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.


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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