Positano, Italy and New Lanark, Scotland. The one on the left is the most physically beautiful city I have ever seen. The one on the right was the most beautiful experiment in idealized communal working and living that I have ever known. These are amazing places, yet they don't hold a candle to the dreams of perfect worlds that mankind has continually invented as both escapes from the real world and inspirations to make ours better. When Thomas Moore described his own perfect society in 1516, he coined the term Utopia to name it—perhaps in a fit of pessimism. The word itself came from the Greek: οὐ ("not") and τόπος ("place"), so it literally means "no place". He may have been playing with irony though as the homonym eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ ("good" or "well") and τόπος ("place"), sounds exactly the same and is closer to the sense we mean we think of our ideal "good places". In the rewrite of Evolutionary Philosophy that is coming, I'll adopt this more romantic term of eutopia now that I've thought it over, but in the meantime, here is the sketch of my utopia that I have added to the cannon that dreamers have built through history. May it inspire all (ola) places (topias).

Human conceptions of perfection are best captured in the attributes they give to their gods, the most revered of which are omniscient, omnipotent, and eternal. By striving to survive, humans are striving for these goals whether they realize it or not. Progress in computer science and information technology is enabling all people to know all things. Practical omniscience about public facts and theories is sprouting. Connecting inanimate objects through the Internet is enabling us to control our things at the touch of a button or even with just a thought. Progress in politics, business, community organizing, and social networks, is allowing us to spread our influence as far as our ideas will take us. This is what omnipotence for all looks like. Nanotechnology, recycling, and automation have the potential to eliminate scarcity of the goods we need. Renewable energies have the potential to power the world. Aerospace and terraforming technologies have the potential to find us new suitable environments. Biotechnology and gerontology have the potential to eliminate death and disease. At the end of these technologies, human life could become blissful and eternal. If evolution is the term we use to describe the changes that take place during the struggle between life and death, then the end of evolution would be the end of that struggle. If we unite behind this idea, we can reach this goal.

I've come a long way now in the quest to know thyself. I've considered where I've come from and where I am. I looked at what I'm made of: my body, my mind, my emotions, and my personality—all 1, 2, 3, levels of it. I tried to see where I'm headed—through life and on into death. I thought about others too—other individuals, our collective culture, and our social systems of education, economics, politics, and justice. Then I wrapped up by examining things, places, and ideas about gods, religion, morals, beauty, and art. Did I have all the answers? Well, kinda. :-) Or, at least, I had my own answers. But perhaps most importantly, I tried to get all of the questions. If you've followed along on this journey at all, I hope it's given you the chance to ask your own questions about the meaning of your life, to consider deeply the answers you provide for yourself—to live an examined life as it were. Would that more members of society did this thoroughly, openly, and honestly, well, that just might lead to a real eutopia.

Now that this path through the Know Thyself section of Evolutionary Philosophy is complete, I'll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks to tweak the website a bit and hopefully make it more accessible. I'll be back soon though to continue these weekly essays by interrogating 60 of the most famous philosophers of history to see which of their ideas have gone extinct, need to adapt, or survive today. It'll be a Survival of the Fittest Philosophers! Please stay tuned.


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