I’m unable to recall how I came across The Thought Pad, a blog written by Tanya Singhal. But, I’m glad I did. And I’ve been a regular reader for a while now. Ms. Singhal is a Ph.D. student now in Europe, after finishing her master’s program in the United States. She writes about a lot of things, but mostly chronicles life as a graduate student. It might be just a ‘teeny weeny blog’ as she describes it. But, there’s some high quality writing on there. I have a pretty good feeling that we’re seeing an author in the making. Check out The Thought Pad, subscribe or follow or whatever it is that you normally do when you find a great blog. I asked Tanya if she’d write a piece for What Ho! and she did. And, here it is. A guest post from Tanya Singhal on the impracticality of a Utopian fantasy.
Is a perfect society possible?
Can a perfect society exist? Is the existence of a flawless society of humans possible? Well, I ain’t got any frikkin’ ideah.
So after reading some of the works of 20th century on such political matters (Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451), all of them being set in a futuristic ‘deemed-to-be-perfect’ societies, I wondered and wondered and wondered at every page I turned. Not only did they remind me of Swift’s Gulliver Travels (the work which I think is the true daddy of them all in this aspect), they made me ask myself the question that I very obscenely pasted into the title of this post.
My answer, to that, would prolly begin by asking the definition of “perfect”. Does perfect mean that the happiness index is highest? Or does it mean that the rate of progress in science or art is highest? Because, my humble and idle reader, you must clearly see, that “meanings” of “perfect” are quite contrary to other in terms of parallel sustenance. ‘Perfect’ being a very mean word on its own. When we’re all happy, nobody would bother progressing, and when we’re progressive, all of us won’t be equally happy. There.
But what I just said, is nothing new. We all know that and also that, that I merely dodged the question (that I myself posed in the first place) in the most hideous and pedantic manner. To answer now, I’d say, it’s really hard to have a perfect society. At least the kind of society in which perfect means the way I see it. And the way I see it, “perfect” means so much and encompasses that very much, that by logic, it defeats perfection itself, reaches a state beyond perfection, which I call the perfect-perfection, and so it becomes unattainable, in fact, rather unthinkable.
On our road to perfection, we might begin by dissolving differences, by diluting the variations of color, caste, creed, language – which I believe are foremost in requirements (if there were any) but then how formless or bland that society would be? How plaintive would be the morphology of such a society which has no differences or shades or nuances? But then, in our pursuit of those differences, we pose the risk of losing equality. And even if we do manage to bring everything to equality, can we really control conditioning (or bringing up of a human) so flawlessly that it achieves our set standards and goals? And if we do, where are we headed? To a brave new world? Oh Lord! Oh Ford!
And so I’d stop the rant, and recommend Thomas More’s Utopia for further reading if you really cared and didn’t hit the little cross on the top right hand corner so far. For, Utopia is a perfect place and a place that, literally, doesn’t exist.
The author, Tanya Singhal, is a Ph.D. student in Science, and blogs at The Thought Pad