dit le renard. Voici
mon secret. Il est très simple: on
ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel
est inivisible pour les yeux.
est inivisible pur les yeux, répéta le petit prince,
afin de souvenir.
by Kristina Pelakova
"Goodbye", said the fox.
"Now, here is my secret, very simply, you can only see things clearly
with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," repeated the little
prince, so as to remember.
This dialog, copied
from the charming description of the Little Prince's Grand Tour on other
planets, should and probably will be the closing part at the very end
of my effort to build a world (at least some parts of it) in which the
little prince and all of the other people would like to live. Let us pretend
that, as well as the little prince, we also believe in the existence of
some other worlds (planets). Searching for those worlds, which are supposed
to be better, then the present one would be just utopistic speculation
as long as we employ only the imagination. But since we do not dispose
with the racket as the little prince did, we have no other choice than
rely upon our own idealistic thoughts.
Each of the planets
the little prince has discovered and entered has been a planet of one
single person. Each of them had his weaknesses, which perfectly matched
with the negative and dark sides of human beings in general. For our purpose,
we will take the other way around. Utopistic society-even if it's hard
or maybe not possible to reach-should be basically good one. What good
means is the matter of individual opinion and preferences. The visions
of goodness as well as utopia are as numerous as the number of people.
For picking up the positive sides which should take part and consequently
create utopia, we will not make any extensive research or study in order
to find out what goodness means for the majority. Plenty of attempts have
been undertaken to describe utopian communities so far. Some of them have
been admired, refused or even abused for creating an ideology. Let us
invite those who have been already playing with utopistic visions and
let them show us what their conceptions of goodness include. But since
we are not here for simple copying and accepting the others´ thoughts,
we will select what seems to be the most suitable for our own ideal picture.
Utopia is more than
an ideal place where to live; it is a state of being as well. It should
be a world where everybody desires to grow up children in. A world without
wars, without hunger and incurable diseases or without unreasonable and
absurd wasting. It should be a world where people are living in a full
respect to each other while feeling happiness and satisfaction about the
way they are living their lives. All of the bad things, I have sketched
above, make our lives imperfect and uncomfortable, and should be eliminated
as much as possible. It is needless to say that human being is imperfect
but is it really an obstacle for being good and being able to prevent
all of those things which we would rather get rid of in order to have
happy and valuable lives?
Now, when we realized,
what we are searching for, we can have a look, what the universe of utopistic
ideas is offering to us. Since we do not have to rely upon any means of
transportation as the little prince had to, we do not need to care about
the distance which is necessary to bridge as to get to the other planets
and than back to The Earth, which is the place where our ideal world will
The first planet we will imagine is a small round globe, looking almost
the same as The Earth does. It is perfectly round; the distance from the
middle to the surface seems to be the same in every single point, the
colour and size of the stones covering this planet is completely the same.
And there, in the middle of one of the circles made from stones, we find
a person. It takes a while to recognize that he is a human being, not
just a stone but when he sees something unusual he starts to talk first:
"Why do you have different colour than the rest of the stones? And
what a strange size you have. Why are you not in a circle and how did
you manage to move? You are not allowed to. You are not equal to us."
As the reader has correctly guessed, we found ourselves on the planet
The person living there spent the whole life by measuring the right size
of circles, rearranging them in order to be perfectly the same all the
time. When asked what is positive about being the same colour as the others
and being part of the same circles, he answered as follows:
"I have heard about the planet whose name I have already forgotten
but I think it starts with E. It is a planet where inhabitants are not
equal. That causes fights and wars because everybody wants more or something
different to posses. And this possession, since he is not able to obtain
it by his own effort, he wants to get from somebody else. By using violence
or by betraying, cheating and so on. Well, nothing like this exists here.
