By Don Vande Krol
If Copiosis is not Utopia, then why should we settle for it? Why not strive for Utopia? You ask if I can imagine a nation in which there are no problems? Well, yes, I can. All I have to do is imagine some problem like pollution, or crime, or poverty and then exclude those problems in my imagined nation (imagination). I mean really … crime does not HAVE TO EXIST, does it?
If so, wouldn’t it exist in all places and circumstances? But it doesn’t does it? If it did, would we have a term for it? Of what use are words if they don’t separate our different experiences of the world? If there were no differences in regards to crime in the world, there would be no difference between crime and the world. We would be living in a crime/world, but why would we need to add the word ‘crime’ to our description of the world? ‘Crime’ would be a term without a definition.
Would we be able to measure the amount of crime committed in an area? Don’t we make a separation between criminal acts and non-criminal? If crime MUST EXIST, then there can be no instance where crime does not exist; it COULD NOT BE that there are some places or instances where crime exists and other places and instances where it does not. But if crime is found here and not there, there must be something different about the conditions between the two places or instances where crime either exists or does not exist. The existence of crime itself must be CONTINGENT (is possible to both exist and not exist) rather than NECESSARY (not possible to not exist). And if the conditions of one place are such that crime occurs, and such that in another place crime does not occur, those conditions must also be contingent, existing in one place or instance, but not in all places or instances.
So, there! I’ve just proved, if the argument above is applied to all ‘problems’, that utopia is possible; that it can be a reality and not just a dream, haven’t I?
Well, maybe not. I discussed briefly the difference between two predicates that we can apply to ‘existence’ (NECESSARY and CONTINGENT), but, so far, I’ve left out a third: IMPOSSIBLE. The arguments you made against the possible existence of utopia don’t seem to explain why a utopia is impossible. So, again, if a utopia is possible, why should I accept something less than perfect? You say it will be populated by people who are not perfect, and it is true that in my experience I have never met a perfect person, but I have also never exhausted all possibilities – I haven’t met every person in the universe – and one of them might be perfect, yes?
And if so, it is possible for a person to be perfect. Perhaps, in perfect conditions, I might become perfect. Certainly this possibility is held out to us in many religions. Many believe that Jesus was a perfect human being. And most of those who believe that, also believe in the possibility that after we die (and perhaps before by those who will be “raptured”) we will become perfect and inhabit a perfect place – ‘heaven’. Others believe that this world will be made perfect sometime in the future (the Kingdom of God), and they devote their life toward that end. You will probably have a very difficult time convincing those believers to accept Copiosis – unless you can give them reasons why their dream of Utopia is impossible.
I believe there is a rather simple way to explain why Utopia, or a ‘perfect’ society is impossible – but it is based on logic rather than experience. Granted, you did refer to the “Utopian Fallacy”, which is a logical argument, but you didn’t explain it. A logical fallacy is a failure to think correctly; a thinking mistake. The mistake in thinking that a utopia is possible might be called a ‘category mistake’. A Utopia properly belongs, I would argue, in the category of “impossible things” rather than “contingent things”. We can dream about many impossible things, but we cannot make them real or create them. I would also argue from theology, that even God cannot create impossibilities. You might argue with me if you don’t think that our concept of “God” needs to make sense, but there is no place that we can apply reason after that.
Here’s the argument then in brief (but not briefest) form: Just as there can be no maximum number (numbers can always be added to a total), there is no maximum good (values can always be added to any existing state). Even though we can judge a group of paintings and make a decision about which we consider to be ‘best’, there is no ‘perfect’ form of art. Beauty can always be added to the world in order to make it better, but a ‘best’ or “most beautiful” world is logically impossible. It would be a world without creativity, possibilities, or change. I know I wouldn’t be happy in such a world even in my imagination, because it would be a world where my existence would make absolutely no difference.
And that’s why Copiosis can never be Utopia. But it is a system that can make the world more beautiful. We must not stop dreaming or working to co-create a more beautiful world, because, as Charles Eisenstein points out, in our hearts we know such a world is possible. But it will always be a possible better world; it can never be the BEST WORLD (Utopia).
Editor’s note: This post is from guest writer Don Vande Krol in response to our post on debunking the U world. We thought he made a lot of sense, so printed his post in its entirety.