Utopian thought or Utopianism can be generally said to be unrealistic or be generally said to be unrealistic or irrelevant in real life. Some people tend to cast harsh criticisms on its frivolous results. In a sense, these indications mat be right, for utopianism does not have its underpinning in the real world and thus cannot manifest itself into a reality. Therefore, it may be said that utopianism is simply a hollow or negative idea.
Despite some negative aspects of utopianism, there exits its other aspects, (i. e. its positive ones). This means that these may be certain productive functions which it fulfills. When utopian philosophers such as Plato and Tomas. More talked of utopianism, they may have thought of its useful implications for the real world rather than its negative functions. Its positive functions have been already confirmed and proven in many studies. Rather, the problem is that most people, including scholars, failed to recognize this fact and have showed the inclination to ignore the importance of utopianism in the real world. Under this situation, I think it is necessary to make continuous efforts to let the positive aspects of utopianism be known. By doing so, even skeptics would admit, its useful results to some extent.
Let me discuss the positive aspects of utopianism. First of all, utopianism could work as an ideal standard to raise or ameliorate the present state to a higher level. It is a well-known fact that utopianism belong to the 'ought' world; which would account for the gap between it and reality. Of course, this gap could hamper utopianism from performing some useful functions. But in regards to the gap, it may function as the impetus to upgrade one's action and institution, for utopianism itself sets as ideal standard for stimulus and imitation. This point can be obviously found in the Korean doctrine that 'ought implies can(possibility)'. It does mean that 'ought' could be a reality at a certain point in the future. Following the doctrine, it may be said that a utopian idea would be transformed into a reality.
Secondly, utopianism may provide hopes or dreams to all the people who have been in states of difficulty and despair. These hopes or dreams obviously do not have realistic bases, but they enable us to be awaken human beings, who would pursue things arduously. Otherwise, think of the people without hopes or dream! Expectations and aspirations would not be found in their minds and attitudes. Their lives would become lethargic and dull. In this sense, utopianism is an important idea that is essential to our lives.
Finally, utopianism itself may work as the promoter of freedom. In the complex web of contemporary life we had been limited and influenced by the mixture of different environments; which makes it very difficult for us to develop into our own beings. In a sense, utopianism would lead us to the way in which we can foster our personalities and freedom without any hindrance. This can be not achieved in the real world but in the imaginary world. Even so, utopianism may be thought to be useful in that it could teach us the ways to make ourselves into the free beings through imagination or vision.
It may, therefore, be concluded that we should pursue utopianism on a continuous basis and recognize its importance in real life. We should all foster attitudes that enable utopianism to stimulate positive growth throughout various aspects of our lives.
By Prof. Chan Rai Cho
Dept. of Political Science College of Social Science
FACULTY EDITORIAL -
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