30 August 2011

Default setting

"Utopia is in trouble these days. Many no longer believe that a better world, as opposed to a better life, is possible, and rhetoric of private well-being trumps public good, at least in the English speaking world. And yet the yearning remains ..." (A Paradise Built In Hell, Rebecca Solnit, 2009; page 18) 
The trouble with the building of utopias is that many of the entrenched powers around the world are bound and determined to defeat any honest attempt at arriving at an alternative to the status quo. They view utopian experiments not as innocent attempts at making the world a better place but as ideological threats to their hold on power. The ruling elites would like us to believe we have no alternative to their rule, nor that we could materially do better for ourselves than the present situation. Utopia puts the lie to both those predicates; and disasters show utopias up to be part of our natural, instinctual way of organizing community. 
"The map of utopias ... needs to open up a little more to contain disaster communities. These remarkable societies suggest that, just as many machines reset themselves to their original settings after a power outage, so human beings reset themselves to something altruistic, communitarian, resourceful, and imaginative after a disaster, that we revert to something we already know how to do. The possibility of paradise is already within us as a default setting." (A Paradise Built In Hell, Rebecca Solnit, 2009; page 18)

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