Utopias II

Utopias are literary and creative brainstorms, imaginative sketches of how the world and society ought to be. Reading early works such as More, Campanella, or Bacon, we smile in recognition of our own society’s obsession with contrivances and the preservation of wealth and production through power and authority. These authors had found literary devices to criticize contemporary values under the guise of presenting amusing speculative fiction. Putting the description of Utopia in the mouth of a Portuguese sailor, for example, gives More the freedom to say what he wants without the necessity of advocating his own ideal scenarios to be forced upon unenlightened society. This was the mistake of Plato, whose utopian Republic would depend upon power and authority to establish virtue, whereas the later utopias would not.