1. While I do see childhood as a utopian time, it is not simply the inherent wonder and innocence (and seemingly endless endurance) it brings. While these qualities are most commonly attributed to children and to adolescence, I think there is something else to it. Rather, the reason I agree with the sentiment is because I see utopia as a memory. We as humans apply a thick rose-colored wash to our past. We remember the freedom of bicycles and relief of snow days, but not the scraped knees or the biting cold. We remember friends and laughter and belonging. We remember it was always better before.
As Professor Melo mentioned in the lecture, Thomas More coyly coined the term ‘Utopia” to mean ‘No place.’ As I originally read it, Thomas More meant the etymology to mean utopia does not exist; it is a fantasy. Though now I see it differently. I think utopia is the world we build of memories. The place we feel when we close our eyes on a warm, sunny day and are overcome with a dreamy nostalgia of a better before.
I suppose this interpretation of utopia may be just as cynical as if it were simply a fantasy. And I suppose that is what our memories are. Though somehow it gives me hope, if not for tomorrow, then for yesterday.
2. I should probably preface this with the fact that I have lived in five different states and three different counties. I have never lived anywhere longer than three years. The thought of living in one place for the rest of my little entirety feels suffocating to me. Though I can’t think of any specific utopian details of the places I have lived, I believe the changes of each location meld together to build utopia. It is probably not surprising then that I think my utopia (apart from my memory theory) is not one place, but a different place, a new place, every few years.
Furthermore, the question asked about what this utopian space would look like. I hope I am correct in my assumption this means living space and not political or social space. I dream of having floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with shelves of deep green houseplants, of French doors opening onto balconies, of spring birds chirping just outside the windows, and of sunlit reading nooks. This would be the type of place I lived in my utopia. And then, after a few years, I would move to a new dream of cozy, fireplace hearths, of fields powdered with snow, and of the smell of a mahogany forest.
3. While my last post (March 24) mentioned The Road, I still have not finished the book and would rather pull from something I am familiar with in its entirety (i.e. have finished). So, I will look at a series I read in middle school called Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness, and in particular the first book titled The Knife of Never Letting Go. I think the first level of this text (after the actual text itself), or the body, is the main character Todd Hewitt. Originally, he is a simple, passive character with no agency. He is constantly bombarded with “noise,” or the thoughts of all the men around him. And I say men because the disease that created the “noise” killed all the women. The next level of this text, or the time, is one of constant stream of words to the point that they lose meaning. And the last level Jameson listed, or the collective, is the society around Todd that exists in its dull entirety, without women, without quiet, without individualism. Ultimately, Todd does find an escape from this collective. I think one interpretation of the utopian impulses in this text is the valuation of independence from the collective. It could also be interpreted as the pitfalls of the overbearing toxicity of modern masculinity.