Finding Utopia

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
— Unknown

As a kid, I’d heard people speak of a “Utopia”; a world where everything was beautiful, there was no crime, no hate, no bad feelings whatsoever.  As I got older, I discovered this concept was published in novel form by Sir Thomas More.  When I started reading classic works of fiction, I decided to check out Sir Thomas’ tome.  While it was an interesting read, I began to realize that I personally didn’t want to live in a Utopian society.  Nor do I believe we humans would be able to survive for very long in one.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but more realistic (though, most cynics think they’re realists, don’t they? 😉 ).  Seriously though, I think living in a society where there was no struggling, no animosity, no challenges would be completely boring.  Besides, how can you know that you’re happy about something, when there’s no pain/unhappiness/suffering to compare it to?  You’d just feel like you always feel.  How monotonous.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no drama queen, nor do I necessarily enjoy when drama comes my way.  And I am DEFINITELY not a fan of Reality TV, where that’s their bread and butter.  However, I find that a little challenge now and then gets the blood pumping, and helps you appreciate the times when things are calmer.

Interestingly enough, when I researched the word utopia, I found that it derives from Greek for “no place” and “good place”:

…’utopia‘ is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning ‘no’, and topos, meaning ‘place’.”

When the English prefix eu- (meaning “good”) is used, it signifies a double meaning, with the implication that the “good place” is really “no place.”  There is even some thought that More intended Utopia to be more of a satire, rather than a realistic blueprint for a working nation.  Even in his book, Utopia was merely an island where people lived like that, not an entire world.

So why do so many cling to the idea of a society where everyone gets along, where there’s no more suffering or war?  I personally believe it’s because we have our own expectations of the world, and when it doesn’t live up to our expectations, we become disillusioned and unhappy.  But what if we could let go of our expectations?  Would we see that the universe is already in perfect balance?

I’m a big believer in the principles of Taoism; that it’s more important to harmonize one’s will with Nature, rather than to try to bend Nature to fit one’s will.  Many Taoists believe in the yin and yang of the world; that you can’t have one without the other.  So, as unfortunate as many of the tragedies in the world are, if we could view them as Nature’s way of keeping the balance, it might make them seem a little less tragic.

I’m not suggesting that we sit there and rejoice whenever unfortunate events happen.  It’s incredibly devastating when things like war, terrorism, or natural disasters take the lives of so many; especially to the people who have lost loved ones due to those incidents.  And I can totally understand why people would want to erase that kind of pain from the world.  However, following the yin/yang principle, I try to accept those events as a necessary part of the universal balance.

In one of my favorite books, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Socrates says to Dan:

“Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.”

Which brings me back to the quote I opened with today.  If we can be calm in our hearts and minds, while the rest of the world appears to be in chaos, we might find that we no longer see it as chaos, but rather the ebb and flow of a Universe in perfect harmony.

That’s the Utopia I strive for every day.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cminichino
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 11:05:08

    I have a hard time accepting any kind of pain or suffering or loss as necessary. I agree acceptance is important in the here and now, but I believe it’s important to work hard to eliminate all forms of violence, personal or social, from illness or war or … future evils.

    Very thought provoking, Alyx.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 01, 2011 @ 12:02:56

      I’m glad it made you think, Camille. And I think it’s a good idea for us to strive for more peace, but the best place to start is within ourselves.

      Thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

      Reply

  2. Dana Fredsti
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 12:15:47

    I think a world of mutual respect would be enough for me… but since I doubt that’s ever gonna happen given human nature, I don’t mind your definition of Utopia!

    Reply

  3. Dolly Chamberlin
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 16:39:46

    I agree that utopia is not my ideal. My ideal is where mutual respect, acceptance, etc. is practiced. I further agree that, while this isn’t reality, it is my goal to attain these attributes, so when people enter my ‘little corner of the world’ they will experience this type of human interaction. LOVES :}

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Jul 01, 2011 @ 16:42:18

      That’s really the best anyone can do, mom; to share those wonderful attributes with others when they enter your corner of the world. 🙂

      I love you too, & thanks for stopping by today.

      Reply

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