citizens constantly shift their status, titles and duties (from servant to aristocrat and back again) according to an elaborate schedule.
  • Island
    Island (novel)
    Island is the final book by English writer Aldous Huxley, published in 1962. It is the account of Will Farnaby, a cynical journalist who is shipwrecked on the fictional island of Pala. Island is Huxley's utopian counterpart to his most famous work, the 1932 novel Brave New World, itself often...

    (1962) by Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Huxley
    Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

     follows the story of Will Farnaby, a cynical journalist, who shipwrecks on the fictional island of Pala and experiences their unique culture and traditions which create a utopian society.
  • The Islar (1969), the Islandians develop a modern air force to fend off hostile communist-allied neighbors, and debate whether to join the UN.
  • The Lathe of Heaven
    The Lathe of Heaven
    The Lathe of Heaven is a 1971 science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. The plot revolves around a character whose dreams alter reality. The story was first serialized in the American science fiction magazine Amazing Stories. The novel received nominations for the 1972 Hugo and the 1971 Nebula...

    (1971), by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

    , a man is able to "effectively" dream, changing waking reality. A psychologist to whom he goes for treatment tries to use the man's talent to improve society but finds that each of his "solutions" has disastrous unintended consequences.
  • The Dispossessed
    The Dispossessed
    The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia is a 1974 utopian science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, set in the same fictional universe as that of The Left Hand of Darkness . The book won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1974, both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1975, and received a nomination for...

    (1974), by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

    , the story of two planets, one very much like the capitalist, materialistic, profligate United States and the other a "nonpropertarian" society in which private ownership is unknown and people merely uses as much of natural resources or finished goods as they need. The two worlds are walled off (as were the capitalist and Communist world at the time of its writing). A physicist named Shevek travels between the two worlds and compares in a literary structure much like that of Tolstoy's War and Peace.
  • Ecotopia
    Ecotopia
    Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston is the seminal utopian novel by Ernest Callenbach, published in 1975. The society described in the book is one of the first ecological utopias and was influential on the counterculture, and the green movement in the 1970s and thereafter.-The...

    : The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston
    (1975) by Ernest Callenbach
    Ernest Callenbach
    Ernest Callenbach is an American writer. Life & Work =Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, he attended the University of Chicago, where he was drawn into the then 'new wave' of serious attention to film as an art form...

    , ecological utopia in which the Pacific Northwest has seceded from the union to set up a new society.
  • Woman on the Edge of Time
    Woman on the Edge of Time
    Woman on the Edge of Time is a novel by Marge Piercy. It is considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic.-Plot summary:...

    (1976) by Marge Piercy
    Marge Piercy
    Marge Piercy is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.-Biography:...

    , the story of a middle-aged Hispanic woman who has visions of two alternative futures, one utopian and the other dystopian.
  • The Probability Broach
    The Probability Broach
    The Probability Broach is the first novel by science fiction writer L. Neil Smith. It is set in an alternate history, the so-called Gallatin Universe, where a libertarian society has formed on the North American continent, styled the North American Confederacy.-Plot summary:Edward William "Win"...

    (1980), by L. Neil Smith
    L. Neil Smith
    L. Neil Smith , also known to readers and fans as El Neil, is a libertarian science fiction author and political activist. He was born on May 12, 1946 in Denver...

    , presents both utopian and dystopian views of present day North America, through alternative outcomes of the American War for Independence.
  • Always Coming Home
    Always Coming Home
    Always Coming Home is a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin published in 1985. This novel is about a cultural group of humans—the Kesh—who "might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California." Always Coming Home is a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin published in 1985. This novel is...

    (1985), by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

    , a combination of fiction and fictional anthropology
    Anthropology
    Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

     about a society in California in the distant future.
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing
    The Fifth Sacred Thing
    The Fifth Sacred Thing is a 1993 post-apocalyptic novel written by Starhawk.-Plot:The novel describes a world set in the year 2048 after a catastrophe which has fractured the United States into several nations...

    (1993), by Starhawk
    Starhawk
    Starhawk is an American writer and activist. She is well known as a theorist of Paganism, and is one of the foremost popular voices of ecofeminism. She is a columnist for Beliefnet.com and On Faith, the Newsweek/Washington Post online forum on religion...

    , a post-apocalyptic novel depicting two societies, one a sustainable economy based on social justice, and its neighbor, a militaristic and intolerant theocracy
    Theocracy
    Theocracy is a form of organization in which the official policy is to be governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided, or simply pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religious sect or religion....

    .
  • The Giver
    The Giver
    The Giver is a 1993 soft science fiction novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life...

    (1993), a Young Adult novel by Lois Lowry
    Lois Lowry
    Lois Lowry is an American author of children's literature. She began her career as a photographer and a freelance journalist during the early 1970s...

  • Utopia
    Utopia (Doctor Who)
    "Utopia" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 16 June 2007 and is the eleventh episode of series three of the revived Doctor Who series...

    , is the eleventh episode of the third revived series of cult science-fiction show Doctor Who
    Doctor Who
    Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

    . The episode focused around an attempted voyage to the planet 'Utopia'.

21st Century

  • Aria
    ARIA (manga)
    is a utopian science fantasy manga by Kozue Amano. The series was originally titled when it was published by Enix in the magazine Monthly Stencil, being retitled when it moved to Mag Garden's magazine Comic Blade. Aqua was serialized in Stencil from 2001 to 2002 and collected in two tankōbon volumes...

    (2001-2008), by Kozue Amano
    Kozue Amano
    is a female Japanese manga artist. She is widely known as the creator of Aria, which proved to be a best-selling hit, and was adapted into an anime television series consisting of 3 seasons and an OVA....

    , is a manga
    Manga
    Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

     and anime
    Anime
    is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

     series set on terraformed version of the planet Mars
    Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

     in the 24th century. The main character, Akari, is a trainee gondolier working in the city of Neo-Venezia, based on modern day Venice
    Venice
    Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

    .
  • Moon
    Moon (film)
    Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film about a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Earth's moon. It is the feature debut of director Duncan Jones. Sam Rockwell stars as the employee Sam Bell, and...

    (2009), directed by Duncan Jones, depicts a future where 70% of the world's energy output is met by mining helium 3 from Earth's moon.

External links