In what ways have aspects from Thomas More's Utopia been appropriated into popular culture?

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Though Sir Thomas More's Utopia was written hundreds of years ago, it has become very fashionable to explore aspects of Utopian society within modern day popular culture. In his book, he explores what it would be like to have a "perfect" society, one which is devoid of anything that currently plagues us in modern society. There is no greed, because there is no personal property, for instance. These ideas were inspired by freedom of knowledge, discovery, and the revolution against the monarchy, the catholic church, and the nobility, which is symbolized by wealth. While the idea of such a society is alluring to many, More's book is both idealistic and unrealistic in many ways. Still, the idea of a Utopian society is reflected in modern-day movies, T.V. shows, books, and even in real life.

One real-life example of an attempt at Utopian society is a popular music festival known as Burning Man. Far from being just a music festival, it is a two-week long, immersive event in which about 60,000 people gather in order to live a "vacation" from the realities of society. While there, they live by a certain set of ethics values, which are also present in More's Utopia. It is a microcosm where they can live away from society's rules, expectations, and judgements if they agree to participate, to practice communal sharing and effort, and to value civic responsibility.

Social justice and social responsibility are two values which are present in Utopian society in More's book and which are definitely demonstrated throughout modern works in pop culture. One notable examples include Aeon Flux, a show which features an ongoing conflict between two societies, one of which is an anarchist state known as Monica. The other state is a police state which doesn't understand the values of Monica and constantly tries to bribe them with money and "valuable" objects.

Another notable example is the edenic society of the Na'vi, a people from the movie Avatar who live in a peaceful, community-oriented society that lives in fear of the progress-driven "bad guys" who are constantly surrounding them. This Utopia is sort of a "natural Utopia" in which human-like creatures live in harmony with their environment. Still, just as in More's book, they appear to be at odds with modern human society and their preoccupation with money, possessions, and progress at the expense of one's connection with nature and community.


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