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Utopia Cast

In 2015 Liam and Rufus did a short-lived collaboration around “utopia cast” (the idea was a channel / series dedicated to exploring utopias and their potential).

They recorded one (trial) hangout on air and did a few blog posts on utopiacast.net. Below is a blog post from that time.


Must a better world remain a dream?

In Nagoyqatsi (2002) we heard that America is “test driving the future”, pioneering a form of unfettered corporate capitalism. The spread of this way of life has been the subject of discussions of globalisation for some time. On the other hand, 71% of citizens in the US think their country is headed in the wrong direction, and 60% think the country is headed for disaster in the latest polls. At the same time, the European alternative has its own challenges. Our common lived experience and scholarship stokes fears about income inequality, climate instability, and other maladies everywhere, and especially in the industrialized world there is a creeping sense that we are all becoming somehow less human, and a little more like the zombies of fiction.  Whether disaster is imminent or not, it seems foolish to ignore “the wisdom of the crowd”.

To imagine a better world has for a long term earned one derision, at least in “respectable” corners. However, it seems that many share the sense that it is time to change.

If both the wisdom of sages and the wisdom of the crowd are telling us that the model we have is bound for disaster, then isn’t it time to think about alternatives?

Of course, it is doubtful that a perfect world will ever be realized, but that doesn’t mean that ideals are worthless. Ideals guide us and keep us honest in all fields, even though they seldom capture reality whether we are talking about science, free expression, or morality. After all, in most other areas of human enquiry, perfection is also impossible but we accept that “if you shoot for the stars you may get to the moon”.

But on the question of imagining a better world, we seem more cautious, feeling that it is a form of hubris or delusion even to search. This is informed by the horrendous outcomes of some recent efforts made under the utopian banner. But there is nothing fundamentally different about the pursuit of a better life, perhaps the most important question we have. Instead, this hesitation arises because, as with any great change, whether in health habits, moving, or quitting a job we don’t like, there comes, immediately after the consideration of the alternatives, a great sense of unease, an unease that is proportional to the gap between the present and the future.

So we’ve decided to put together a regular program that simply accepts the risks of being branded foolish dreamers and also accepts, at least for an hour, both the sadness and the uneasy optimism that comes from considering what life is like now against the alternative of what it might be. Of all pursuits of course, the creation of a better society is likely the most difficult, but if we let the enormity of tasks put us off, we’d have never figured out how to fly, how to crack the genetic code or how to split the atom. The answers are not apparent, at least to us, and we don’t imagine that we, personally, will derive them. But certainly the very start of such a process is to get a lively discussion going about the mindset, values, ways of living and institutions that might lead us again to feel that the future is bright.

Luckily there are people that have been thinking long and hard about this; some, like most of us, in the privacy of their own minds or the company of a few close friends, but some persistently and publicly as a vocation. Our mission is to find these thoughts and get them out there for all to share. 

When answers are not apparent, we often imagine that such answers do not exist. We do not claim to have the answers but we also have hope that they can exist. For us, the start of a search for a better world is to get a lively discussion going about the mindset, values, ways of living and institutions that might lead us again to feel that the future is bright. 

The mission of this podcast is simply to act as a catalyst and a resource for such conversations.