chapter  10
14 Pages

Etherotopia or a Country in the Mind: Bridging the Gap between Utopias and Nirvanas

Joyce Hertzler concludes his History of Utopian Thought with the phrase ‘Utopia is not a social state it is a state of mind’.1 Other utopian scholars would argue that the truth is exactly the opposite, that utopia is a purely social matter. There seems to be a false dilemma here where one must choose between two, seemingly conflicting, schools of utopian thinking: social utopias and private ones. In John Carey’s words, ‘Whereas most utopias reform the world, some reform the self’.2 He says of the later that these ‘solitary utopians are Robinson Crusoes of the mind, inventing islands for themselves to inhabit’ and that they are very unlike ‘normal, public-spirited utopians’.3