There has never been any dispute among inhabitants (stones) on this planet
so far. Nobody has anything what could be the object of envy, jealousy
or greed. All of us are friends and as one of the very enlighted philosophers
from The E. planet said: "Friends possses everything in common"(Plato,
And not only I agree with this opinion. Have you ever heard about Sir
Thomas More from the same planet? According to him "all men should
have and enjoy equal portions of wealth and commodities. For the wise
man did easily foresee this to be the one and only way to the wealth of
a commonalty, if equality of all things should be brought and established"
(More, 1997, p.124). My planet is a happy one because I will never let
anything that is unusual and consequently not equal with my stones to
stay here for a long time span. So now I must you ask to leave. The harmony
and equilibrium of my circles is very fragile and it requires huge effort
and restless work to keep it."
We are leaving the planet of Equality leaving plenty of questions behind
us. It is not very real that such equality would be possible to realize
on The Earth but there are some positive sides in the idea of this small
stony man. People are not stones. They are different in many aspects but
there are some basic human fundamentals, which are common, to each of
us. No individual could exist without some interaction with other humans;
all humans are part of the same species. All humans, does not matter if
red or yellow, black or white, tall or small, need to fulfil their basic
needs in order to survive? I think that all of us will agree that in the
eyes of society people should be equal. We have found the first basic
part of our ideal world, which we want to bring back to The Earth.
Even if our minds
are still wondering about how to introduce the idea of Equality on The
Earth, we must continue to collect more positive aspects our society will
be build on.
The second planet
which appears in our imagination looks like a paper ball children are
making during breaks at school. It is a very big planet and it seems to
grow a bit every single second. When we come closer, we recognize the
reason quite soon. Two people occupy this planet. One is a pupil and the
other one is a teacher. The pupil is trying to create some very complicated
scheme while throwing the used paper easily to the ground. That is the
reason of the planet's growth. Teacher is never satisfied and makes the
pupil try again and again. The name we give this planet is Education.
When the teacher has noticed us, he does not show any sign of surprise,
he simply points to the free chairs, gives us paper and waits for us to
start drawing the same scheme as the unsuccessful pupil is trying to draw.
Since our papers stay empty for an hour, he says very seriously:
you know that education and consequently complete knowledge is the only
way how to establish the perfect world? Don't you know that wisdom can
help to prevent conflicts, wars and disputes, which your planet suffers
from? Have you ever heard about Plato and his call for good education?
I can quote whatever from all of his brilliant books. Try to guess which
book this quotation is coming from: "After music and poetry, our
young people must be given physical training."(Plato, 1992, p. 80).
I can see, that you have not a faint idea. Does not matter, I can teach
you everything. You will be so preoccupied by learning that nothing else
will ever come into your mind. And when we finish this, some physical
training will be provided for you, of course. Otherwise your body would
not be in the right harmony with your brain. Plato claimed that such a
harmony is essential for strong human being. Are you looking for some
equipment you will be using for training? As you can see, our planet is
getting bigger and bigger. It is just paper but the growth is possible
just to a certain extent. After you are tired from memorizing books, you
will have some time to relax by picking up the used paper and recycling
it. But first you must undergo a long journey to other planets to get
the liquid which is needed for the recycling procedure. When the weight
of the planet is remarkably reduced, you can study again. Isn't this a
nice life occupation? Maybe you could ask, what is the point of all those
efforts. By getting more and more knowledge we want to find more effective
way of recyclation of the paper we are using so as to our planet doesn't
need to suffer under such a weight of paper in future".
After learning this we should leave fast otherwise we would be employed
as recycling machines soon. The idea of good education seems to be acceptable
for us. Of course not in that drastic form. But since our planet is in
a really miserable condition, why should we not use education and wisdom
in order to arrange some more thrifty and considerate ways of our living
on The Earth. Supposingly, there are many current ways; knowledge such
as energy conservation, recycling, etc. can help humanity live as one
with the world. Education will be definitely useful for our purpose. Let's
see what else will.
The third planet we are just about to land on seems to be very colourful
even from remarkable distance; it is full of small and very loud people.
On first sight their activities seem to be confused and senseless but
when we come closer we recognize that people are organized into small
groups. Some of them are building while the others are construing, interpreting.
The air is full of words, which we cannot really understand but people
sound quite happy to us. Let's call this planet Creativity. As far as
we can see, there are no machines which produce goods.
