Whenever you describe a hypothetical Utopia – a society where there’s no crime, no hatred, no preventable illness, and meaningful work for everyone who wants it – someone will throw it back in your face.
They’ll tell you it’s impossible.
That it goes against human nature.
That there’ll always be idiots, greedy people and psychopaths trying to break the Utopia. That’s why Utopia literally means ‘no place’.
I say, those folks are quitters.
So what if human nature prevents it? Make it happen anyway.
“Ah,” says the cynic, “I’ve seen that movie before. You want to change human nature using drugs or something, making people smiling automatons at the expense of all their humanity.”
No, no, no, pendo.
I’m talking about Utopia, not a dystopia.
You don’t need to change human nature. In fact, if you find yourself dabbling in that, you’re veering into supervillain territory.
So… what, then?
If human nature makes Utopia impossible… and we’re not changing human nature… then Utopia is impossible, right?
Let’s try a little thought exercise, shall we?
Rewind the clock a smidge to caveman days. Life on the plains is rough, dangerous and full of struggle. Some folks live to the ‘old age’ of 50, but most never see half that.
The number one cause of death?
Physical injuries – either directly, through infections or through a disability that makes it harder to hunt.
Some of those injuries are from simple accidents. Many are from violence. Resources are scarce, so they often fight with other tribes and among themselves.
Then Ug shares his dreams of a Utopia – a world full of plenty, where no one needs to fight to get what they need. In fact, fighting prevents them from acquiring things like mates, because inflicting injuries gets someone exiled from the tribe. And since all tribes obey these rules, folks can live most of their lives completely free of physical dangers.
In this Utopia, folks regularly live to 50… and many decades beyond it.
Then Zug tells Ug he’s being naïve. His vision goes against human nature. How would these people feed themselves and fend off rivals? It doesn’t make sense…
Guess what, reader?
Most countries are now Ug’s Utopia.
Nowhere is free of violence, sure. But plenty of places don’t require you to fight for every meal.
It works even though human nature hasn’t changed one jot. Deep down, we’re still the untamed animals from our deepest pre-history.
But civilisation has changed the context.
Violence went from being the only strategy to an extremely unproductive one.
How do we create a real Utopia, then?
One that modern humans would look upon and say, yep, that’s a Utopia alright?
I have no idea.
Neither Ug nor Zug could imagine our world. If they were especially intelligent, they might understand the basic idea of agriculture…
But not how much it would change society in every way. And those changes would lead to changes, while led to our peaceful lives – by hunter-gatherer standards, at least.
A Utopia would be as different from our world, as ours is from Ug’s.
It’d be a place where greed, short-sightedness and cruelty never lead to anything worth having… where doing right by you and by others is the only way forward.
Take any human, with all their flaws, and stick them in that context, and they’ll keep your Utopia intact.
What does this have to do with mind training?
I don’t know.
Nothing, I guess… except any Utopia won’t arrive tomorrow, which means you need to handle the world as it is.
If you want to upgrade your thinking – whether that’s to quit smoking, alleviate anxiety or tap into clear, relaxed thinking – I don’t have many slots open for 2020. You can nab one of the last ones here: