The Utopia Trap
The Utopia Trap is the belief that you must create better conditions in society before you can be free
It’s a very basic, very understandable belief. It’s easy to see that other people are arranging things incorrectly — passing the wrong laws, misinterpreting things, even maliciously arranging things to the detriment of others. You can see poverty, repression, prejudice, and other conditions that stifle creativity and happiness.
It’s easy to feel that society needs an overhaul (major or minor) before you’ll be able to live freely. As a result, you can devote a great deal of effort to attempts to make others understand what you see, to the passing of laws, to a quest for a better society.
While you’re doing this, you obviously give up a great deal of time and other resources that could have been used to enjoy life. But it’s assumed that once the proper overhaul of society is completed, you’ll be able to live more freely.
There are two basic reasons why I don’t get involved in the quest to change society: (1) because it’s an indirect alternative, it’s a much harder, more permanent job than most people realize; and (2) it isn’t necessary. An individual doesn’t need to live in a free society in order to free himself — and when he tries to change the world, he’s in for a lot more trouble than he may have bargained for.
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