Does utopianism lead to dystopia?

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Concepts such as utopianism and dystopias are becoming more popular day after day. The creation and development of massive societies has led to a new trend: the obsession for creating the perfect government, a goal that could end up being just the opposite: a dystopia.

Since the 19th century, this ideal started to be put into practice in society itself, which led to discrimination because as we are different from each other, not everyone can fit within the same boundaries. This situation happened in many of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century: first focused on perfection, then obsessed with it, and everyone or everything that was outside of what they had established had to disappear in order to help and keep society’s perfection: a “justified massacre”.

In conclusion, the obsession with utopianism and perfection can lead to a dystopia due to an extreme or radical concept of discrimination between the ones who fit and the ones who do not. Many novels have shown us their reality: good can turn into bad, only a thin veil keeps them apart.

Clara E.

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What is perfect? This has to be the first question we should ask ourselves before thinking of the idea of a utopian society, and chances are we understand that it is not as simple as it seems, and what is more, there are many things that do not play in favor of creating a perfect future society.

First things first, we should admit the idea of diversity of opinions. If we ask citizens to answer the question ‘what is perfect?’ we will find out that there are multiple opinions and points of view, so it is very hard to build a new society consisting of all those different ideas and regulations, it would lead to many controversial problems.

Secondly, as Descartes and Michael Shermer said as well, there is no way of creating something perfect starting from an imperfect thing. That means that in case we tried to create a perfect utopian society it would not be possible because humans are not perfect themselves.

Finally, the difficulty of creating a utopian future relies on future generations, that means, if humans around the world made a deal, this would not include future generations that could not think the same and cause problems.

In conclusion, the idea of a utopian world would probably lead to a dystopia because it is very difficult to blend a large variety of opinions in only one model of future society, so this would take us to a dystopian one.

Claudia M.

In times of crisis, desperate people always look for ideals that ensure they can take society to a perfect state where all their problems are gone. These theories look perfect, until people realize they have no practical basis and they are just nonsense giving citizens a false hope.

As an example it happened in 1930s Germany, where Hitler promised his country that all their problems would be solved and they would be a great nation again. We all know what the results of this idealistic speech were: millions of deaths had to be caused to take utopian ideas into action.

But, what happens when this kind of ideas appear in a stable, democratic society? Citizens are not in the aforementioned situation, so they are not desperate and are able to use their minds and realize how dangerous these ideas can be and that they can lead to a dystopia. We are responsible for how our society evolves.

Utopian ideas can only lead to a dystopian society if we let them get the power, so if we are intelligent enough -which we are, thanks to our experience- to detect ideals with no basis at the right moment, we should be ready to eradicate them and keep our democracy safe.

Jorge S.

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Utopias are idealized concepts of society. They consist of a theoretical perfect world where everyone is happy. But when those ideas have been put into practice, the result was not close to the perfection. In the 20th century totalitarian movements had the intention to make perfect states come true, and in the end, those regimes provoked lots of deaths. With that context, can we think utopias are possible?

In today’s society, we give great value to free speech and freedom. In a utopia the ruler knows what is right and what is wrong so anyone opposing the government is censored and punished because he is promoting “hate speech” against the central power and its utopian idea. Also, when the government knows what is good and what is not they have no limits and they may violate the fundamental rights of the citizens.

In conclusion, in today’s democratic societies politicians are using those utopian ideas to get more representation, and they link dystopias with their opponents’ views. That is populism making society radicalized.

Ángel C.

Visions of the (distant?) future

Is humanity doomed to failure? Or can we win the battle against our own future? The speculations about humankind’s fate vary depending on the subjectivity of he who tries to find an answer, because being objective towards such a controversial topic is a really difficult task. It is obvious that everyone -except for maybe those “anti-systems” who claim not to care about society at all- tends to imagine a future in which humans have approached themselves towards a utopia rather than a dystopia, and from my point of view, I believe and hope it will be that way.

In thirty years from now, society will have evolved in a number of ways. On one hand, from the political point of view, underdeveloped countries will be greatly affected by climate change fed by the industrialized ones over the years. For that reason people will start riots and revolutions, protesting against their conditions and demanding their leaders to do something. Meanwhile, the advanced societies will be led by more specialized and conscious leaders, who will be the ones in charge of solving this and more problems at a global level.

In the second place, the global economy will have crashed at least once more as it did in 2008, but now because of the climate crisis and the effect of low-cost products. Finally, in terms of technology, society will have reached incredible levels, which will help humans to colonize planets and expand all over our Solar System, with visionaries like multi-millionaire Elon Musk up front.

