There have been many ways to describe it – Utopia, Shangri-la, Paradise, Heaven, Paris – the perfect life free from the yoke of corruption and evil.
Sir Thomas Moore’s 1516 Utopia is the most famous of these speculative life stories. The word utopia resembles the Greek words “no place”, “outopos”, and “good place,” “eutopos.” Moore sets out a vision of an ideal society and ideal state. It’s something of a satire on the search for perfection. Plato’s The Republic outlines the ideal society and its political system, too. My favorite is Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, which uses an anagram of “nowhere” as its title, another satire. Butler inverts illness and crime with punishment for the former and treatment for the latter (Hitler did just that with his euthanasia program against the mentally ill and elevation of criminals to positions of power).
I’m always looking for books, pamphlets and articles that mention utopia. Here’s one.
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The Bernini Of Cardboard Sculptures
About Steven Heller
Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.View all posts by Steven Heller →