Utopias are not just a work of fiction
Throughout this semester we have seen that achieving perfection comes at a great price. Many of the literature and film we have seen in this course has shown that Utopia is not all that its cracked up to me. We know that we have to surrender some of our liberties for “the greater good” whether it’s our freedom, our bodies, or even to let other people determine who we are or where we fit in society, the theme of Utopia that we have researched in this course ultimately comes down to giving up something to gain something else.
To achieve Utopia, we create labels of powerful elites and the unfortunate people who don’t quite live up to those standards. It is often these elites who try to marginalize and make sure that everyone sticks to their prescribed roles and order is maintained.
Gattaca is a great example of those utopian themes that incorporate elements of discrimination and oppression which are very relevant now in our own society and our history. The utopian aspect of Gattaca touches on aspirations of perfection that can be achieved by setting a group to be dominant over another which reflect the undesirable qualities that they are trying to remove.
In the futuristic society of Gattaca genetic superiority is the way of marginalizing society much like racial superiority and discrimination works in our current one. As mentioned earlier, when we strive for utopia certain liberties must be surrendered and people must abide by the strict rules and regulations that have been set in place which create more chaos than anything else. The article Dystopia in Gattaca and Discrimination against Genes talks about the elements of utopia which focus on creating a perfect that quckly turns into a dystopia
A world attempting to create utopia by genetically enhancing reproduction does not leave much to an otherwise natural process, and this can ultimately lead to more destruction than perfection.
When we try to create perfection, we end up destroying the simple qualities that make us human and we begin to look at others differently and create animosity towards them.
In the film, Triumph of the Will we are reminded of how utopian ideologies are destructive and attempt to marginalize and make deviants of the members of the opposing group.
Hitler, is a great utopian leader. Through his parades and nationalistic rhetoric he was able to convince millions of people that they were the superior race and that they possessed the qualities that separated them from others. He did manage to create a utopia which put the Germans in the positions of the genetic elites that resembled that of Gattaca, and was able to marginalize Jews just as the genetic undesirables in Vincent’s society.
Often we think that Hitler’s actions deplorable, yet we find reflections of it in our society every day as we strive for our own version of utopia. Whether it is a world where technology and numbers are law, of where perfection is achieved through genetic and racial purity utopias thrive on loss of personal freedoms and individualities.
Often when we think of what it would be to live in the perfect world we tend to forget that there is a price to pay and these films remind us what achieving utopia really entails. Many people would like to think that we currently live in utopia if they are part of the elites but seeing the kinds similarities between these two works, one that is fiction and one that is true and a very painful part of our history, remind us that these ideas of achieving superiority and perfection are very real and the ways to achieve them are as horrific as the literature and films we have encountered in this course.
Diversity is essential to happiness and in Utopia there is hardly any. This is a defect in all planned social systems.
— Bertrand Russell