What I Learned From Utopia

Worrying about saving the world is a waste of time

Ten years ago I quit my job, sold my house, and used the proceeds to set up a post-apocalyptic commune in the Scottish Highlands. We would try to live as if we had survived the collapse of modern civilisation. We would re-learn skills that had been largely forgotten in industrial economies – growing and catching our own food, building our own accommodation, and making everything else we needed to survive. Although the post-apocalyptic narrative was very pessimistic, the commune itself would be quite the opposite.It would be a phoenix arising from the ashes of civilisation, a return to a simpler way of life free of the many problems of modernity. It would be a kind of utopia.

Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out that way. In fact, things got so bad that I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for a month. I have told this story in detail in The Utopia Experiment (Picador, 2015), so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead, I’ll tell you what I gained from this un

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Abdullah Hadi 10 April 2018

This is a very nihilistic view on life. The question I completely disagree with is "Given that everything will come to an end eventually, does it really matter if humanity lasts another million years rather than just another thousand?" Using that logic, what is the purpose of anything? In the end we need to factor in long-term sustainability into our lives even if it means living for a few more thousand years.

tobias jensen 12 May 2017

I have the exact opposite opinion of the articles author.

If you enjoy life you have an obligation to fight for life. If you don't enjoy life you have an obligation to fight for death.

Bigcup 2 February 2017

"We can die in peace, whether we survive the apocalypse or not, and regardless of what happens to those who come after us."

I appreciate where he's coming from, but this seems like nothing less than an argument for complete selfishness. I'm sorry, but it is immoral to decimate an environment if you know that others will have to inhabit it later - you're stealing quality of life from those people. He's right that nothing can be sustained forever. But no one's arguing for that, we just want to make sure that the end that he's talking about doesn't come far too soon due to the collective avarice of our generation's politicians and corporations.