Nobody is staying by assembly lines, putting pieces together - simply
because there are no assembly lines at all. This colourful life is just
amazing. One person seems to be less busy than the others so maybe he
can explain to us, what is going on this planet.
"Welcome, comrades, what brings you to our planet?" he asks
when he notices our staring looks.
"Well, what to say? We are looking for good things which could be
brought back to our world, so we can create a better one."
This person seems to be a bit surprised by our statement and after a while
of hesitation, he replies: "Have you just said create better world?
Than you do not have to look for any other good things. Creativity is
the best and basic one. It is a feature inherent in human beings from
the very beginning. As you can see, people here are happy. They are creating
what they want to. If the product is useful, it is used; if it isn't then
other people construe it. Everybody likes his work. People are busy and
consequently they have no time to think about bad things. Everybody knows
everybody and all of the created things belong to all of us since we are
using common ressources. You can have a look around and join a group whose
occupation is the most suitable for you."
"OK, it is a nice picture you are showing to us but why are the workers
demolishing the machines, which have been just fabricated? Why do you
not use them so that people would not have to work all the time?"
"But they love their work, it is their pleasure. They do not feel
alienated from their work and the product they are creating. As I have
already told you, creativity is a gift; people should cherish it as those
workers do. I do not see any positive point in machines. Well there is
one - you can create them. While creating something, people feel alive
While listening to this man, we definitely must come to the conclusion
that something similar has bee already said and even written. Was it great
Marx himself who has stated: "
life activity, productive life
itself, appears to man only as a means for the satisfaction of a need,
the need to preserve physical existence. But productive life is species-life.
It is life-producing life. The whole character of a species, its species-character
resides in the nature of its life activity and free conscious activity
constitutes the species-character of man." With those thoughts in
our minds, we are leaving the planet of Creativity. We are leaving the
planet but not the idea
The Variety planet is not possible to miss. It has the strangest shape,
you can ever imagine. Actually, the strangest fact about the planet is
that nobody from our research group can really say what the shape looks
like. Our opinions vary diametrically. And that is the point of the idea
of this planet. To describe what we see and experience here would not
make any sense because of the unbelievable variety of things that are
going on there. So just in sum: inhabitants of this planet live in the
conviction that variety is the basis of their happiness. Each of them
is different and according to that philosophy their communities are created.
Each of them has a few simple rules. And since everybody can choose the
community he or she wants to live in, the life is so enjoyable for them
that it is not necessary to establish many rules. A happy society is not
Very close to this planet (we almost could not recognize that it is not
still the same one - taking into account the strange shape of Variety),
there is another. For us it is the last one. The name of this planet is
quite unclear for us, since the citizens say that they would respect any
name we would like to give to this planet. Let's call it Respect then.
To discover what is the main pattern of this small round green world we
must be very careful and search for the people for quite a long time.
The reason is that the whole planet is covered by wild forest and bush.
People are living in small cottages. Their villages are called Neighbours.
Their clothes are very simple as well as their language and the way of
living in general. Those people treat each other with respect, no matter
if man, woman or child. All of them have the same rights and obligations.
Simplicity of their lives makes them very relaxed and very friendly not
just to each other but to nature as well. All of the natural resources
are used very carefully and effectively. No unreasonable wasting. Each
of the Neighbours produces the exact amount of products they are able
to consume. When lacking some goods, they can send a group of representatives
to deal with other Neighbours so as to get the missing good for some other
their community can produce by using their natural resources or special
skills. That is the only secret each community has. Their educational
system is based on inherited knowledge about some sort of product, which
makes it special and therefore very attractive for the others. This provides
a very safe way of how to exchange goods. The attractive and special good
each community is able to produce can not be the subject of demand. It
has to be offered in order to get some other product. And usually, the
community, being offered the chance to get something special, which otherwise
is some kind of luxury, never rejects that. This special good is, later
on, usually during some celebrations, divided up among whole community.
