Why do We Strive for Utopia?

in psychology •  last month

It seems to be in the nature of mankind that we strive for utopia, despite the fact that we know it is unobtainable. We want to be able to fix ourselves and everything around us, probably in the hopes that maybe if we do, everything will become smooth running, easier and our lives will be happier. Yet isn't it the ups, downs and inbetweens of life that allow us even distinguish happiness as an emotion?

20180530_132438.jpg

@careywedler was talking about internal healing and the quick fixes we use, when it's not a simple process. I left this thought in the comments:

As you talk about striving for internal healing and quick fixes that we turn to, I begin to wonder if this is even something we will ever achieve; full healing that is. The nature of life is such that maybe all we can really achieve is damage control. No matter how good we become at healing there will always be new obstacles to overcome and new damage to overcome.

You see, as we think we're healed from one thing, another trauma can come into our lives and the process of coming to terms with that starts again. Throughout our lives everyone will need to deal with grief and loss at some level, even if they don't experience other traumas.

When we deal with the loss of a loved one, something we'll often mull over is whether it could have been prevented in some way. We often want to blame something or someone so that there is a possible solution to prevent it happening again to someone else. That's when we get campaigns for new laws, often named for the child lost, like Madison's law or Charlie's law.

If we're entirely honest with ourselves, we know that there is no failsafe method to stop bad things happening, only methods to make them less likely. Yet when something bad happens again and the law couldn't prevent it, then we want another law to prevent the next bad thing.

It's almost like the medicine for the side affect of the first medicine which causes another side affect which needs another medicine and on it goes as we try to find a panacea. In trying to put everything right and make our hoped for utopias do we inadvertently make things harder for others and maybe even ourselves?

Surely we'd do better to try and find a place of acceptance that certain things are beyond our control. Experiences can't be undone and will shape us, but we can choose how they shape us.

Why do you think we try to create our utopias?

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

In trying to put everything right and make our hoped for utopias do we inadvertently make things harder for others and maybe even ourselves?

This was spot on for me and I think the question is yes, we do make it harder, especially for ourselves.

Creating a utopia is next to impossible due to unforeseen circumstances coming into play. I've become very focused on my utopia lately and when something doesn't go as planned life can really get derailed.

Nobody likes their utopia disturbed, although we should expect it. Even though I expect it, I still let it get to me, but I think your post shed some light on the fact that I shouldn't focus too much on it.

I wasted my upvote as I didn't notice it had already paid out, so I gave you an upvote on a comment below!

Yet isn't it the ups, downs and inbetweens of life that allow us even distinguish happiness as an emotion?

I think so. Opposites give each other meaning, as light is meaningless without dark etc etc, so much so that they are perhaps inseparable, and certainly connected and contiguous. I think part of our conditioning is to believe there are only these two states - 1 or 0, happy or sad, up or down. Whereas, there is also the neutral position of balance (IMO, the natural state of things).

I think a major issue is the "striving for internal healing and quick fixes that we turn to" and the manner in which this may be conceived! Healing, especially inner healing, is deep and visceral, and mostly unaffected by superficial band-aiding. We are human beings, not human doings :) - as such, if we are 'trying' or 'striving' for something, we don't know how to do it (else we'd be doing it and not trying/striving). This trying/striving often, it seems, obscures the possibility of just 'being' the change (and discovering what this may mean), rather than controlling what one thinks it ought to look like (a bunch of lies handed down to us which we have falsely adopted as our own reality).

We need to heal from our traumas, I agree. But the real traumas are the deep emotional scars on the individual and collective human psyche, starting in childhood and spiraling and echoing throughout life. Unhealed trauma works with fear to create a sense of impending doom and negativity, when this is a function of perception and not of reality. This perception is often projected onto the dynamics of life and we then perceive and experience a world of darkness, beings trapped in survival mode of reacting, reacting, reacting (more laws, more restrictions, more fear, more limitation blah blah). As you say, we can take a tablet, but this then has a side-effect, requiring another and another and on and on, until the time comes when the core of the issue is tackled, and the trapped energy can finally be released.

