More’s Utopia Tells Us Why 2020 Should Not Be a Write-Off

Why 2020 shouldn't be a write-off, with inspiration from Thomas More's Utopia

In today’s current climate, the temptation to wish you were somewhere else, whether that be with family, in a tropical country, or perhaps even on a different planet, is an idea which permeates many of our thoughts.

Unable to escape the reality unleashed by Covid-19, the conception of distancing ourselves from actuality, and instead waiting on the year to eventually come to a close, seems an all-too-idealistic approach to take.

After reading extensively Thomas More’s highly acclaimed travel narrative, Utopia, I came to realise that to live in a utopian world would be to bypass life, with the omission of its entailed experiences.

Although fictional, the beauty of Utopia as a literary work stems from More’s incredible ability to convince the reader that they are in fact inhabiting a non-fictional narrative. The reader is then immersed, compelled into thinking that the Utopian people inhabit this island which has the potential to exist in reality.

Touching on ethical implications, distaste towards war, and violence, More adopts a didactic tone with the purpose of distilling in his readers the ideal existence by which the human race should adhere to; an imitation of the real, without the atrocities.

A Utopian remains confined to one job, a single piece of land, and a uniform shared en masse by everyone residing on the island. Utopia exists as a place exempt from deprivation and illness, yet the plot cannot thicken any more than that. Everyone lives in peace and harmony. The end.

Whilst the prevalent motive behind such a text remains rooted in More’s political devotion to the state, the cognitive process of believing humans could inhabit a world without hardships is unfathomable. Why? Simply because a life without misfortune would mean a life without reward.

Covid-19 is irrefutably the cruellest circumstance that Generation Z has so far been presented with. Yet, it remains to be said, many generations before us have endured wars, food rations, and have feared for their families’ safety. The stories they can relay, and the wisdom bestowed upon them, all derive from their past tribulations. We look upon these people, our grandparents, and great-grandparents, with admiration. We listen to their accounts, unable to conceive of a world in such turmoil, since our generation has been blessed with access to extensive education and high-class healthcare.

2020 should not be a write-off. It’s all too easy, for our generation in particular, to view this pandemic as the worst thing that has happened. Yes, it has greatly impacted University and mental well-being. Yet, Covid-19 will be one of those life experiences that will make future generations want to hear our tales. Most importantly, this hardship will mould us into the sagacious characters we see in our grandparents.

Life’s lessons are born out of tragedies and obscurities. The Utopians don’t understand this, but we do. Covid-19 has taught our world not to take family and friends for granted, to respect the freedom we have, and above all else, to appreciate tomorrow.

Featured image from: The Guardian

2 thoughts on “More’s Utopia Tells Us Why 2020 Should Not Be a Write-Off

  1. An articulate and thought provoking piece offering an alternative view of our current circumstances that’s not steeped in doom and gloom. It’s good to be reminded to appreciate what we do have.

  2. An eloquent and ardent summary of how as the visionary poet songwriter Nick Drake once said ‘Darkness can give the brightest light… ’ more’s utopia is not in the end a utopia vis a vis the modern industrialised age but a pre soviet Marxist totalitarian nightmare of conformity because as Miss Lambert reminds us without life experience which includes suffering there is no life only a row of vacuous faced dummies resembling those in Trump’s entourage … would Keats have written what he did and declared ‘friendship stands highest on the forehead of humanity’ without his cruel illness ? Sagacious grandparents … the old have much to teach and in a ageist society they are often forced out of the path of the young by the snow plough of youthful arrogance and the consumer society which sees them as infertile ground for profit. How refreshing to see them exalted here then at the close of this humanistically imbued piece.

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