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Every Society Invents the Failed Utopia It Deserves (publicdomainreview.org)
94 points by benbreen 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 12 comments



A lot of this was later covered in a dated yet still enjoyable and understandable tv series called ‘star trek’. I mean, sure, literature and speculation of brains and behavior, utopia and chaos goes way back to the original written word. It’s an unfortunate condition of the human brain - a prefrontal cortex that has been imprecisely fused onto a primal brain like a tumor. The PFC creates symbols and structures, logic and resaon, and it interprets a chaotic universe through a lens of rational models. It begins to believe that its models are ‘real’, and it naturally tries to apply them to everything. E.g. compare the Vulkan and the Romulan (I’m no expert here - sorry). Rational people want utopia.

I don’t see much problem with people having desire for utopia. It’s natural. The only problem I see is that eventually the tensions between the dionysian and apolloian cause destruction and harm. Lots of people die. Structure is good, but I wish people could invent a way to safely dismantle structure when needed.


Just like society gets the politicians it deserves, too.

Its surprising how little we take responsibility for the collective failings that our group intelligence often delivers... or, maybe its not surprising, actually. Just, disappointing.


I'm sick of hearing that I have the politicians I deserve - the amount of money spent by special interests to warp the minds of citizens is at an all time high. The authorities supposed to regulate and hold these people accountable are captured.

And it's all extremely systematic.

The interests of the super-wealthy are aligned against education, cooperation and the health of the planet, and we don't have time for throwing blame at the victims.


how well represented am i, really, in my group intelligence?


Wow! Steam-punk psycho-history. How cool can you get?


The site was unreadable on mobile due to having to scroll the huge paragraphs left and right.


it works fine with firefox's reader view.


I would love to simulate the Cosmographic Comparator! Anyone into it?


When utopia is the dream, dystopia becomes the reality.


This is quite an interesting story. It's a shame that it wasn't covered by somebody who could write clearly rather than a sociology professor.


It purports to be a translation from the French of a hundred years ago, which is necessarily going to be a rather alien style. It's essentially science fiction in the style of Verne.


Yes, this 1870's french is pretty alien. But unlike Verne, it's aliens/alienation are real not fictional.

Ignoring the florid preface by the series editor, Tresch's introduction is legible enough, and his translation of Michel seems pretty comprehensible too.

Michel's is clearly a period piece, heavily stylized as a political / motivational screed, but fascinating nonetheless. I do wonder if "Every Society..." ever existed or if it's her invention. Clearly Octave Obdurant is at best a nom de guerre/plume.

It's a great phrase nonetheless and worthy of both note and remembrance. Nice catch, OP.




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