The Grasshopper Inherent? No! The Grasshopper Apparent

Exploring the Grasshopper’s Way of Life [1] (wikimedia)

Imagine the world we live in today. It has poverty, malnutrition, crime, trash, disease, and war. It also has artists, hard-workers, activists, and thinkers. Now, imagine a world with just the positives. In fact, try to imagine a utopia where resources are infinite, your actions have no effect on other humans, and the only impact that you can make is positive.  (All negative impacts are automatically fixed, and there is no human loss because everyone heals and lives forever.) This utopia is a world that YOU should dream of living in. Confused? Let me explain.

The world we live in today requires us to have a job, and earn paper with artificial value (this is money for those who did not get it) to survive and live happily.  Without this and without inherited wealth, we are forced to struggle daily until our deaths for basic food and shelter. Most people who have survival as their goal usually get a job. Those who really understand this concept also understand the benefit of an education. Education gives us the tools we need to survive in this world. One could argue that education allows us to find better jobs, which mean better food, shelter, and a higher chance at survival. (This somewhat supports Louis Menand’s theory 1 about selectivity (selectivity as a test for better survival) in his article “Live and Learn”) All of this shows that our world makes simple survival rather difficult. This is precisely the problem that the utopia proposed above would eliminate to improve everyones life.

In addition to this assurance of survival, this utopia has other benefits. It is a place where you can be what you want to be. A place where you have no restrictions and you can do what you want without consequences. Most importantly, this is a place where the beliefs of Thomas Hobbes from Leviathan simply do not exist since in this world, nobody can get hurt. Without this harm, people have no reason to be unified, and can live in their own self-interest freely. The only asterisk in this world is that it would have be somewhat inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in that anything that an individual creates that benefits the world will automatically be distributed to rest of the world (for mutual benefit). To be clear, everyone works for their self-interest, but if they find something that benefits others they share it in the spirit of Rousseau. With all these positives and the freedom to do what you want (John Locke’s belief in the Second Treatise of Government that freedom is the most important value), it is hard to imagine a world that could be any better. This is the world in which the grasshopper from Bernard Suits The Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia would dream of living.

To readers unfamiliar with Suits grasshopper, it is a rather sad story. The grasshopper believed that life should be all play, and that he would only do stuff if he felt that it was play. As a result, the grasshopper decides to not work hard (which is not playing) and decides to play. This leads to his eventual death. The grasshopper, however, believes that what everyone calls work is in many cases play (the grasshopper inherent) since they like to do it (a builder likes to build and this is his way of playing). In the world today, the grasshopper would not survive since there are requirements and mandatory work needed for survival. However, in the utopia, the grasshopper would survive since all necessities are provided for and he could play all day long. In this world full of freedom, self-interest, and play, everyone would be a grasshopper because there are no obligations and there are no restraints. Any action anyone would take would be due to their interest and their own perception of play. This is the world where progress would be made due to self-interest and self-enthusiasm. No company, person, or government could influence people to do work (in theory they may not even exist) and all work would be beneficial in a sense to everyone else (Rousseau’s ideology). By now, I hope you dream of this world as well; a world of grasshoppers apparent.

An Imagination of Utopia [2] (wikimedia)

The Sorority and the Reputation

Admit it, whenever you think about sororities you think about one thing: parties.Rush just finished, and all the new talk is about mixers and date parties. Instagram is swamped with various themed pictures, ranging from “little back dress” to “high school stereotypes.” While a sorority’s image may be effected by how much or how little they mix, what is a sorority really about? Why would girls join a group that only goes out on weeknights and tailgates on Saturday’s?

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North Korea: An attempt at Utopia?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Utopia”? Some might say it is another word for heaven. Others might say it is a non-existent, ideal place that our imperfect world strives to be like. The consensus of the definition of Utopia is that it is an imaginary place where all things are perfect.

“The Grasshopper: Games, LIfe and Utopia” by Bernard Suits (Cover Art).

On the contrary, in our Political Science 101 course reading of “Death of the Grasshopper” by Bernard Suits, Utopia is a place without science, morality, labor, art, sex, love and all things that make us human (Suits). To give some background about the story, there is a grasshopper that embodies leisure and play, and he argues the definition of Utopia with ants that represent hard-work ethic and dedication. Through a debate between the grasshopper and ants, Suits describes his stance on what the ideal world looks like. Even though the arguments that the grasshopper makes are persuasive and convincing, Suits’ conclusion that a Utopian society is barren and desolate seems paradoxical. For instance, to give a specific example, grasshopper convinces the ants that the arts do not exist in a perfect world. The reasoning behind this claim is because art is the expression of humanly features such as hopes, dreams, fears, victories, tragedies, imperfections, moral dilemmas, emotions, etc. (Suits). But assuming that all aspects of human needs and wants are satisfied in a Utopia, none of those listed features can exist. Through our lens of perception, Utopia sounds terrible because it will never exist unless we abandon our humanity. In that line of logic, Suits utilizes the grasshopper character to further this idea of a barren Utopia (if it were to exist in our world).

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