In conclusion, I think that in thirty years from now, our society will have tremendously changed, and we will have to face new problems, as well as enjoy new commodities and brighter opportunities offered by technology.

Víctor A.

We have all wondered about what life would be like in 2050. It is in our nature to think about what is coming next. Truth be told: the future terrifies us, especially with the rise of AI and the evolution of climate change, which is provoking social and economic inequalities between countries. In this essay, I will discuss from my perspective how I see the world about thirty years from now.

Firstly, in terms of politics, traditional politicians who refuse to comment publicly on the current affairs that concern the population will rule our societies in 2050. Citizens will only be able to know certain information and their lives will be monitorized by the government. In other words, we will live in oligarchies.

Regarding society and technology, truly automatized technological devices are yet to come. In my opinion, AI will be highly developed: scientists will create genetically-modified humans and robots will start taking our jobs, which will lead to a tsunami of unemployment and a critical crisis.

Even though 2050 is far away, if we want to live in a society that does not feel like Orwell’s 1984, we should start taking some initiatives that prevent catastrophes from happening. Instead of trying to develop Artificial Intelligence, we could use genetic engineering to prevent diseases or produce medicines and vaccines. Moreover, fighting climate change will also reduce the possibilities of catastrophes from happening.

Carlota G.

Now that 2020 has begun and we are almost near the first quarter of the 21st century, we should think about our future taking into account which is the situation of our current world.

First of all, political correctness will have considerably increased to the point that no jokes or even thoughts will be expressed freely.

Also, corrupted systems will rule all over the world, in which police and military forces will have an alliance with the state and in which unions will hold the power. There are examples like these in countries like Brazil, Colombia or Bolivia.

And third, equality will be reduced in legal terms, as it is happening with the anti-democratic domestic violence law, which attempts against one of the main human rights: presumption of innocence.

So, I can conclude that our future is not far from a dystopia. The reason is that we are building its foundations today. Dystopian futures are a reflection of our current fears.

Santiago P.

Banning disturbing books? Not my thing.

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Currently all books are allowed. If you are a writer, you can write about whatever you want, and this makes society feel uncomfortable with some texts. This is the case of psychologically disturbing books like American Psycho or The Silence of the Lambs. Should this type of books be banned?

From my point of view, society should have an open mind, I mean, you cannot blame all that makes you feel uncomfortable, you should make an effort and keep going. Because of that, I don´t think that this type of books should be banned. There are people that like these books and they have the right to read them. At the same time, there are people who like writing these novels to express their own feelings, and we are nobody to say who can’t use their freedom. From my point of view, the problem is not in any book, the problem is in the people who can’t assume that there are other people who may feel identified with those books.

To conclude, society has a problem and I’m including myself in it, we should stop trying to ban everything that make us feel uncomfortable.

Lucas G.

The ‘Big Five’ and career choice

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Describing one´s personality is always a difficult task. We normally tend to describe ourselves with the best qualities, trying to tell that we have a great personality. For that reason, the “Big Five” are the five traits that we have to take into account in order to describe ourselves in an honest and true way, which will help us define our path as citizens.

One of the main aspects in which the “Big Five” plays a big role in our lives is the decision of what career we should choose. In my case, I want to study international business, a degree in which aspects such as extroversion and agreeableness are very well rated. These two traits are not specially some of my biggest personality points, but I’m sure I can work on them if that career is the one that I really want.

On the other hand, other aspects like conscientiousness and maybe openness define me more, because I like following a routine and being consistent in what I do, and also, being creative and exposing ideas of my own. Finally, neuroticism is not a trait that appears in my personality because I do not externalize my emotions too much, nor my nerves.

If we base our career selection on our personality traits, we´ll discover that maybe we should not apply for the career we had in mind because it´s not what we really want in our future. However, people can change and it´s up to them to decide what they want to become. The sooner they choose, the easier will be to change and to define the person they want to be, because the who they are today will play a big part in who they will be tomorrow.

Víctor A.

I took a lot of tests about two years ago to help me narrow down my career choices that ranged from music to political science. These tests measured skills, and mixed them with a series of personal questions. As it turns out, personality may have an impact on career choice. This is where the Big Five personality traits come in.

                I would define my personality as mostly open, agreeable, and conscientious. On the other hand, my current field of interest is business and administration. Moreover, I would specialize in Music/Entertainment Business for a Master’s Degree. This would be the mix between my creative and my analytical part. I believe it is due to my openness, which enables me to share my wide range of interests with my methodological abilities.

