Nothing can be perfect. A utopia, a perfect place, would never truly exist because people are different, and they will always have conflicting ideas on how society should be constructed.
But people are similar, too. We are all human beings, who want to better our society. Though society can never be completely perfect, we can envision and form an enhanced civilization. In fact, we go to great lengths to create our ideal world, from occupying a city for months (“By The People, For The People” by Daisy Arriaga, pg. 19) to living off the grid (“An Independent Existence” by Marissa Framarini, pg. 13).
Some people, of course, get a little out of hand concerning perfection, like those who attempt to design perfect children (“You Don’t Know Jack” by Kerry Tkacik, pg. 25). But, we do need to believe in some form of utopia in order to find meaning in our attempts to improve society. Otherwise, we think critique is useless, protest is ineffective and change is impossible.
Dystopias warns us of what can happen if we fail to change our detrimental behaviors. Sydney Fusto, in her article “Shop ‘Til You Drop” (pg. 18), explains how our consumerist culture is enveloping our lives, as materials are becoming the only means in which we can relate to one another. In “The United States of Panem,” Kristen Tomkowid (pg. 34) describes how the dystopia created in The Hunger Games is not too far off from the shape of the United States. She writes, “Life in the Capitol reflects the economic inequality and materialism of America.”
With this issue, we hope to explore utopias through understanding various ways of life and reflecting on a range of societal visions. After all, perhaps the only way we can begin to improve our society to satisfy the needs of all people is to first discuss these different beliefs.
Image by Daniel Sitts
About the Cover
In 1516, British philosopher Thomas More wrote Utopia, a book about life on a fictional island, using the story’s imaginary world to critique the troubles in Europe. The images on the Buzzsaw cover allude to the wood-printed cover of More’s book. To create the image, we digitally traced a photographed eye, incorporating imagery from More’s Utopia in the iris as an homage to his fantastical island. While contemporary notions of “utopia” are vastly different than those expressed More’s work, the human tendency to imagine and seek out a perfect world remains. As the cover suggests, the details of this perfection lie in the eye of the beholder.