Utopia, a profound book
By Cora Silva
Thomas More was a humanist, diligent studious, fervorous catholic and a virtuous man. A man of principles, he cared for and cherished people, reading, working, and, above all, self-improvement. He was capable of sacrifices toward his beliefs and or people. As a jurist and a statesman he had the chance of relying on people whose wish for power and selfishness for enrichment showed him very early the most depressive faults of mankind. He strived for his own improvement and wished with all his soul that the people who lived around the world did the same. In the deep of his most sacred feelings he knew no human being was near perfection although he thought that anyone should strive for that. For this own animalistic desires, feelings or wishes, inherent to all human beings, those that no one can avoid experiencing, he punished himself through the subduing of the flesh, wearing a hair shirt, taking a log pillow and whipping himself every Friday.
In the first part of his book Utopia, More dialogued with himself through his characters in a way of arguing the art of governing people and its sordid consequences – a real political analysis of the period. It is important to point out that his characters were pondered, worthy and wise man, thus arguing and establishing their different point of views in order to make the reader think about the matters in all possible ways.
His characters argue about the fact that kings (i) are more set on acquiring new kingdoms than on effectively governing their own (ii) apply more themselves to war than to useful arts of peace; (iii) and that they listen more to themselves and his equals than to wise man, to philosophers, whose advices could make an enormous difference in the well-being of their subjects. A long analysis is also made by the characters in regard to punishment of people that are lead to commit crimes in order to survive and or to escape from being more punished by hunger and injustice. And yet, how a minority, the wealthy people, or still those who possess the productive system in their hands, administrates agriculture, cattle raising and industry as to “balance market” aiming to attain more profit in disregard of people’s need. In short, they finish this part by stating the critics toward members of their society at the period.
In the second part, More describes this place – Utopia, in an allegoric way where he represented his own perfect world which he desired existed or he envisaged it to be created by wise people / kingdom. In this place human beings were entitled to the so spoken well-being and to achieve that people had to live in a sort of communism (let us not consider here the so called communism we have lived in our modern history and its awful consequences, but let us think here more in altruism and unselfishness instead. There they have a special law system where justice was really the aim – they pursue equity. In fact he describes this people as he himself envisages human beings to be, just like him, principle-based people who share respect and are merciful for each other and accomplish with their own duties, i. e. in respect for the public interest. They are slave to good habits, such as reading that is established as a special form of leisure and self improvement – something that was applied to More family with great success.
To sum up, this book has to be known by all and has to be considered as a political/social study, not a naïve one, or as something unreal, but as a profound work and as for Utopia should not be considered literally as it was described, but as an criticism toward the society we live, until today, and induce people to think on new values in life.