                Regardless of what role personality may have in career choice, or its relation with individual skills, I believe that passion should be our main lead to our future. Whether I study Business of Political Science, I know that if I follow my passion, I will end up where I want to be.

Carlos G.

What would I like to study? Marine Biologist! However I may not match the “Big Five” study that says that most science students are agreeable and conscientious. What if I don’t match all those characteristics? Am I making a bad choice?

     If I had to describe myself I would say that I am sociable, agreeable, creative, focused and not always very organised. Is that enough to be a marine biologist? As  for  the “Big Five” study, science students are trustworthy and selfless, but also organised, focused and consistent: traits that do not really match mine. And that’s not a problem because I am completely sure of what I want to be. And that’s exactly what Dr.Vedel explained in her study: the results should only be used for the educational community to help people who aren’t sure of their choice. So, even if my charcteristics aren’t similar to what this study expects, nobody could tell me what to do because that’s what makes me happy.

     In conclusion, I think that having a large variety of personality traits in a specific career could be a positive thing since it welcomes different opinions and maybe better results.

Rose-Hanna Ch.

Time travel applications

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Cut from The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960)

We all like to wonder if we’d prefer to visit the future or go back in time to change some events and regrets of our past. But what if I told you time travel actually exists? What would you like to see then: the past or the future? What applications would it have in our society? Would life be better or worse? Therefore, in the present essay I will explain some of the benefits time travelling could provide to improve our lifestyle if it was actually possible.

Firstly, I would start by saying that if travelling back and forwards through time existed, oncologists could go to the future to the moment when humans have found out the cure for cancer as well as the cure for other diseases, and come back with the formulas. The reason being is that we could start developing the cure in the present day and avoid millions of deaths.

On the other hand, if time travel was possible, we could go to the future to see if there is an armed conflict, like for instance World War III, or to see a major catastrophe that causes some transcendental consequences. For example, the disappearance of Australia due to several tsunamis. That way, we could discover the causes that might provoke those events and avoid their beginnings in the present to prevent them from happening in the future.

In conclusion, I would like to end by saying that travelling through time may have some positive consequences in our current life and it could prevent some disasters from happening in the future. That is why it is so important we encourage scientists to figure out the accurate method we need to be able to go backwards and forwards through time.

Carlota G.

Is there anything more curious than trying to know what is going to be next? What would have happened if I had chosen the other option of the text? Our present and probably our future are determined by our actions; what if we could have changed our current situation by going back in time and re-do it in a different way? Time traveling would open us the door to the “second possibilities” and even know if they are useless or not if destiny exists.

First of all, as I have said before, if we could travel in time most of us would decide to change the mistakes in our lives, thinking that this could provoke another ending in many situations, even if we don’t know if that is true.

Also, we could be able to learn with more precision what happened in world history, know everything about millions of years of evolution, or even find the way of how Earth was created. In fact, we could create a bunch of theories that could explain our present, ways to unlock the truths behind the human being.

In conclusion, if we could travel in time we could be able to change our past events, re-create our world and existence or even prove if destiny exists. For the moment we must wait to see if our beliefs are true or wrong.

Clara E.

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Time travel simulation through hypohetical wormholes

Time travel is something that everybody in this planet has wished to exist for different reasons. Some of us want to go back in time to change something that happened to us a while ago, and others just would love to travel whenever so they can kill the curiosity of what the ancient times were like or how the world will be destroyed.

Obviously, the possibility of time travel would lead humankind to an era of infinite knowledge and development, or at least that’s what we might think at first. Whenever there is a jump to the past or the future, the original timeline is never modified, but a new reality is created. So, for example, if time travel was publicly allowed, it would be a chaos and millions of new realities would be created.

Also, once the jump was made, there would be no coming back to our original reality. You’d get trapped in the timeline you created. You could keep time travelling and creating new versions of reality, but you wouldn’t be able to go back where you came from.

So, from my perspective, time travelling, if ever created, would be just a useless instrument for humankind, because even though someone could go back in time to discover its mysteries, the impossibility to go back to the original timeline wouldn’t allow the others to know what the past is like. If, on the other hand, it was possible for time travelers to go back, that would make an enormous difference.

In conclusion, there are a lot of factors that turn time travel into a nightmare, instead of a beautiful dream. Nowadays, we should worry about real problems like starvation or global wars and, when better days come, we can keep trying to make everybody’s dream come true.

Jorge S.

Nowadays, the idea of time travel might seem impossible for the vast majority of us. But, if our society had the opportunity to travel through time, it would be kind of beneficial for us. In this text, I will comment the different possible applications of time travel -if it did exist.

