Essay on Freedom and Manipulation in Utopia by Thomas Moore

Essay on Freedom and Manipulation in Utopia by Thomas Moore

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Looking the word “freedom” up in the dictionary, I encounter with the following definition: the condition or right of being able or allowed to do, say, think, etc. whatever you want to, without being controlled or limited.¹³ Then, we can assume when you are unable to say things you would like to say, or to think in a different way than the one that has been imposed to you, you are not wholly free.
That assumption leads me to have a deeper look at the Utopian Republic, citizens of which are supposedly free beings.
In Utopia, one has to apply to the authorities and get their permission to visit other towns as well as to start the journey which cannot take longer than the time given to one. Even though the official permission is said to be given easily –“If you …would simply like to see the town itself, you can easily get permission to go there.”¹⁴ - it still is given by a certain authority, whose existence necessitates some regulations to human lives. In other words, if there is permission, there also is limitation. And in the existence of limitation, there has to be two sides: the ones possessing the power to authorize and the ones being subjected to regulations set by the others.
The freedom taken from some is of course given to some others. In the hierarchical structure of Utopia, above is free and assigned to penalize the below, within the frame of certain rules of who will punish who: “Husbands are responsible for punishing their wives, and parents for punishing their children.”¹⁵ If the case is so much more important that you cannot cope with it at home, you take it to the Council which, due to the dearth of a constitution or any other common and collective set of laws, has the freedom to act however ...

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...y, you cannot decide that you have lived enough because your body is the “property” of the society. Just like it is your most essential right to live, it is your most basic right to choose not to live as well. However in Utopia you’re not even that free. You can’t say “I’m done.” for it is forbidden to commit suicide.
Everything is pre-decided. Every activity of your life is planned in advance. Go to bed at 8, listen to the lecture in the morning, and dine with a previously-planned sitting. How could you be free when all your life and actions are already determined by others? How could you feel free when you can’t express what you think owing to the fear of being socially-excluded? Are you really free when you’re constantly watched by an invented social conscious?
So long as you are “just another brick in the wall” instead of an individual being, the answer is no.

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