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According to Singh (2009), utopia may be defined as an ideal society or a heaven-like place on earth. He noted that in a utopian society, everyone should be living a happy and peaceful life and in possession of all they need. Kelly (2002) observes that there has been a general agreement that the existing social order today can and should be improved. However, what has brought controversies is the identification of what is exactly wrong with the current social order. Another point of controversy has been the lack of consensus on what an ideal society should look like. However, a look at the kind of the society that existed many years ago and the present society can reveal that there is a possibility of achieving a utopian society even though people may not have agreed on exactly what constitutes of it.
The Human Nature and Change
Kelly (2002) noted that a change in human nature is mandatory for the society to realize such a new state. Some scholars have, however, argued that the human nature is fixed and therefore realizing such a transformation in the organizational structure as to result in to an entirely new kind of society would not be possible.
In discussing the human nature Kelly (2002) noted that it has two components that must be explored when examining the possibility of achieving a utopian society. These include the basic nature and the cultural nature with the basic nature found inherently in the human endowment. According to Kelly (2002), this is what makes human beings rational and influences their drive for the formation of a new culture. Another that must be dealt with is the human culture which is different among communities and regions. He notes that it is the cultural differences between different societies, which results into differences between people and, therefore, it is most likely to complicate any attempt towards agreeing on what an ideal society can be like.
Noting that different cultures form different people, Kelly (2002) argued that any step towards a better society requires an advanced understanding of these two aspects of human nature. Significant to this process would be identifying and harmonizing the issues upon which varies cultures vary. Every intended development even in the line of science and technology can only be accepted if it is in line with these cultures. More et al (2005) added that the development of any knowledge of the variable parts of the material for any intended projects must, therefore, take into account the differences in cultural beliefs. This will allow the possibility of carrying out any further improvement on the technology whose application would most likely lead to a move towards the utopia. With such measures, Kelly argues that utopia can be a reality.
Kelly (2002) reported that the argument that human nature is immutable and stable has been denied by most scholars. He has instead observed a common agreement among scholars that human nature is a product of different consistent processes of human moral self- creation. To Kelly, human nature is a formation of their own cultures which are in turn formed by humans themselves. Kelly (2002), therefore, emphasized that the role of the human material in making the society must be considered in examining the possibility of realizing a utopian society.
In his conclusion, Kelly (2002) exclaimed that, with these facts, the society can only realize utopia if the people themselves agree to change. This means that there has to be a change in people’s culture. The question is, therefore, how to change and harmonize people’s culture. According to Vijra (2005), this must begin from a good understanding of various cultures which, though created by human, are the determinants of how people would be willing to change. There should also be an understanding that as certain cultures allow development, others are static and that any significant development/change of a culture can only come from within such static cultures. The challenge is, therefore, the need to seek the ideas of the people of all cultures and harmonize them which is mandatory for utopia to be possible.
Kelly (2002) noted that another challenge to realizing a utopia society is cultural decline. It results from the loss of the essential foundation of a culture. This makes the various meanings and purposes that people had been giving for life fade away. This process casts worries in the possibility of achieving a utopian society because it often results into the increase in wrongful behavior like substance abuse, criminality and rate of suicide commitment. According to Kelly (2002), the effect of such a decline can even be grater if the attacks emanate from within the culture. Whenever such an attack is purely contradictory to the provisions contained in the proposed basis for human meaning and purpose, the process of achieving utopia will be derailed. This may result into a return to the original foundation of culture by a group.
Contradiction on the Definition
Another challenge to the realization of the utopian society is the fact that there is no individual with what exactly is meant by an ideal society. Noting this, Vijra (2005) argued that the process of realizing a utopia will still not be simple. This leaves the society with the options of either returning to the original fundamental ideas or accepting a general credible reinterpretation of those original foundations of life. Vijra (2005) noted that what is the best for an individual or a group is not necessary the best for another. An example is whether doctors and medicine men would consider a world without diseases as utopia.
This means that the achievement of one’s utopia would usher in a new set of challenges for another group and, therefore, a need for further change. More et al (2005) also noted that, with the complexity of the society today, it is hard to tell what is utopia and what is not. More and his colleagues observed that even in the midst of what is considered as high technological world, instances like people ridding on horses have been very common. A contradiction of the mind, therefore, emerges because to some groups, these are traditions that had passed with time and can no longer represent a utopian society.
Another challenge to the realization of a utopia is the attempt by a section of the society to refer to some cultures as dominant over others. According to Kelly (2002), this will deter the realization of a utopia kind of society. He argued that such positions hinder the development of new ideas resulting into a static culture. Any attempt that prevents the reinterpretation of ideas is a hindrance to any new kind of development.
A Case Study with the Western Culture
Taking the western culture as an example, Kelly (2002) has argued that it is possible to attain a utopia. He noted that the current Western Culture has majorly emerged from the transformation of the Christian faith. He sees it as a post Christian society. He argued that most of the aspects of the Western Culture, like the ideal forms of government and the acceptable way of treating other people, have their foundation in the Christian faith. Kelly (2002) noted that the west society has been deriving their meaning and purpose from the Christian faith. More et al (2005) also added that because man can not exist without culture, it is true that influencing various cultures towards a commonality remains as the most effective way to realize a change. This is why for a moment the Western Culture, though for a period, succeeded as a unifying factor in the West.
Kelly (2002) noted that the new Christian faith introduced the new ideas which changed and unified peoples’ ideas regarding the meaning and purpose of human life. He observed that such changes have been witnessed and are still continuing in the Western Culture. Kelly argues that the ideas that make up the culture of the earlier Christians appropriately served at that time. However, with the changing world, such ideas can not serve the world appropriately today to steer it to an ideal society. The ideas are increasing loosing their value and effect on people. Singh (2009) noted hat people are continuing to believe in the emerging faith of scientism which contradicts Christianity in various aspects.
Another school of emerging thought is the belief that everything happens by chance. Another influential explanation in today’s world is the theory posed by Darwin which explains the transformation of the forms of a human being as happening by mutation and natural selection. Such beliefs contradict the concept of Christianity making it had for its ideas to steer the society to utopia. However, they would equally form a solid basis for uniting people towards a utopia.
In conclusion, for any meaningful change in the organization of the society, there must be a change in human nature. Being that human nature is not immutable; the best way to realize a utopia would, therefore, be to harmonize various existing cultures throughout the world. This would be possible with the development of a new perspective as to give meaning and purpose of human life. People must also learn to accommodate the diversities that exist between groups. This means that the world will have to agree on a common government to steer the society to a utopia.