"Utopianism" (was Re: Desire & Scarcity)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Sat Jan 29 20:20:26 PST 2000


>>Why do you assume that Yoshie means sanitized and uncomplicated? I did
>>not read her post this way at all.
>Sanitized because her New Atlantis is undeservedly free of those emotions
>that confound us all, a partial list of which I gave. Uncomplicated because
>she doesn't account for how they might arise in our intimate relationships
>(which are not necessarily the same as the sexual relationships Yoshie
>mentions). Both sanitized and uncomplicated because she assumes everything
>will be blessed if only our economic relations are made perfect, a
>remarkably reductive view of humanity, I think.
>>And the idea of bending utopia to humanity sounds pretty undialectical to me.
>I think I agree with you, if we are talking about material needs, where we
>are, at least partially, at the mercy of nature, resources, etc. But if we
>are talking about psychological and emotional matters, then I don't see any
>reason to compromise on what we need in the creation of an ideal state; it
>would be dishonest to call it "utopia" if we did.

Communism does not mean a society of automatons, if that's what you are afraid of.

I don't have the assumptions that you attribute to me. It is you who imported words like "perfect," "free from emotions," etc. in this thread. Why do you think that advocating freedom from exploitation, gender oppression, etc. -- in other words, becoming free from the existing constraints -- is the same thing as trying to abolish "fear," "ecstasy," etc. (the affects that you mentioned) _altogether_? The former does not logically entail the latter, unless you think that _all_ fears we may experience, for instance, are caused by the constraints _specific_ to capitalism and oppressions.

Also, I don't think that "emotions" have been historically unchanging, so I don't think that they will remain the same after the end of class society, gender oppression, etc. For instance, much of "jealousy" that we experience today is created by market competition and gender oppression. So, I think it reasonable to infer that human beings might be less "jealous" of one another in a society where competition & sexism do not exist. Perhaps you think otherwise, but if so, you might explain why.

Anyhow, were I to try to fully "account for how they [emotions that confound us] might arise in our intimate relationships" in a communist society, I would indeed fall into utopianism. I cannot predict every detail of a communist society that may be possible, and neither can anyone. To begin with, there is no need to "account for" the exact state of "emotions" in the future, communist or otherwise.


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