There are many societies all over the world that have created different programs and paths that they set out to follow in the quest for a more peaceful society. The peace that the societies search for may differ from one society to another. However, these societies always have in mind the creation of a perfect place to live in where there are little or no problems where every member of the society lives in unending bliss. Many scholars have named this method of society creation as utopianism. Utopia emphasizes on different aspects of the society as the architects of the type of society always emphasize on the eradication of the ills and problems that cripple the formation of an ideal society. The ideal society is one that has the best environment created for the members of the said society to live in the best possible way that they could think of.
Among the different societies that practiced different forms of utopia were the Shakers. The Shakers are a religious sect that started in the 18th Century and has been present in the country over the past years. The shakers are a group of Christians that sprung out of the protestant lot in the 18th Century when a few of the members defected and formed a society of their own. The society was known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. The society that was formed had different goals that it had in mind that were different from the activities that the other members of the protestant group had in mind. There were different expectations that the founders of the group expected from the protestant society that it did not find and therefore decided to leave the protestant group. Over time, the goals of the society were adjusted according to the opinions of the leaders as well as the information that the leaders claimed to have received from God in form of visions. All the activities were aimed at creating the best society that pleased God and that was free of the worldly problems that the leaders claimed to hinder the rest of the society from achieving the divine and complete society that they were looking to find.
Among the goals that the Shakers society had in mind was that of true and complete repentance from all the members as the leader claimed that the second coming of Christ was imminent and that they had to be prepared for any outcome that resulted. The goal on repentance was put in place by the initial founders of the society back in the England where it was formed. Ann Lee, who was later known as Mother Ann Lee, brought about new goals for the society of Shakers. She claimed to have received a vision from God. In this vision, she saw that the fall of Adam and Eve was the main topic and the relationship between the fall of Adam and Eve to sexual intercourse. She therefore deigned rules that emphasized on sexual purity among the members of the Shakers society. The followers were required to leave their sinful nature, repent, give up worldly possessions as well as take up the duty of remaining celibate. She encouraged her members to give up on marriage and remain in the society.
The Shaker group was originally members of the Quakers religious society that was present in England in the 18th century. They were members of the Quakers society until 1747 when Jane and James Wardley decided to exit the group and form another one of their own. The name ‘Shakers’ was given to them due to the methods of worship that they used. The methods used involved a lot of shouting, shaking and singing in tongues. In the American context, the Shaking Quakers was started by Ann Lee and fellow worshippers who had travelled from England to the colonial America. She claimed to be receiving visions from God that helped her manage the group. She developed a system of theology of which the members were to follow. Celibacy was a great principle in the community as developed by Ann Lee. After the death of Ann, the society was taken up by Elder Joseph Meacham and Eldress Lucy Wright. Together, they developed a plan of how the Shaker society would be like. The new pattern of the social organization described the society as one having celibate villages of men and women where they held all things in common. The first Shaker community that had been formed retained the leadership of the rest of the other communities that were formed. The Shaker society grew with time and spread to other states in the United States. Even though there were severally persecuted because of their somehow bizarre beliefs, the society was able to gather more and more followers and grew in numbers.
There are several things to consider in the setting up of a Utopian society. There are several subdivisions of the society that would prove to be hard to establish utopia in them. Utopia is very possible. There are several things that prove that a utopian society would be possible in the current world. The Shakers society for instance proved that the communism way of life was possible and that the members of the society would still remain faithful and satisfied. The Shakers society was particularly active in the invention of several items that were important in the development of the science and technology in the 18th Century. They were also active in the packaging and marketing of seeds and also the production of medicinal herbs. However, in my opinion, creating a utopia society is very hard. The creation of a religious utopia may be easy. However, other aspects such as the creation of an economic utopia might be hard. There are people who are made to believe that capitalism is always superior to communism. They hold out that the rate of input of energy in capital creation varies greatly and feeding the people equally will create an unjust society. There are people who will take advantage of utopia and offer less in the society deliberately. The creation of a technological utopia may prove to be a hard nut to crack. Technological progress in a society shows how different the people of a certain society may be different. Different inventions will collide and uniting different people to one course may be very difficult.
