quotations about Utopia
We are at heart so profoundly anarchistic that the only form of state we can imagine living in is Utopian; and so cynical that the only Utopia we can believe in is authoritarian.
LIONEL TRILLING, notebook entry, Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, 1985
Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before -- that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment.
R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER, Critical Path
Our business here is to be Utopian, to make vivid and credible, if we can, first this facet and then that, of an imaginary whole and happy world.
H. G. WELLS, A Modern Utopia
All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in.
TONI MORRISON, interview, Online NewsHour, March 9, 1998
Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal.
VICTOR HUGO, Intellectual Autobiography
We will go out into the world and plant gardens and orchards to the horizons, we will build roads through the mountains and across the deserts, and terrace the mountains and irrigate the deserts until there will be garden everywhere, and plenty for all, and there will be no more empires or kingdoms, no more caliphs, sultans, emirs, khans, or zamindars, no more kings or queens or princes, no more quadis or mullahs or ulema, no more slavery and no more usury, no more property and no more taxes, no more rich and no more poor, no killing or maiming or torture or execution, no more jailers and no more prisoners, no more generals, soldiers, armies or navies, no more patriarchy, no more caste, no more hunger, no more suffering than what life brings us for being born and having to die, and then we will see for the first time what kind of creatures we really are.
KIM STANLEY ROBINSON, The Years of Rice and Salt
Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache.... Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.
GEORGE ORWELL, Why Socialists Don't Believe in Fun
Life without utopia is suffocating, for the multitude at least: threatened otherwise with petrifaction, the world must have a new madness.
EMIL CIORAN, History and Utopia
Melancholy and utopia are heads and tails of the same coin.
GÜNTER GRASS, "On Stasis in Progress", From the Diary of a Snail
A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.
OSCAR WILDE, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labelled Utopian.
EMMA GOLDMAN, "Socialism: Caught in the Political Trap", Red Emma Speaks
There is a tyranny in the womb of every Utopia.
BERTRAND DE JOUVENEL, Sovereignty: An Inquiry Into the Political Good
Utopia is on the horizon. I move two steps closer; it moves two steps further away. I walk another ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps further away. As much as I may walk, I'll never reach it. So what's the point of utopia? The point is this: to keep walking.
EDUARDO GALEANO, attributed, Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, The Scarlet Letter
If people would forget about utopia! When rationalism destroyed heaven and decided to set it up here on earth, that most terrible of all goals entered human ambition. It was clear there'd be no end to what people would be made to suffer for it.
NADINE GORDIMER, Burger's Daughter
I can imagine no man who will look with more horror on the End than a conscientious revolutionary who has, in a sense sincerely, been justifying cruelties and injustices inflicted on millions of his contemporaries by the benefits which he hopes to confer on future generations: generations who, as one terrible moment now reveals to him, were never going to exist. Then he will see the massacres, the faked trials, the deportations, to be all ineffaceably real, an essential part, his part, in the drama that has just ended: while the future Utopia had never been anything but a fantasy.
C. S. LEWIS, The World's Last Night
I don't know where a utopia is supposed to be, or where one could be found. I sometimes think that it is the place where fear and doubt end with the realization that around you is everything you need, and there is nothing else to find.
KIRA SALAK, Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea
Utopia is a framework for utopias, a place where people are at liberty to join together voluntarily to pursue and attempt to realize their own vision of the good life in the ideal community but where no one can impose his own utopian vision upon others.
ROBERT NOZICK, Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Utopia is not something that we have to produce, that we have to achieve. Rather, utopia is already here--and should be defended.
BORIS GROYS, "Art, Technology, and Humanism", e-flux, May 2017
In the next few years the struggle will not be between utopia and reality, but between different utopias, each trying to impose itself on reality ... we can no longer hope to save everything, but ... we can at least try to save lives, so that some kind of future, if perhaps not the ideal one, will remain possible.
ALBERT CAMUS, Between Hell and Reason