First of all, surgery would be a very important measure to use with time travel due to the fact that surgeons would have the chance to prevent the death of a patient if the operation goes wrong the first time, so they would have another opportunity. In addition, the number of dead people due to a bad surgery would decrease if they applied this idea.

Moreover, another intelligent and fascinating use of time travel could be the idea of interfering in extreme events like murders, car accidents, a forest fire, preventing some people´s suicide, etc. If we could have the chance to move back and stop those difficult situations, human misery and disaster would be paralyzed and solved.

In conclusion, if humanity could travel in time, applications such as surgery control, accident prevention and helping people that have to deal with complex situations would be great. That way, everybody could prevent their own death if it was caused by an accident.

Amparo S.

Beloved

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“Beloved” is a 1987 novel regarded as African-American author Toni Morrison’s masterpiece. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award and, on top of that, Morrison won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

“Beloved” tells the story of an African-American woman, Sethe, who escapes slavery after the American Civil War by moving to Ohio, and it was inspired by the real-life story of Margaret Garner. The book is filled with ghosts. It’s dedicated to the “Sixty million or more” ghosts of black slaves, but there’s also the ghost of Sethe’s baby girl, Beloved, whom she killed, which haunted the house ever since.

The story starts with Sethe and her daughter Denver living in 124 Bluestone Road in Cincinatti, Ohio. The grandmother, Baby Suggs, had died a couple of months after Sethe’s sons had fled, scared by Beloved.

One night, Sethe encounters Paul D, a man she knew from their days at the plantation called “Sweet Home”. They seem really pleased to see each other and start having relations, making Denver feel sad and lonely. They start building a life together until one day an ill-looking young woman shows up. Her name: Beloved. Sethe lets her stay in her house but something feels off. After a while, Beloved starts acting as she owns the place and everyone in it, making Sethe feel small and powerless, and making Paul D so uncomfortable that he leaves the house. Denver decides to take action, so she goes out to the town, talks to a bunch of black men and they go kick Beloved out. After this, Paul D acts as if nothing had happened and he returns to live at 124.

No one knows who Beloved is, there’s actually plenty of theories surrounding her. Nevertheless, she seems to be a symbol rather than an actual person, because of what she means to each of the characters. In general, she represents the hardships black people had to deal with, specially the memories of pain, death and torture. When Beloved shows up at 124 she brings back all the buried horrors of Paul D and Sethe’s time at Sweet Home. She makes Paul D feel like a rag doll when she has sex with her, and she makes Sethe feel chained again. Sethe had become so full of hatred for the racist slave owners and so full of love and regret for killing her daughter that she starts acting as if she wasn’t good enough for forgiveness.

In conclusion, “Beloved” is a beautifully written, raw depiction of the reality black people have had to face, and who live with the scars of a chained past. Stories like this should be more present in society and the media, especially in today’s world, with all the conversations about race that have been coming up.

Silvia F.

 

Back to birth

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Phylogenetic tree of life

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel in time? Have you ever fantasized about a certain historical period you’d like to visit?  I have and while I thought about it I came up with some questions. Firstly, would I like to travel to the past or to the future? Taking into account there are not historical periods in the future (yet) and the fact that it would most likely change the present, I discarded that option. Now, if I were to go back in time, what period would I like to visit? I finally came up with an answer: I wouldn’t go to a historical period as we know them. I’d go watch the origin of life.

As fascinated as this would be, I’d obviously have to be protected from the environment and I would plan on staying. Once there I would finally be able to answer what’s arguably science greatest question: how did life originate? Did it start spontaneously with the primordial soup, as the current official theory claims? Or rather, did it come to Earth from outer space? If so, did it happen naturally, or was it sent here? By whom? Maybe it was something else we can’t even imagine? Being able to know this would change our present and future forever in ways we can’t even conceive.

In conclusion, I think the most interesting moment in history, besides the Big Bang, would be the origin of life on planet Earth, as we humans would finally be able to understand where we came from. Or would we?

Silvia F.

The crazy years between the wars

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Aftershow party in Paris, 1920s

After World War I, I mean, in the 1920s came what we call the “The Crazy Years”. A historical period where people had different thoughts about life, where people wanted to think about something else than the War. During this period I would like to be in Paris, where “The Crazy Years” or “Les Années Folles” mainly took place.

What happened in those years? Well, everything that has a connection with happiness and freedom. In that period, people did not want to waste their life anymore, which means that they wanted to have fun, to enjoy. Because of the thousands of men that died in the war, women had to learn to become more independent. So after World War I their independence increased even more, they started to wear short skirts, something that they couldn’t do before. Those years had a huge impact on the fashion world: new ideas came out, all related with freedom, colors and fun. Many cabarets opened and women started to smoke as a new style and a sign of independence too.