I consider life/experience to be taking place primarily within the context of (deep) healing, expansion and growth. The appearance of the Dark, is simply so that we can emerge even more fully into Light, yet know, fundamentally, that we are beyond both in our spiritual essence.

I really like your ending: "Surely we'd do better to try and find a place of acceptance that certain things are beyond our control. Experiences can't be undone and will shape us, but we can choose how they shape us." What would it be like to go with the flow of life? ie to completely and utterly accept everything that happens without resistance (doesn't mean giving in meekly, just accepting what one cannot control) - I think the delicious end of life begins where CONTROL stops :D

·

A worthy post of its own! Thank you @barge, you are ever thoughtful and insightful.

·

And yes, your question "Why do We Strive for Utopia?" .... I think this touches on a deep yearning for something that has been 'lost'. A deep sense of 'belonging', a desire for the end of 'separation' (which is pain), a fundamental drive towards unity and harmony. I think this deep yearning drives us forward through life, and provides energy and motivation for seeing through the illusions and veils of fear and negativity. It echoes the longing for the safety and comfort of the womb, the sacred one-ness of being, the state of unconditional Love.

When we stop our toddler from darting out in traffic, we should spend the next 12 months contemplating how lucky we are to still have them. We don't though, that's the problem.
I've known people who've killed themselves, and friends have gone to pieces wondering what they could've done to buy them a few more years; without even once considering they're probably the reason that person stuck around as long as they did.
This is one of many reasons I'm against drug prohibition. How many of the people 'wasting their lives' on drugs are actually drowning out their demons? The voices telling them to go on killing sprees, or at least kill themselves.
All the rhetoric seems to imply that without the drugs these junkies would be happy, productive, smiling, voting citizens.
I very much doubt that's true.

·

This is one of many reasons I'm against drug prohibition. How many of the people 'wasting their lives' on drugs are actually drowning out their demons? The voices telling them to go on killing sprees, or at least kill themselves.
All the rhetoric seems to imply that without the drugs these junkies would be happy, productive, smiling, voting citizens.

Couldn't agree more with you on this. I believe the majority of drug abuse is a response to a sick system and society. Our youth knows something isn't right, but they don't know what so they don't know how to deal with it. Drugs are the only escape route they can find.
If people really want to stop drug use they need to address the root cause instead of prohibiting them.

Why do you think we try to create our utopias?

I think that people try for that because they do not see that they need change in their life. That all life is about change. For me an Utopian Society would be death. (From google def. - an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect-). Perfection implies no change needed, no fixing needed, no longing needed. Stagnation.

·

Good point. Now you've got me thinking again.

·
·

At some point though we all grow tired of change, so stagnation might not be to bad for awhile. But how long can a person live with every need met.

·
·
·

how long can a person live with every need met.

Indeed!

I think believing that there is something better amidst all the negativities and struggles is what keeps us moving and this is a way of life. If we stop searching for utopia or stop making one ourself, will there be any meaning to what we do or even why we live?

·

Yes, I think it can be something that keeps us going. However, what when it becomes a form of stress and tension or harm in itself because it's never quite attainable? Or when we are so restricted by laws designed to keep us from harm or harming?

Like many things balance is certainly useful.

The myth of a perfect World is something that constantly drives us - or at least a lot of people. An effort in futility that sometimes we just do not accept

·

Yes, @cave-man also touched on that. We need something to keep us going, but we also need balance.

I think sometimes people can push so hard for a utopia that they start to desire its existence. Then they can risk despondency when they realise they can't achieve it or are so determined to achieve it that they try force restrictions onto everyone else.

I think that we delude ourselves into thinking that "if we just roll the dice one more time then we will find perfect happiness" and "clearly I am unhappy because of my circumstances not because of my perspective."
This could explain record divorce and depression levels.
Personally, I think that life is a series of trials by which we become stronger and more capable of handling them and become able to be an inspiration to others who struggle, or else let them beat us down into misery. Everyone in every age, place, social stratum, and economic situation has struggles, guaranteed.

·

Life is certainly a struggle at times, but it is also what we make of it.
Thank you for your thoughts.