Monday, July 28, 2014

Realism Vs. Utopianism

While reading Alfie Kohn's No Contest: The Case Against Competition I came across these two interesting quotes:

We should not be afraid of the Utopian in our thinking, for it is only belief in the possibility of what has not yet been attained which makes progress even conceivable. A willingness to rethink all of our aims and to throw the whole system into question will prevent our painting the walls when we ought to be getting rid of the termites and strengthening the foundations. 
– Hazel Barnes, An Existentialist Ethics 

What is ‘practical’ and what is ‘utopian’? Does not utopian mean merely: whatever acknowledges other values as relevant and possibly even as sovereign? But in truth, are not those who in the name of realism act like crackpots, are they not the Utopians? Are we not now in a situation in which the only practical, realistic down-to-earth thinking and acting is just what these crackpot realists call ‘utopian’?

– C. Wright Mills, Power, Politics, and People

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