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Utopia (The Book) Turns 500!

One of the beautiful things about literature is how it can affect our speech, our ideas, and our culture. The message behind Utopia, a book written 500 years ago, still holds true today. The actual definition of the word Utopia from Greek to English is “Nowhere.” In the book, the word is meant to describe a place that is perfect, everybody is happy and everybody is rich. But of course, this concept simply does not exist.

Once we start thinking about the possibility of a Utopia, a common discussion arises. We acknowledge that Utopia does not exist, but that does not mean we cannot strive for the best possible environment for our society. The concept is so deeply rooted in what we are as human beings because how can we ever know when we reach the limits of our abilities?

 

Is the world destined to be filled with hate, violence, and injustice? The way we answer that question determines our philosophical bend. If we answer yes, and agree that the world is destined to be filled with evil, then typically we would be considered pessimists or at best realists. But those who answer no to the question, and instead argue that we can get to a place where all human beings are treated equally and fairly, they would be called idealists, and at worst naïve.

For the sake of Utopia’s birthday, take a moment to think about these concepts. Try and figure out where you stand on this question. If you haven’t already, you may learn something about how you see the world. And that is exactly what great books are supposed to do.