A utopia is the representation of an idea or society in its perfect, ideal and flawless form, but whose realization is far from reality due to its complexity or impossibility of putting it into practice due to various factors.
Applying the concept of utopia to societies, which is what it was created for, we speak of a perfect form of organization, in harmony, where it is assimilated that all factors work correctly. In short, in an ideal society.
But it also owes its meaning to the impossibility of its implementation, mainly due to the human condition. People, unlike other animals, have unpredictable behavior. If some utopias have the predisposition that factors such as solidarity, integrity and goodness of all the actors or members of utopian society are fulfilled, it is assuming their unreality.
Now we go with some of the most famous examples of utopian societies from the hands of some authors. Although they are examples, utopia or utopian can be used with everything that is impossible to achieve or very close to the ideal, be it an ideology, an economic theory, an idea or a social organization.
Plato and utopia
Plato in his work Republic represents what for him would be the ideal of social organization, in his case of the city-state, which was the Greek composition of the time.
For the philosopher, this society must be composed of three social classes, the lowest would be the workers and artisans, the intermediate the warriors and the highest the leaders. Each one of them is attributed certain characteristics and functions. That is, a type of soul and an associated virtue.
- Craftsmen: This is the predominant class and they have a concupiscible soul, governed not by reason but by desires. Their virtue is temperance, they enjoy material goods and must have access to family and private property.
- Warriors: Warriors have irascible souls and their virtue is courage. They cannot have access to wealth, neither to family nor to private property. They must live in a communal regime, that is, everything is shared.
- Rulers: Rulers have a rational soul and their virtue is wisdom. Nor will they have access to family or private property. Its function is basically to run the city, always looking for the best option. Rulers are not corrupted, since their position is not driven by personal ambition.
Justice occurs at that moment in which each and every one of the components of the social classes is dedicated to the functions that have been entrusted to them. And we will speak of injustice when classes try to perform or attribute functions that do not correspond to them.
Utopia according to Thomas More
Tomás Moro writes, in the 16th century, Utopia, in which he relates his idea of an ideal society. This takes place on an artificially created island. The island is made up of fifty-four cities that are similar to each other, that is, with the same characteristics.
City dwellers take turns living in the countryside and working in agriculture. In addition, they must learn an extra trade. There is no private property, they live communally, housing for example is randomly changed every ten years.
Every thirty families, annually, a chief named filarca is chosen. And, every ten philarchs, a protophilarch is chosen to act as a representative of its ten. In total there are two hundred filarcas, and they are in charge of electing the prince, the candidates for prince are proposed by the people. There are four candidates, one for every quarter of the State.
In addition to its form of government, some of the characteristics of this utopian society are the following: six-hour workday, there are few laws, the organization is family and patriarchal, there are no games of chance, etc.
Utopian socialism is considered the first socialist thought, and has as its representatives Henri Saint-Simon among many others. Some of its characteristics are the following:
- Cooperation: Collaboration between all members without individualistic pretensions.
- They Shun the Struggle: They advocate for peace and the establishment of this society through it, not under war and imposition.
- Egalitarian societies: Egalitarianism as a basis, no one should own more than anyone else.
- Idealism: They do not conceive of evil in society.
Later, currents such as scientific socialism would come, whose approach would be more practical than ideal.