The attitude of adults toward children can possibly remind us of Firestone's
ideas. She claimed that children should be independant of their parents,
consequently families should be large and children (as well as women)
should be completely integrated into society. This philosophy seems to
be applied here to a full extent. Of course children have their biological
parents but the dependency is eliminated by the idea that all people should
help each other and this is true for raising children, too. Not just parents
are responsible for their children's happy and healthy life, it is the
Our time is up. With the help of our imagination, we have recognized what
our world and society should be built on. There are five basic building
stones: Equality, Education, Creativity, Variability and Respect. By using
our fantasy we can try to put all of those stones together and start to
build our utopistic house on The Earth.
Our Earth is a large interconnected ecological system. Humans are part
of this system and must currently rely on it for survival, by breathing
oxygen, drinking its water etc. If this system can no longer provide these
life-sustaining functions, human being will no longer exist. At this very
moment, our planet undergoes a process of very harmful treatment from
the side of humans. The biggest paradox hidden in this human behaviour
is fatal. This lack of respect of a life form for itself, can explain
the lack of respect for other living forms, which includes living on The
Earth. On an individual level, most people are very nice and caring.
Collectively, we should be the same. Every individual can develop a respect
for his or her life. We should be able to find individual good in our
collective actions. While building our ideal world on The Earth, we should
have those ideas still in our mind.
A few basic questions we should pose before establishing our new social
system. Here they are: How will the utopistic world be governed? What
will the economical system and social structure look like? Which improvements
would be suggested for educational system? What about family?
Let's have a closer look on the answers:
I suppose that all of us would agree that some (even if just minimal)
governing is necessary in each society. Our governors would not be anybody
else than people who keep in respect all of our basic building stones
- Equality, Education, Creativity, Variability and Respect. For each social
unit (they will be discussed later), there will be a group of governors
whose number will depend on the size of community. There is no age limit
for governors at all. The process of choosing them will be similar to
a competition where they have to show the best competences in all five
basic areas we have suggested as the basic ones for our world. It will
ensure huge variability of people chosen as representatives of the particular
social unit. The time the governors stay in their office is not exactly
defined. They can leave when they feel they are not able to fulfil their
responsibilities in the best way or that there is some other occupation
they would like to devote their time to. But before leaving, they must
spend some time with the new governor who will replace them and to explain
to him everything about their post and responsibilities in the Governors
Group. Since the work in the Governors Group is very difficult and demanding,
governors do not stay longer than five years. Whenever one of them leaves,
a new competition is proclaimed in order to choose the best candidate
for the free place. People chosen by a lottery system create the commission
responsible for evaluating and choosing candidates.
Since we have already stated that people vary considerably, we cannot
expect that all of them would like to live in one community, having the
same rules and practising the same way of life. With acceptance of our
five basic rules, which should be covering the whole society, we can let
people create and consequently choose the social unit which is most suitable
for them. People should have a chance to leave their social unit and each
social unit has the obligation to accept everybody who is interested in
living in it. As the reader has probably noticed, at this place we are
following the ideas of Nozick. His statement "people are different"
is nothing else than pure true. Nobody can successfully argue about that.
But Nozick goes on: "
there will not be one kind of community
existing and one kind of life led in utopia. Utopia will consist of utopias,
of many different and divergent communities in which people lead different
kinds of lives under different institutions." We can assume that
by this divergence people would be given quite huge space for their own
interests and preferences. It should fulfil their natural need for creativity
and variability. And more, what we are suggesting here is the idea of
mutual cooperation between communities. Social units should be open so
as everybody can bring in some new information and can find out how the
other communities are working out.