We could say that those years were like a break, a moment of happiness and creativity between both wars. A period where people could regenerate and forget all the horrors they had seen during this war that France had won.

So it would be from 1920 to 1929 the historical period that has always fascinated me, because of the way they handled the situation and the way they celebrated their victory.

Rose-Hanna Ch.

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Times Square in New York city, 1920s

Nowadays we see on TV or books characters that travel back in time. And this made me ask this question to myself: ‘when’ would I go to if time travels were real?

If I could travel to one historical period or event I would choose New York in the 20´s, the period in which `The Great Gatsby´ is set. I would travel there because I love that period, the people went partying every day, they spent large amounts of money in all they did and they were always dressed fashionably. In that period the USA was on top of the world and NY city was the first city in the country. I would like to live there, with no economic problems, being rich in a period of extravaganza.

Probably if a lived there I would make the best parties in the world. I would spend incredible amounts of money in those parties and all I would do to earn money is to buy and sell bonds in Wall Street.

To conclude, if I could choose one period in history to visit, I would really like to travel back to New York in the 20´s, to be a rich and popular man like Gatsby.

Lucas G.

Magic at Wembley Stadium

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Queen’s performance at the Live Aid Concert in 1985

For what I know about time travelling machines, and it’s not so much more than an image of an old Delorian, is that out of fiction books and movies, it hasn’t been created yet. For the moment scientists haven’t found the way to travel in time, but I keep the hope that one day before I die I can travel to the past, even only once, to the Live Aid Concert at the Wembley Stadium.

Some would have preferred other historical events, but this concert is one of the most important and famous of the last years of the 20th Century. It was held for humanitarian reasons, and one of the things I appreciate the most is solidarity, which united millions of people through music, so I’d like to feel the emotion it generated.

On the other hand, the most important reason for me to go to that specific Wembley Stadium concert is that it was the last remarkable show that Freddie Mercury -the vocalist of the music band Queen- performed before his death. He knew he had AIDS and that he was going to die sooner or later, so he gave his soul in this concert. I’d like to feel that emotion too because Queen is one of my favorite music bands and Freddie Mercury was their spirit. He is one of the artists I wish was still alive (besides Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and The Beatles) so it would be a dream come true.

And the last fact that makes this event the one that I’d want to travel to is that other artists that I like so much such as Elton John were also acting at the Live Aid Concert. That makes the perfect combination for me to choose that event, just to see how good music and good causes unite people, and the magic they can create.

Patricia M.

Somehow, music has always been part of our lives in one way or another. There is always a song, a band or a producer that we remember for ever. In my case Queen and Dire Straits are some of those. I’ve been listening to them since I was 2 years old, and that is why I would like to witness the Live Aid concert, one of the main landmarks in modern music history.

I can say this thanks to my father, who is as much a fan of those groups as I am, and that is why I was raised next to all the songs that he listened to. In fact, one of the first songs I remember listening to was “Bohemian Rhapsody”. And apart from the feelings that I have for that music, I think that the Live Aid Concert means a lot for modern culture, having one of the most powerful and emotional performances of Freddie Mercury and one of Mark Knopfler’s legendary guitar solos.

So, in conclusion, this concert means a lot to me and to history, and that is why everyone that regards themselves as a 70’s – 80’s rock fan needs to witness it, at least on video.

Ismael C.

Back to the Viking times

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Arrival of the Vikings in America (Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 1816-1868)

Imagine waking up at 7:00 AM taking a sword and a helmet and getting on a boat with all your tribe members to conquer the kingdom of Wessex. That is what a Viking’s normal day would look like. If I could travel back in time, I would travel to the Viking era because of the following reasons.

First of all, in my opinion, the Vikings were one of the most powerful tribes because of their strength and their capacity to avoid the fear of death, and that’s one of the main reasons why I chose them. In the second place, most of their traditions were really interesting, like going hunting alone for years, burning their dead tribe members and leaving them on a boat until they sank, sacrificing animals and humans for their gods in amazing ceremonies… In the third place, learning all the history of the Viking gods narrated by the tribe’s shaman must have been an exciting experience. Finally, I would  have liked to experiment a Viking conquest against the English Kingdom, but of course watching and not fighting!

In conclusion, the Viking era is one of the greatest periods in history and we should try to find out how time traveling works just to visit periods like this and revive their amazing experiences.

Pablo M.