Friday, May 4, 2012

Utopia is a Massage and a Manicure

by Kristina Wright

I don't think I've ever read a utopian story. I know I haven't written one. I think any story that starts out as a utopia certainly can't finish that way-- it wouldn't be much of a story, would it? I mean, when conflict is at the heart of writing fiction and you write a story that is essentially about the perfect world, well to introduce conflict would be to undermine the utopian theme and create... dystopia. Right?

The life we dream of-- the one we desire-- is the utopia. No one dreams of having conflict and drama and strife in their lives. Okay, maybe some people do. We all know drama queens who thrive on stirring up trouble-- or get bored and depressed if there isn't something to whine and bitch about in their own lives-- but for the most part, we desire that tranquil, happy world of our fantasies. The world where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

That world doesn't exist. Of course, we know that. Of course, we are aware of it every single day when we're faced with the imperfections of our world on both a personal and global level. No matter how wonderful your life (and I will say that mine is pretty damned terrific), there are things that make it less than perfect. Not enough sleep, aches and pains, relationship issues, loved ones who are sick or sad or in need, traffic, spoiled milk, rudeness at the DMV. Life is wonderful-- and then you walk out the door and get smacked in the head by a hanging plant and bitten by a mosquito before you even get in your car.

But those are the small details of life and would certainly exist in a utopia, as well. Right? So life would never, could never, be perfect. But the bigger stuff-- war and disease and famine and homelessness and racism and sexism and global warming-- wouldn't it be lovely if we didn't have to deal with any of those? Of course it would. I would want to live in a world like that. Only I suspect that if all the big issues were resolved we would discover other issues that would still prevent our world from being perfect. And who would determine whether it was a utopia? Could we ever all possibly agree on every aspect of our world? Would we want to?

It's an imperfect world and for now it's the only one we've got. When I Google "utopia" what comes up are the names of several day spas. I guess we start small and hope for the best, huh?


  1. And in the world I live in, I can get a massage and a manicure at any of a dozen places within walking distance, for $20 or less...!

    Utopia and I didn't even know it!

  2. Hi Kristina

    When I think of the big stuff problems, war and famine and so on, I wonder what our species would be like in a world without conflict. It would change us in ways I can;t imagine.



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