“I have a dream…” Iconic words really, uttered by Martin Luther King. Iconic, because we all have dreams, of varying nature and direction but still dreams. Like a snake wrapping itself around its prey, I clung onto my dream, hoping one day that someone somewhere would translate my dream into reality although deep down a mature me knew that this was a dream. Despite the technical errata, I just wanted to know – know how it would be in a perfect society where a Muslim could pray without getting shot at, a Christian could go to Bible Study without being mocked and an Atheist could freely speak about his doubts in the existence of a supernatural deity. I just wanted to know how it would be – no irrational rules, no greed, no sadness, no anger, not a trace of negative emotion. I wanted to know how advanced we would be in science and technology, and how byzantine and beautiful our literature and history would be.
But I grew up, the armies of maturity gaining experience in the battlefield eventually gaining over my mind. I realized the truth in the situation – a truth that was so plain in its nature I was shocked in the first place at how I failed to observe something so plain and distinctly sharp. But before I get to that, I shall need to elaborate on why I was so intent on observing a utopia. I was a normal child in the system of education, trained to be a puppet of the convention men had constructed while aiming their quarrel towards the goat of gain when if they craned their neck towards the sky a little, they would watch wonders unravel themselves until I comprehended the gist of it all. Aforementioned is one chant among the cries of a mob of protesters fighting for justice. Other slogans painted in sweat and tears on cardboard and paper include the wish for near-perfection, the hope for a better life, the desire to leave a mark on the crust of history, crave for fame and respect. I would not have to worry about the future, knowing that everything was going to be fine. I would not have to feel guilty every time a beggar extended his hands towards me pleading for alms.
After divagating this much I would much rather be done with this trip sooner than later so onto my much-awaited breakthrough of sorts in the matter of utopianism much guided by the thoughts of the intellectuals of society through the ages. The reality is that however much we attempt to run towards utopianism, the frenzy and tire of the run will ensure the arrival of a chaotic dystopia. Even if we “achieve” our aim of a near-utopia, the near-perfection would be boring and extremely predictable. We would become biological machines in both senses, literal and rhetorical. The very fire that burns in the being of every human would be put off. Every hole in our clothing that needs patching and attention will spur ten more. The elegant scarf made from the string of my words is not the article of clothing we imagined – it is the same situation for a utopia. The utopia we will achieve is a near-transparent cover for a dystopia, the chaos that underlies it derived from the hunger for perfection.
Author: Jahan Zaib, Srinagar