We dream of the day when, the very men and women who were "created" equal are actually treated that way. When no one goes hungry, no one get sick, the old die peacefully and the young grow up healthy, strong, well-educated, with respect and dignity...
What is the cost of this Utopia? Some seem to think it's in giving your life over to a god, or an equally-worshiped deity of some kind. Others grasp at platitudes and proverbs and turn them into mantras for life.
I've just finished watching the 1988 version of the film Appleseed, which I first heard about over at Exploring Our Matrix in this post. Granted, I haven't seen the actual movie James McGrath is speaking of here--it's sitting on my coffee table as we speak, waiting for me to first finish the 2004 remake Appleseed of the 1988 version of Appleseed I just finished watching so that I can then watch the third installment in the series also named Appleseed... (You follow all that?)
Basically, in the city of Olympus, 80% of the humans have been genetically modified since birth to be happy in this Utopia, created after WWII, while the other 20% have been brought in "from the outside," "saved" as it were, from the fate worse then death they had been living beyond the walls of Olympus...
And it was killing them, these humans. (Some of them anyway...). Right from the outset we witness a woman go off the deep end (quite literally!), unable to live in the perfect society to which she has been brought, longing for her freedom from the "perfectness" of it all...
What is the cost of Utopia? Is it our freedoms? In Christian mythology, after this life full of its hardships and toils surrounded by a curse of "original sin" and pain and death, we will be brought to a place of perfect peace and tranquility, where no sadness exists, food is plentiful, pain not even a memory, and joy abounds like a two-year-old boy in a mud puddle!
Trust me, you wouldn't be the first person to cry, "Ugh! Sounds like hell!" (One wonders how many Christians will actually end up there and come to the same conclusion!!) Most Western religions actually vary very little on this theme (although one wonders what happens when the Muslim has slept with all seventy-two of his virgins... Does he apply for new ones? Or simply live the rest of his eternal afterlife being nagged by seventy-two different women?), and since I've been told multiple times that hell is exactly where I'm going, I can't help but wonder if that means I'll be in their heaven after all... (unfortunately, however, this would ruin the promised experience for them...)
I can't help but think that if it was bliss and peace we as humans truly desired, we'd have it by now... What, after all, can we not achieve if we but try? And to be honest, the effort these days is hardly much more than a whim. Sure, we love the stories of how billionaires spend money to rid the malaria from the tiny corners of the Earth where it still thrives (and true, too, that it thrives there unnecessarily!). But we also love the story of the man or woman who brings themselves up by their own boot straps, creating a better life for themselves and/or their children through sheer will power and guts alone--could it be these romanticized stories of hardship and pain are the reason alone we haven't achieved are own Utopia already? Are we just too lazy to be bothered with those backwoods corners of the Earth that haven't eradicated malaria (or whatever) themselves, waiting for the heroic story of the local person who did it without Bill Gates' money?
Or could it be that we already know that, were we to even try, something else would come along and ruin the dream?
What is the price of Utopia? What is the cost?
I recently read on a chat site where our planet would be a lot better off if we as humans didn't even exist--better off for who? The animals? As if they wouldn't continue hunting each other for food and territory... As if animals still wouldn't go extinct... As if volcanoes weren't just as effective--if not better--at spilling carnage and pollution into the atmosphere... "Better" is very subjective, as we can see. Additionally, how could something be labeled "better" if no one were around to say what "better" actually was? And how could it possibly be "better" for us--the very keepers of such whims and notions as "better" and "worse," "good" and "bad"--to not be here?
Utopia may be the dream for most--call it "heaven," "nirvana," "Abraham's bosom"--it all means the same thing--and end to Life.
"Life is pain, highness!" the man in black cried to the weeping woman who wished simply to be back safe in the palace with the man she did not love. To finish the quote? "Anyone who says differently is selling something..."
Selling heaven, selling salvation, selling a gadget for $19.95 that slices, dices, and does the dishes afterward (for an additional $5.95, of course, and only in the next five minutes...)
This post may seem a bit dreary to you, dear reader--after all, if life is nothing without the pain and suffering which made us--continually makes us--who we are and what, pray tell, is the point?
Perhaps you missed it--Life is the point. If eternal bliss means feeling nothing, I'll kindly take a pass. If peace forever means giving up being me? I'll wait for the next car. If reaching Utopia means I must give up my flaws and imperfections, then what's to become of me? Who will I be? What will keep me human? How can it possibly be an afterlife if the life part has been eradicated?
Yes, it sucks to being born with nothing and having to struggle for that first breath of air. It blows even bigger monkey chunks to die after struggling for so long to make it however far you make it in life--what with the cars, the house, the 2.5 kids, and the dog that thinks you're god... But the reason you appreciate them so IS because of the work involved--the struggles, the pain, the adversity, and ultimately the triumph--all before the next thing comes along that needs a good conquering.
It could be that perhaps Utopia would be best--after all, how can you possibly miss living if you don't remember having lived? If all the pain and sorrow and whatnot have been removed, how are you going to know all that you're missing out on? All the living you had done to reach this Utopia? If Utopia strips you of everything that made you who you are and everything you have experienced, perhaps you can be brainwashed into loving the fact that nothing ever happens for eternity...
Of course, you may as well just call it death... After all, isn't death what comes after life?