Utopia is not the preferred method of living among the different societies that are present in the world. There are different reasons that make this claim real. The methods that a utopian society uses together with the different principles that are employed in the creation of a utopian society may make the lives of people more miserable than the situation when the utopian society is not applied. The creation of a complete utopian society requires several measures met. These measures are used to adjust the living that the people are used to so as to create a society where are little differences between the members. The first reason why a utopian society is not preferred is that; human beings are very diverse in characteristics and this requires the creation of a council or government that would ensure that the society remain at peace and that no one absconds the duties that have been assigned to him. The creation of this type of government in a utopian society would lead the society to the problems that the utopian society will be running away from. The creation of a utopian society will include the eradication of some of the natural principles of life in the creation of a much ‘better’ life. For instance, taking an example of the Shakers society, they took celibacy as a need for the whole society. Celibacy defies the natural rules that are meant to ensure the growth of future generations from the current population.
Apart from the religious utopia, the creation of a technological utopia will hinder the invention of different independent technological breakthrough. The main reason behind this is that, there are rules that are set in the creation of a utopian society. These rules are created in a way to help the society present to remain under one course. The current world has developed to the state it is mostly due to economic competition. When there are economic competitions, economies and countries create policies and programs that are meant to meet the target that they set for themselves. The creation of a utopian society will eradicate the competition that exists between the different societies. The eradication of competition removes the urgency to improve the level of development in the different communities and countries at large. Economic utopia therefore will not champion the creation of a better world but will rather make the people live in lower level of development as well as poor welfare. The creation of communism in the utopian societies means that the members if the said society engage in communal search of capital. The communal search of capital however, will not be just to everyone as there are different areas of work where some people will offer more energy into capital creation. The energy that different people apply to the society will be depended on the skill that the particular person has. The returns are not fair either. In most cases, people will receive equal treatment irrespective of the effort offered in the society.
Research on Utopia in the USA’s Perspective
The Americans have had different views on the possibility of having utopia in their country and the whole world at large. The historical research technique will help us realize the possible answer to the question on whether it is possible for the American society to develop a utopian society and whether the same can be replicated to the rest of the world. Here, the research question is; do the Americans believe that a utopian society can be achieved in the modern era to their country or even the world at large?
The main hypothesis here is that; the Americans do not believe that the country could one day achieve a utopian society and the world too cannot achieve a utopian state.
The scope of the research
The research examines the different applications of the utopian society and the outcomes of the society in different parts of the world over the different centuries. There are societies that applied the utopian principles as well as countries over the few past centuries of recorded history. There are religious sects that practiced utopia as well as countries and societies that were not religious based that applied several principles of the creation of utopian societies.
There are different communities that have practiced utopia in the different centuries and the results of the practices have been differing from one society to the other. The research analyses a few of the societies that practiced utopia as well as the different results achieved. In the ancient America, several societies practiced utopia basing their principles on different aspects of life at that moment. The Brook Farm was present between the years of 1841 to 1846. The philosophical movement was present in the country in a period where there were tens of utopian movements. The movement stood out of the rest due to its nature of being secular. The movement was created to bring farmers to work together and then share the fruits together. The movement did not last long though. Internal squabbles were the chief reason it lasted for only a couple of years. The Fruitlands movement existed between 1843 and 1844. The Fruitlands movement was formed by Charles Lane and Bronson Alcott. The founders insisted on forbidding eating certain food types, celibacy between married members as well as limiting the use of animal labor. The movement lasted less than seven months as members defected due to the conditions that they were subjected to. The New Harmony existed between 1825 and 1829. The movement was a settlement that was created to help the members pursue the study of sciences and natural philosophy without the embrace of the modern capitalist life. The movement was successful in the creation of a center where many young promising scientists were united. The movement collapsed after four years due to wrangles arising from differing opinions about the use of money. The Oneida was present between 1848 and 1881 in upstate New York. The movement was largely defined by complex marriage rules to the members. Monogamy in the society was thoroughly rejected and many members had to follow certain rules devised by a special committee if at all they were to have children. The mothers were only allowed to take care of the children for a number of years after which the community assumed responsibility of the older children. The Shakers society was notably present in several states and was particularly known through the settlements that were created for the members who were to follow thorough celibacy rules. There was also communal ownership of goods between the members. The movement weakened in the 20th Century and the remaining settlements have been turned into museums.
The analysis of the few sampled utopian societies shows that the utopian organizations have not been particularly stable in the historical America. Most of them suffered internal problems that arose mostly due to the nature of the rules that the members were subjected to. A large percentage of the utopian organizations survived only a few years after which the organizations crashed. Leadership wrangles were also present in most of the organizations that practiced utopia.
The modern society is still faced with the same problems that were present during the historical America. The modern society would require a lot of effort in the creation of a utopian society among them. The nature of variations between the members of the present society poses a great threat to the creation of the complete utopian society.
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