I have recently read Utopia for Realists. This is a book about…utopias, of course. That’s a topic that I have often thought about and perhaps this is one reason why I was drawn to this book.
I think it’s very important that we spend some time to reflect on the world we live in and the world we are creating. And I think it’s also important to ask ourselves: if I could change the world in any way, what would I change? How would I reshape the world?
I think we would all come up with our version of utopia. The world we imagine is no doubt a reflection of who we are, what we value and what we hope for. And I think it’s a valuable exercise to think of our version of utopia – and even to share it with others.
In the book Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman shares his version of utopia which includes Universal Basic Income, a 15-hour workweek and open borders. He dreams of a world where nobody is poor or homeless because nobody deserves that. I like parts of his utopia while questioning others – as it is to be expected.
What about my version of utopia? This book inspired me to think about this more and to try to refine my view. And I will share a bit with you today. This is something I’ve never shared before, but I think it may be valuable.
My Own Version of Utopia
My own version of utopia is a world where:
The values we cherish and guide ourselves by are honesty, truth, authenticity, meaning, growth, knowledge, education, personal responsibility, contribution, cooperation, community, respect and kindness. But above all is a scientific way of thinking.
We invest a lot in research because we want to understand the world clearly as much as possible. We believe the world is knowable, so we want to make that a reality and use science as an instrument to achieve that.
We have a government that has a branch of scientists whose sole purpose is to conduct experiments, share what is true and help us make decisions based on scientific fact and logic.
Citizens are also involved and they are regularly informed and asked for their opinion. But ultimately, we trust that the scientific consensus is better than our personal views.
The government, as well as citizens, realize that we need to think of the future too. So sometimes we may have to make some sacrifices in the present to ensure the wellbeing of humanity for the future generations too.
Our education prepares children for living a good life. School subjects also include useful life skills such as critical thinking, emotional awareness, emotional regulation, emotional intelligence, self-discipline, autodidacticism, cooperation, goal setting, time management, mindfulness and more.
We also believe learning should continue for as long as we live. So we have resources and people focused on helping everyone learn more.
We have almost eradicated corruption and we have a fair and balanced justice system.
We have more transparency at every level – government, companies and individuals.
We aim to create more equality and a meritocratic system. So employees are paid fairly based on their skills and work ethic.
We have Universal Basic Income that allows people to escape poverty and worry less about their future.
The people who make more money will pay more taxes.
The people who want to have children attend free training sessions that help them learn how to raise and educate healthy children.
Prices for goods are similar all over the world (with some exceptions: local products can and probably should be slightly cheaper than imported products).
Taxes are similar or equal in different areas and there are no more tax havens.
Everyone has access to free health care and therapy.
There are limits on consumption so that we reduce our negative impact on the environment.
Social media companies – and other companies that focus on online products and services – are transparent. They are no longer allowed to track and store users’ data and sell access to it to third-party advertisers. They use different systems to make money like subscriptions, donations and so on.
We believe every person has the right to live in safety. We all want to ensure that everyone is free and safe.
We know that humans are imperfect and they make mistakes. But we aim to learn from our mistakes.
We care about wellbeing, so we focus on activities that increase meaning, help people experience flow and help them live good lives.
We help people get to know themselves better and find ways to use their own skills and live out their own values in ways that are beneficial to them and to society. We believe that people grow and find meaning when they contribute in the way that makes sense for them, so we want to give everyone the chance to do this.
Above all, we care about finding out what is true, becoming better people and creating a better world – for all of us. This means that the systems we use or the initiatives we implement will continue to change and evolve based on what we discover and what we need. As people continue to evolve for as long as they live, so will the society we live in.
I realize that this sounds so much like a utopia, that we may need a new term for it. It’s probably a utopian utopia…
To be honest, I know this is mostly a dream. As much as I wish this were true one day, I am not sure something like this could even be implemented. Or maybe it could be our world in a few hundred years.
I am sure that a lot more can be added to this. I also realize that some of the ideas in my vision can be hijacked and can ultimately create a terrible dystopia. Ultimately, any utopia becomes a dystopia when taken to the extreme. This is why I believe that we need to make sure that we have the right values and the right philosophy before we even begin to implement any version of utopia. And I think that we would always need to keep each other in check and to ensure that this stays a utopia and does not turn into a dystopia.
I really wish we could build this utopia in our world and in our lifetime. I know there are many ideas that would need to be assessed in depth and tested and refined over time. But that’s the thing – time will either prove this to be a valid philosophy or it will improve it and make it even better!
In the end, I think that what matters most is for us to start thinking of the utopia we want to live in. We should try to make sense of the world we live in and the world we want to live in. And we should engage in open and meaningful conversations about the world we want to build. We should have our views challenged and be willing to adapt and refine them. It’s the only way we can ensure that it is us who decides what kind of world we want to live in in the future and start working towards that vision. This isn’t something to leave to chance and hope that it turns out alright. It is up to all of us to build our future. And I think this starts with a dream, with a utopia…
So tell me…what utopia do you dream about?