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Utopian Quotes

"Human history has been recorded as a succession of wars and changing empires. But a ray of hope has been carried forth throughout the ages by dreamers who have envisioned a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. The Magna Carta, the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were quantum leaps forward in our collective quest for a better world. We still have far to go, but we can help create that better world countless dreamers have imagined, wished for and endeavored to make come true. Every moment has brought us to this moment. We are the ones we've been waiting for to manifest our shared peacetopian dream."
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

"The first arresting fact about the Utopians is that they were practical enough to try putting their ideas to the test of fact. Owing to the greater opportunities offered by a New Country, many of these trials were made in the United States. The familiar names of Brookfarm, New Hope, New Harmony, New Enterprise, record these efforts, and the personalities of Hawthorne, Horace Greeley, Ripley, Albert Brisbane, Henry James Sr., adorn a movement of ideas which continue to live, though in much modified form, in the modern world. Contrary to usual belief, the actual settlements did not all come to an end from incompetence or quarrels or unworkability. Some even grew rich and became the object of their nonsocialized neighbors' envy….."
-- Jacques Barzun

When we all relate to each other as we would like to receive if our roles are reversed, we move closer to utopia. Every one of us can bring this closer, starting now. This includes how we relate to our own family, our neighbors and how we use our wealth and opportunities to help entire nations that lack our advantages.
-- Bill Blackman

"I don't wish to defend everything that has been done in the name of utopia. But I think that many of the attacks misconceive its nature and function. As I have tried to suggest, utopia is not mainly about providing detailed blueprints for social reconstruction. Its concern with ends is about making us think about possible worlds. It is about inventing and imagining worlds for our contemplation and delight. It opens up our minds to the possibilities of the human condition. It is this that we most seem to need at the present time. There are doomsters enough-though they have their part to play, like the prophets of old, warning and admonishing. There are also our latter-day millenarians, somewhat jaded in their outlook on the world, and rather prepared to settle for a quiet life and the idle ticking-over of the engine of history. Without wishing to bang the inspiration drum too loudly, this hardly seems enough."
-- Malcolm Bull

"If our modern world should be able to recapture this power, the earth's natural resources and web of life would not be irrevocably wasted within the Twentieth century…..True democracy founded in neighborhoods and reaching over the world become the realized heaven on earth. And living peace, not just an interlude between wars, would be born and would last through the ages."
-- John Collier

"Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven, and hell a fable.
-- Charles Caleb Colton (1825)

When the perfect order prevails, the world is like a home shared by all. Leaders are capable and virtuous. Everyone loves and respects their own parents and children as well as the parents and children of others. The old are cared for, adults have jobs, children are nourished and educated. There is a means of support for all those who are disabled or find themselves alone in the world. Everyone has an appropriate role to play in the family and society. Devotion to public duty leaves no place for idleness. Scheming for ill gain is unknown. Sharing displaces selfishness and materialism.
-- Confucius

"Our ulterior aim is nothing less than Heaven on Earth,-the conversion of this globe, now exhaling pestilential vapors and possessed by unnatural climates, into the abode of beauty and health, and the restitution to humanity of the Divine Image, now so long lost and forgotten."
-- Charles Dana (Mar 7 1844)

"I don't wish to defend everything that has been done in the name of Utopia. But I think many of the attacks misconceive its nature and function. As I have tried to suggest, utopia is not mainly about providing detailed blueprints for social reconstruction. Its concern with ends is about making us think about possible worlds. It is about inventing and imagining worlds for our contemplation and delight. It opens up our minds to the possibilities of the human condition."
-- Hans Magnus Enzenberger

"Without the Utopians of other times, men would still live in caves, miserable and naked. It was Utopians who traced the lines of the first City…..Out of generous dreams come beneficial realities. Utopia is the principle of all progress, and the essay into a better future."
-- Anatole France

 

* "The world is now too dangerous for anything less than utopia.
-- R. Buckminster Fuller

Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before -- that we now have the option for all humanity to make it successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Every daring attempt to make a great change in existing conditions, every lofty vision of new possibilities for the human race, has been labeled Utopian.
-- Emma Goldman
"Anti-utopianism continues to suffuse our culture. Conventional as well as scholarly opinion posits that utopia spells concentration camps and that utopians secretly dream of being prison guards. Robert Conquest, a leading chronicler of the Soviet terror, is lauded by Gertrude Himmelfarb for telling the truth about "totalitarianism and utopianism" in his latest book Reflections on a ravaged Century. And the final chapter of The Soviet Tragedy, by Martin Malia, another leading Soviet historian, is tellingly entitled 'The Perverse Logic of Utopia," Indeed, we now think of utopian idealism as little more than prelude to totalitarian murder. At best, an expression of utopian convictions will call forth a sneer from historians and social scientists. In the nineteenth century the anticipation of a future society of peace and equality was common; now it is almost extinct. Today few imagine that society can be fundamentally improved, and those who do are seen as at best deluded, at worst threatening."
-- Lewis Lapham

* "Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
and the world will be as one."
-- John Lennon

Nothing we do has the quickness, the sureness, the deep intelligence living at peace would have.
-- Denise Levertov

"The disappearance of utopia brings about a static state of affairs in which man himself becomes no more than a thing. We would then be faced with the greatest paradox imaginable….After a long, torturous, but heroic development, just at the highest stage of awareness, when history is ceasing to be blind fate, and is becoming more and more man's own creation, with the relinquishment of utopia, man would lose his will to shape history and therewith his ability to understand it."
-- Mannheim

 

"TV is sometimes accused of encouraging fantasies. Its real problem, though, is that it encourages-enforces, almost-a brute realism. It is anti-Utopian in the extreme. We're discouraged from thinking that, except for a few new products, there might be a better way of doing things."
-- Bill McKibben

 
In Utopia, where every man has a right to everything, they all know that if care is taken to keep the public stores full, no private man can want anything; for among them there is no unequal distribution, so that no man is poor, none in necessity; and though no man has anything, yet they are all rich; for what can make a man so rich as to lead a serene and cheerful life, free from anxieties.
- Thomas More

 

"It is no longer enough to point out what we don't like, we have to work out 'What sort of society do we want?"
-- Sheila Rowbotham

"….This world needs Utopias as it needs fairy stories. It does not matter so much where we are going, as long as we are making consciously for some definite goal. And a Utopia, however strange or fanciful, is the only possible beacon upon the uncharted seas of the distant future."
-- Hendrik Willem Van Loon

 

Our business here is to be Utopian, to make vivid and credible, if we can, first this facet and then that, of an imaginary whole and happy world. -- H.G. Wells

"The Utopia of a modern dreamer must needs differ in one fundamental aspect from the Nowheres and Utopias men planned before Darwin quickened the thought of the world. Those were all perfect and static States, a balance of happiness won for ever against the forces of unrest and disorder that inhere in things. One beheld a healthy and simple generation enjoying the fruits of the earth in an atmosphere of virtue and happiness, to be followed by other virtuous happy, and entirely similar generations until the Gods grew weary. Change and development were damned back by invincible dams for ever. But the Modern Utopia must be not static but kinetic, must shape not as a permanent state but as a hopeful sage leading to a long ascent of stages." -- H.G. Wells

 

"Widely spaced earth-sheltered towns offer sweeping views over the plains. High-speed trains link the communities. Food is grown in the region. Bikeways are everywhere. Nonpolluting hydrogen powers all vehicles. Sunlight and wind generate the hydrogen. Note the earth-covered bridges, the continuous window bands, the wind machines across the farmlands. In this new America, everything is reused, recycled, conserved."
-- Malcolm Wells

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