Thursday, 23 October 2008

In Search of the Right Species

It is of great importance for the utopian to persuade himself and others that he is no utopian, that is to say, that his political and social conception can be realised. Hence the attempt by Marxist historians and pre-historians to find examples of genuine communes in the past. They never found any — at least, firstly: not any society where a broadly communal ownership of goods was not also subject to unequal influence, private interests, leadership, and oligarchy; for, as Edward O. Wilson put it, they were looking at the wrong species; and secondly: not any society which was beyond the small and primitive and which could therefore provide a model conception for a society much larger and less primitive. Accodingly, the claim that these primitive communities justified the communist ideal as a realisable conception was no more credible than the claim that the Marxist regimes themselves were not greatly powerful oligarchies peddling the illusion that the paradisiacal commune of equal freedom and plenty was just over the horizon. As to what would be the right species for the realisation of that paradise, it is difficult to say. Chimpanzees would be no good; whereas, I suppose, any of the species of amoeba would prove somewhat fitter. Still, hope springs eternal in the blighted heart: if every member of humanity could put aside his ego, his striving, his differences of character, talent, intellect, charm, and so on, indeed everything that makes him a person, but from which advantage and hierarchy can arise, then perhaps one day humanity could achieve the worldly paradise of the amoeba.

8 comments:

James Higham said...

This is a sad indictment of humanity, Deogolwulf but even more sadly, it is most likely true.

Mr.Furious said...

On the contrary. The Chinese discover more of what the Chinese discovered every day.

dearieme said...

"Poor ameoba shuns coition
Propagates its kind by fission."

O Nash, or some other wag.

"Doeshn't know what it is mishin'."

dearieme's dad.

jaded said...

I don't think anyone apart from the odd Trot in the SWP imagines a communist paradise any more (although maybe the Eng Lit university departments buck the trend). Eden now lies in shopping malls, widening participation, health and safety, sexual revelation and swearing. And travel, of course, to undiscovered places near a Ryanair route.

jaded said...

I don't think anyone apart from the odd Trot in the SWP imagines a communist paradise any more (although maybe the Eng Lit university departments buck the trend). Eden now lies in shopping malls, widening participation, health and safety, sexual revelation and swearing. And travel, of course, to undiscovered places near a Ryanair route.

Mr.Furious said...

Ah, but that's how to be radical. Bring back all the crap from the sixties and seventies.

Mr. Obsidian said...

Communism is old hat. The Marxist-Utopian dream has been repackaged as modern social progressivism. The messiah who will lead us to this mystical paradise (from his golden pedestal in the land of plenty, no less) is "the one" known as Obama.

Mr.Furious said...

Utopia was Thomas Moore. One should not bundle Moore with that execrable gobshite Marx, nor Utopia with Communism, because Utopia is possible and desirable in the Capitalist paradise, whereas Communism is and always was Distopia.