Visions of Utopia
Oxford University Press, Feb 6, 2003 - History - 112 pages
From the sex-free paradise of the Shakers to the worker's paradise of Marx, utopian ideas seem to have two things in common--they all are wonderfully plausible at the start and they all end up as disasters. In Visions of Utopia, three leading cultural critics--Edward Rothstein, Martin Marty, and Herbert Muschamp--look at the history of utopian thinking, exploring why they fail and why they are still worth pursuing. Edward Rothstein, New York Times cultural critic, contends that every utopia is really a dystopia--a disaster in the making--one that overlooks the nature of humanity and the impossibilities of paradise. He traces the ideal in politics and technology and suggests that only in art--and especially in music--does the desire for utopia find satisfaction. Martin Marty examines several models of utopia--from Thomas More's to a 1960s experimental city that he helped to plan--to show that, even though utopias can never be realized, we should not be too quick to condemn them. They can express dimensions of the human spirit that might otherwise be stifled and can plant ideas that may germinate in more realistic and practical soil. And Herbert Muschamp, the New York Times architectural critic, looks at Utopianism as exemplified in two different ways: the Buddhist tradition and the work of visionary Viennese architect Adolph Loos. Utopian thinking embodies humanity's noblest impulses, yet it can lead to horrors such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Regime. In Visions of Utopia, these leading thinkers offer an intriguing look at the paradoxes of paradise.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
aesthetic Allstedt Andreae Andreae’s Christianopolis architects architecture argued become believe bodhisattva Buddhism building called century Christian conflict counterculture create critic crooked timber culture desire disorder divine dream dystopia ecotone element endeavor enlightenment envision example existence experience God’s Herbert Muschamp humane irony humanist Hythlodae ideal imagined Internet Iris Murdoch ironic perspective ironic situation Isaiah Berlin Johann Valentin Andreae liberalism look Loos Loos’s Luther man’s Marx messianic modern More’s Utopia Müntzer Napster never Niebuhr notion Obsolete Necessity peasants perception perfect society personal computer philosopher political possible radical reach reality realization realm reform religion religious risk Sabbatai Sabbatai Zevi Sabbateanism Scholem search for order seems Silha social spirit Stewart Brand Surrealism Surrealist tensions theory things Thomas Müntzer’s tion tolerance transcendent transformed Trilling urban utopian ideas utopian impulse utopian writing wanted Whole Earth Catalog Wittgenstein word