Utopia is a strange word, in my opinion too often badly misunderstood.
It comes from ancient Greek language: U (actually “OU”) = NO + TOPOS = PLACE so that its meaning is something very similar to the English word “nowhere”.
Many intellectuals, writers and philosophers of the past (Plato, Thomas More, Campanella, etc.) used this term to mean an ideal place where life works the way it should, that’s to say in a very different way in respect to reality.
According to me here is where a big misunderstanding began to exist: if “Utopia” is a place where life is perfect but it looks like life can’t be perfect, then “Utopia” means “an impossible place”. Actually, anyway, this is the product of a rather wrong inference taking the privative “U” before “place” as “not possible” although nothing of this kind is expressed in a simple “NOT”.
Wouldn’t it be better to read that “NOT” as “not yet”? I think so! In this way we would mean “utopia” as “a not yet existing place” and this would give room to one of the most important instances of the human being: hope!
Hope is possibly one of the most distinguishing elements of men, it is the linking element of all religions, it is the engine that moves things forward!
Could we dream about a humanity in which all men receive the respect they deserve? Could we dream about a World being a real net binding all the existing? Or, from a Christian point of view, could we really believe that one day we will all act as real brothers wisely administering the heritage given to us by the Father?
Ok, all these dreams are “utopia”, I know. But if we go on thinking “utopia” is just a synonym of impossible, all we get is despair and the need to find refuge in every-day small goals to survive.
Nothing wrong, obviously. But I prefer to keep on having big hopes, to keep on dreaming about the Kingdom to come, because to dream about the Kingdom means to me to spend all the love I can to try to be a brick building a new castle for all of us, to give a larger meaning to my life.
So, yes, I want to be a utopian, I want to think that utopia is a not yet existing place we can all try to build, step by step, brick after brick to make it come alive.
I want to be a utopian, I want to be a builder with my little possibilities, I want to hope and to hope that many will hope with me, because this makes me feel better, this makes me better, this gives me a higher perspective.
Utopia is my country and, though many “realists” could think I am just an idiot dreaming the impossible, I feel well living in it.