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Utopia By Thomas More (1478-1535) Essay, Research Paper
The term “Utopia” has come to mean an
idyllic, visionary Shang-ri-la type of community. However, when More derived
the term from the Greek, it literally meant “nowhere.” In essence, both
are correct: Utopia can represent both a mythical, impossible retreat and
a great guiding social ideal.
Much of More’s book was extracted from
and influenced by the Bible, especially from the “Christian Humanists”
biblical interpretations that formed a vanguard of social criticism in
his time. Along with Erasmus, another humanist philosopher, More yearned
to change his world for the better. He saw that wanton greed and terrible
poverty were often irrevocably bound to one another, and he argued vehemently
for the closing of the separation between classes.
More’s Utopia, of course, has never been
achieved; perhaps it never will be achieved – nor should ever be sought.
But this comment on European society, in his time, reflects the great challenges
that have faced societies throughout history. Tensions born of moral struggles
- between power and equality; between work for survival and work to acquire
luxury; between creative, joyful leisure and laziness; between the actual
and the ideal – these are basic issues for our time and for all times.
And More’s Utopia embraces and attempts to clarify them all.
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