Utopia as a Driving Power

In tough times, many people tend to become very pessimistic about their situations, especially when it seems like there is no end to the pain and suffering. This pessimistic thought does not help their situation, causing many to give up and resign to what they believe to be their bad fate. Arguably, it is much better for people to remain optimistic despite their situations. Through envisioning a hopeful future, they are more likely to remain strong and persistent within these tough times. However, although it certainly helps for people to remain optimistic during times of struggle, I do not believe that utopian thinking is the key to overcoming dystopia. Instead, I see it as a driving power that can be used to conquer dystopia.

Kim Stanley Robinson in Dystopias Now describes dystopias as a social fear and utopias as a social hope, and I do not think hope is strong enough to conquer our fears. We can hope that something bad in our lives goes away, but that hope can only take us so far. This hope should be used to drive us to physically take action to get rid of the bad. In 1984, for instance, Winston placed hope in the proles, the lower class who are barely even considered real citizens, to one day be able to overthrow his government known as the Party. This does not occur, however, because the proles do not care enough to take such action, and the Party ultimately wins at the end of the novel. Within many other dystopian novels, the protagonist is able to put an end to their dystopian societies through taking action and remaining persistent despite their circumstances. They did not sit idly and wait for some change to magically occur. Therefore, while utopian thinking can be used as a driving power to cause a person to take action, it is not necessarily the key to ending dystopia.

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