What is the Ideal Society?
Every person holds his or her own view regarding an ideal society. Primarily, society implies a body of individuals that co-exist as members of a community. Scholars such as Aristotle, Thomas Moore, and Martin Luther King put forward definitions of an ideal society through literary examples or public speaking. These definitions imply a society with a perfect environment from many vices such as poverty and pollution. From these definitions, we can infer that the values and beliefs of the existing society would not support an ideal society.
However, these definitions of a utopian society represent personal views. Before one can define an ideal society, it is crucial to understand the meaning of the term ideal. ‘Ideal” has many definitions and the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines it as complete or excellent beyond theoretical or practical improvement (Moore, 37). The first sensible step towards understanding the aspect of an ideal society is identifying the flaws that plague the current one. It is unnecessary to go through all the minor flaws (robbery, rape, murder), so it makes it necessary to establish a common ground for all these flaws in the society. This common ground is in short ‘evil’. In this case, evil by definition implies the opposite of good. Hence, an ideal society is one without evil (51).
For instance, imagine a lawn with green and lush grass. However, at the middle of this lawn is a taupe weed. Despite efforts by the owner to remove this weed through starvation or poison, it remains persistent and continues to grow. The only way to kill this weed would be to remove it by the root. This situation describes the aspect of evil. Indirect action directed at eliminating evil does not lead to success. Using other methods only work to slow down evil other than halt it. The only successful method involves finding the source and eliminating it.
Therefore, we can move on by identifying the primary source of evil in the society. In this case, the source of evil is diversity. People commit crimes due to differences in economic status, ideology, skin color, gender, differences in upbringing. Ultimately, these differences lead to us committing actions that we consider best in our own interests. However, due to the different ideals and views, people will always conflict on whether certain actions are good or evil. On the other hand, an ideal society would have people who share common ideologies and views. Members of this society would have a similar meaning on aspects of life.
Additionally, the play Pygamalion by George Bernard Shaws can be used to exhibit the idea of an ideal society. This play has a major theme that differentiates nature and nurture. According to Shaw, nurture implies the environment where a child grows. On the other hand, nature implies the intrinsic personality of an individual. Therefore, if differences in ideologies and views are to be eliminated, it is necessary to establish a common upbringing in the entire society (Schaer, Gregory and Lyman, 47). Ultimately, this would be facilitated by doing way with the family unit. Primarily, a family is a child’s greatest influence. The memories made in one’s childhood determine a person’s values and beliefs. Hence, the definitions of an ideal society imply nurturing children from birth to pursue good values and beliefs
However, the aspect of good brings about conflicting views. The term ‘good’ is subjective meaning that its definition is variable from one person to the other. This is because our society has people with different backgrounds and beliefs that contribute to our morality. Therefore, a person’s sense of goodness depends on what they believe. The meaning of the term ‘good’ in an ideal world should be taken to imply something that leads to the improvement of the environment and human life. Evil, on the other hand, is something that leads to the deterioration of both. In an ideal society, people are encouraged to work for personal gain. Ultimately, this form of upbringing creates egotists (Schaer, Gregory and Lyman, 62).
The term ‘egotist’ raises the idea of cruel people delight in the squirming of other people. In this case, an egotist is someone who holds no regard for the rest of society. The rest of society may be going through anarchy, but such a person goes on about his business. Egotists think that other people are lesser beings, therefore, thinking they can do what they like. Such a person would not bother to hurt other people because it would not matter and be self-demeaning. Hence, an egotist would only hold personal views. Working only to better him and ultimately, bettering the rest of society. Even though this idea is conflicting, it is proven by the fact that people in an ideal society have a similar ideology, social, financial, and personal status. Conclusively, judging by the various definitions of aspects that surround the utopian concept, most people in our society would not favor living in an ideal society. Moore (27) states that his is mainly due to our nurturing. Our upbringing has led us to believe that an ideal society is sacrilegious or blasphemous.
Moore, Thomas. Utopia. New York: Knopf, 2007. Print.
Schaer, Roland, Gregory Claeys, and Lyman T. Sargent. Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society. New York: The New York Public Library, 2005. Print.