I have started this blog as part of a lifelong quest for Utopia.
Unfortunately, the quest hasn’t been going so well, ever since I took that wrong turn at Bass Strait. Tasmania is pretty in places, but I don’t fit in here. I feel much as Alice anticipated she might upon reaching the end of the rabbit hole.
‘How funny it’ll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The antipathies, I think -‘
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
It has been suggested to me by some presumably well-intentioned people that my disgruntlement with life might be due to … err… personal issues and failure to view the world with positivity. Have you thought of counselling? The message from these smugly contented souls is a simple one – Utopia is a state of mind, so the problem is you!
I’ve long been envious of those lucky individuals with the capacity to view the glass as half full, without ever stopping to wonder about what’s in the water, but it doesn’t come naturally to us all. Further, I’d argue that societies need critical thinkers to affect social change.
My Utopian quest is a personal one, but it’s inspired by other thinkers, writers and philosophers. In particular, I’m guided by the work of P G Wodehouse, who created the greatest model for Utopia in western literature. Evelyn Waugh’s praise of it is often cited on Wodehouse dust jackets:
‘Mr Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.’
Wodehouse himself was a model optimist, who maintained a doggedly sunny disposish through a long life, not without it’s turmoil. While interned in a Nazi prison camp, he continued to write comic novels and caught up on the complete works of Shakespeare. On his release, he controversially broadcast from Berlin, a series of humourous accounts of his imprisonment – the act of an optimist, not a political agitator.
Wodehouse, affectionately known as Plum, sets such pleasingly lofty standards for humanity that perhaps what I’m really seeking is Plumtopia.
Here’s hoping I find it.