Debate and Panel on Utopias Man's Role in Society

A panel discussion about utopias with thinkers like Dass, Montagu, and Ginsberg discussing their role in their ideal utopia.

THE PEOPLE'S ALMANAC'S EXCLUSIVE SYMPOSIUM ON UTOPIA

7. What would be YOUR role in this society?

Asimov: Since I would do exactly as I please in such a society, there would be no change in my role at all. I do exactly as I please right now--which is to be at my typewriter every minute I can manage, and to be quietly and happily with my wife every other minute I can manage. Is there more I could ask?

Buckley: Prophet.

Dass: A collaborative member, doing what has to be done ... just about the way it is now.

Fadiman: Just what it is now: to lead a harmless life whose main purpose seems to be to pay bills and taxes.

Ginsberg: Making my own passion, aggression, and ignorance more transparent through physical work and poetics and sitting meditation.

Michener: Almost what it is now. I have been pondering answers to this questionnaire for the past 60 years and have undergone a real education in doing so. I used to believe strongly that the death sentence should not be imposed--because by and large only Democrats were ever executed; Republicans could always buy their way free--but now I see that even if only Democrats are executed, they must be if they are totally inimical to society. I have changed on the question of how young people aged 18-28 should live, too, and in my basic attitudes toward women's rights. (I am a much stronger supporter of women's liberation than my wife or most of my women friends, who say, "We've got hold of a good thing and we don't want any changes that might upset it.") I would be willing, or even eager, to turn my earnings over to society in return for a good place to live and work, but again, most women are repelled by this prospect in that to them a home is the most important thing, so long as it can be paid for. And I suppose I would continue to fight for change, for better systems of life, for a stronger society. And I suppose there would always be a need for chroniclers to report what had happened or to guess about what might happen. I would probably be employed much as I am now, which is one of the reasons why I judge myself to have such a happy life.

Montagu: To do what I could as a citizen with whatever abilities I have to serve my idea of world community--an idea which begins at home in one's own community.

Untermeyer: I am a congenital dissenter. Even in a utopian society, I would challenge the slightest suggestion or stricture that would, in any way, threaten to limit the individual's right to free thought and spontaneous expression.

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