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At times all I need is a brief glimpse, an opening in the midst of an incongruous landscape, a glint of lights in the fog, the dialogue of two passersby meeting in the crowd, and I think that, setting out from there, I will put together, piece by piece, the perfect city, made of fragments mixed with the rest, of instants separated by intervals, of signals one sends out, not knowing who receives them.If I tell you that the city toward which my journey tends is discotnniuous in space and time, now scattered, now more condensed, you must not believe the search for it can stop.Another track, “Gonna Get Better,” is about sticking with a guy even when he can’t pay for nice things.Club culture, they suggest, doesn’t have to be hook-up culture, surely to the relief of some of their teen and tween fans’ parents.For the final word today on Utopia, I'll turn to Italo Calvino's The Great Khan's atlas contains also the maps of the promised lands visited in thought but not yet discovered or founded: New Atlantis, Utopia, the City of the Sun, Oceana, Tamoe, New Harmony, New Lanark, Icaria.Kublai asked Marco: "You, who go about exploring and who see signs, can tell me toward which of these futures the favoring winds are driving us." "For these ports I could not draw a route on the map or set a date for the landing.Every item implied, however, desolation, since nothing lingers so like the memory of failure, especially if it has sought the extreme perfection.
School did or did not keep, and nobody cared, and the teacher was pretty, presumably.
What you give up in the Twitter essay, of course, is the option of length--and particularly length of quotation.
And when a reader of the Twitter essay, my friend Dan Visel, pointed me at Marguerite Young's odd, impressionistic 1945 book on New Harmony and its history, I was glad I had this platform available so I could share part of it.
But the style can win you over, and it seems to suit this attempt to explain the inexplicable: the urge to create a utopia, and the entropy and human failings that guarantee its end.
Young's account of the difference between the Rappites and the Owenites is succinct and helpful, fleshing out my thumbnail version above: It is difficult to visualize this secluded area as once the scene of two Utopias, like the Cartesian split between body and soul--the Rappite, a Scriptural communism, founded by Father George Rapp, a German peasant, who believed his people to be future angels--the Owenite, founded by Robert Owen, an English cotton lord, who believed all men to be machines.