"Since consumption is merely a means to well human-being, the aim
should be to obtain the maximum of well being with the minimum of consumption",
writes Schumacher. This should be the basic idea of our system of producing
goods. Taking into consideration the complexity of impacts our activities
have on our planet we certainly must come to the conclusion that multiplying
of consumption is nonsense, which will have (or already has) considerably
harmful consequences. To protect nature and consequently ourselves we
must stop treating nature and its resources as enemies and start to behave
as rational and not exploiting human beings. The means of production must
be as simple as possible. And then, the time we will save on useless producing
and consuming we can spend on travelling, education and other non-materialistic
Each community can decide what its financial system should look like but
we would suggest the combination of a credit system combined with the
monetary one. How to put this into practice? Each of the communities would
have most of the goods in public ownership. By public vote, people should
decide which things they need in order to fulfil their needs and to have
a happy life without suffering. For those things, the credit would be
used. The credit is the same for everybody and it depends on the decision
of each individual how to divide it as to purchase the common goods. Even
children will have their own credits, which they can start using at the
age of six after obtaining basic information about how the system works
and how to divide the credit in the most effective way. Up to this age,
children's parents will be getting his/her credit in order to take proper
care of the child. The credit cannot be used for the next decade. The
monetary system will serve more as the appreciation of the years spent
by working for the community, of the level of education reached by the
worker or of special hours devoted to work. But this - let´s call
it money - cannot be used for materialistic things. People can buy travelling,
sport activities or some extra education for it.
Educational system presents very important part of our utopistic society
since we have introduced our belief in wisdom and knowledge. Our education
will be similar to the one introduced by Bellamy. His ideas remind us
of the already mentioned ideas of Plato. To refresh our memories, Bellamy
(or more precisely his character, Dr. Leete) says: "The faculty of
education is held to the same responsibility for the bodies as for the
minds of its charges. The highest possible physical, as well as mental,
development of everyone is the double object of a curriculum which last
from the age of six to that of twenty-one." The education system
(as well as the other systems) can be organized in order to wishes and
expectations of each particular community. But the basic education should
be obligatory so as to provide children with basic information and ideas
about their future occupation, about the systems which are established
in different communities so they can be able to choose where and how they
want to live. Nobody can be pushed into some further education he or she
does not want to undergo. But the lessons should be so interesting that
each child would be eager to stay at school as long as possible. And if
the student finds out there is some other community with more suitable
and interesting educational program, he or she is free to join this one.
The lessons should be held in nature as much as the weather allows so
children get acquitted with nature very easily and their relationship
towards it will be friendly and positive. From the very beginning they
should be taught how to treat their surroundings, consequently nature
in a non-violent and respectful way.
consider children to be quite financial independent on their parents from
the age of six, they can move around and choose which family or community
to join. But as far as we could observe and learn from the historical
development of families, children incline to spend as much time with their
biological parents as possible. The same is true for parents. On one hand,
children should be cherished, but on the other treated as equal human
Families should not be only the nuclear ones. Nuclear family eliminates
the child's chances to meet with other generations. The bigger the family,
the more tolerant and respectful the person who will grow up there. Mothers
or fathers do not have to work up to the time the child reaches the age
of six and still get the full credit. The rearing and bearing of children
is considered a very demanding and valuable job. Cildren are positive
contributions to community.
As for parents,
marriage is not requested but if two people (it does not matter which
gender they belong to ) want go through a ceremony, it is possible. But
since marriage has lost its previous purpose, the wedding would be more
a chance to meet friends and family and let them know that he or she decided
for this particular partner. Monogamy is not required but it is not forbidden
either. It depends on the arrangements within the family but children
should not be negatively influenced by irresponsible behaviour of their
Parents will always be supported to teach their children how to treat
their surroundings - nature and other people - in a non-violent and respectful
way. Children should be shown at very young age that not the materialistic
but the spiritual world is the more important and durable. That not multiplying
of their needs and desires is the crucial aspect their life is based on..
The important things are inside of us and as long as we are trying to
be good, we can live happy and healthy lives here on The Earth.
Idea No. IV
Now, we are
at the very end of our journey (we called it "effort" at the
beginning). Some of the basic things we have found, some are still waiting
for brave discoverers. We came to the same conclusion as the fox in the
story of the little prince. Did you forget? Ok, we will repeat it for
you so as to remember.
"Goodbye", said the fox.
"Now, here is my secret, very simply, you can only see things clearly
with your heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," repeated the little
prince, so as to remember.