Thank you for your thoughtful response.
I came across your book while googling Utopia and was delighted at your choice of using Utopia as the word to express your longing for a better world.
I hope you will not take offense when I tell you that your book, remarkably prescient in many ways, nevertheless fell far short of capturing the premise of its title; and that you will not be upset and feel I am invading your privacy when I tell you that I am able – and do – not only read your website dispatchesfromplanetutopia but also all your email correspondence.
As for my gender-specific self-description; given the power of words to influence the way people think, the actions of your guardians of politically correct speech are a necessary corrective. However, they are unnecessary on Planet Utopia, where words that carry a negative connotation in your society are merely descriptive in ours. I would be delighted to engage in an on-going correspondence with you.
Thank you kindly for your offer to correspond directly with me. I look forward to a robust and rewarding exchange of ideas. However, I must caution you, there are somewhat more than three hundred million people in America and the last time I checked the only one who agreed with me is me – and then only sometimes.
As for my taking offense at your (very mild) criticism of “Why Not Utopia? A political platform in search of a party,” – my own self-criticism is not nearly as mild as yours. In fact, I am so critical of my book I am totally revising it. All I can say in my defense is that if God, after creating Adam had to create Eve because he didn’t get it right the first time, it seems only fair I should also be allowed a do-over.
And as for invading my privacy, fear not – it has already been invaded by the NSA, CIA, FBI, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc., and every person, company and corporation trying to sell me something; to say nothing of the entire internet tracking my every move.
I noticed your use of humor in Why Not Utopia? A political platform in search in search of a party, and again in your letter to me. I would caution you not to over-use it. Humor is a wonderful way to relieve pain, but relieving pain also relieves the urgency to change the conditions causing it.
I completely agree. But if I didn’t hide behind humor, I would spend my life in a constant state of rage, which I have been told is not good for my health. When can I expect to hear from you?
To: Jack Moscou
From: Thea Shiloh
Life on Planet Utopia, July 1, 2020
In our previous correspondence I wrote that I would discuss our foundational values with you; but, after thinking it over, I feel a better place to start would be sharing our life on Planet Utopia and the journey you would need to take to enjoy a Utopian life.
Your Merriam/Webster dictionary defines Utopia as:
1: a place of ideal perfection especially in laws,
government, and social conditions
2: an impractical scheme for social improvement
3: an imaginary and indefinitely remote place
It has been said that if you don’t know where you are going you are likely to wind up someplace else -or – if you don’t know where you are going all roads will take you there. With that in mind I suggest we start the journey to
Utopia at the journey’s end – what life could be like if you lived in a Utopian society.
To quote a well-known Chinese proverb, “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”; The step you are about to take will introduce you to Planet Utopia where the ideal of perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions already exists.
On Planet Utopia your dictionary definition of Utopia: a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions, already exists. We have an economy of abundance for all. Everything we need to enjoy a rich and rewarding life: leisure, food, shelter, clothing, health care, education, culture, everything, is available for all to enjoy.
We live in perfect harmony with each other and with nature. We treasure and nurture our relationships with each other and with the environment
We have no need for money, private property, or the accumulation of material possessions.
We have no war, crime, violence, rage, fear, depression, anxiety.
We do have an ever present concern; how to balance the well -being of the community which, for us, is paramount, with the right of each individual to pursue his or her life in absolute freedom, which is equally paramount. Living with the tensions inherent in these two conflicting ideals is a never- ending dilemma. Yes, contradictory as it may seem, we do have problems even in Utopia - what differentiates Planet Utopia from Earth is our ability to cope with them.
While I would like to live in the Utopian world you describe I fear it is not possible here on earth: I am optimistic enough to hope a Utopian world of ideal perfection is attainable but realistic enough to realize it is not probable and pessimistic enough to feel it is not even possible; not now, not never.
My sense is we are a genetically programmed predatory animal and our violence, selfishness, and urge to dominate others is set in stone and will prevent us from ever being able to create the Utopian world you describe.
Your genetic inheritance also includes the ability to be empathetic, and to struggle against violence and selfishness. I can assure you; your set-in stone genetic inheritance is not as set in stone as you think.
While I am glad to hear our genetic inheritance is not as set in stone as I think, I am still concerned that habits of thoughts and behaviors developed since time immemorial may be too strong for us to break.
The answer to your fears and concerns is, yes; thoughts and behaviors developed over millennia may indeed have become habits too strong tobreak. But that is not to say it is not possible. Only time will tell.
Not to be ungrateful, but I’m ninety-years old. I don’t have lots of time. Couldn’t you offer me something a little more encouraging?
Although I know your reply is your usual facetious way of hiding behind humor I will respond in all seriousness. Whether or not you live to see Utopia, the journey itself will be worthwhile; it will be redemptive and transformative even if Utopia proves to be beyond your reach
All humor aside, am I correct that the journey will take us from the largely aspirational goals you have outlined to how Planet Utopia actually accomplishes them?
Yes, you will be able to clearly see how our systems align with our values and bring our aspirational goals to fruition in all aspects of our life.
It’s beginning to look like this journey will be a very long one.
It will be. Your journey will be long and slow and sometimes quite painful. The resistance you will encounter every step of the way will be fierce. Your powerful political and economic elites, desperate to retain their privileged way of life, will oppose you every step of the way. Those who believe only a revolutionary change throwing out your entire present system and those who believe you can only get to Utopia through incremental steps will probably spend more time fighting each other than those in power. And, unfortunately, too many of your fellow citizens will simply duck their heads and avoid getting involved in any way. The question you need to answer is; are you willing to undertake the journey?
Absolutely. Even if I have to go all by myself. Although I would prefer to have company and lots
of it. Can you tell me what your next dispatch will be about?
Freedom from want and fear.