Thomas More's Utopia

The first person to write a classic statement for an ideal society in the last 400 years was Thomas More who wrote Utopia in 1516. He even invented the name. We learn in the Divine Principle that there was a 400 year period of preparation for the Messiah beginning in 1517. More's book fits into this preparation period by being one of many angles that God was using to prepare mankind for the Messiah who would be born in 400 years and bring the message that God indeed wants an ideal world and He has a plan that will bring it about.

More realized that a way of life was passing and that a new, uncertain one was being forged. He wrote 'Utopia' as a protest against the breakdown of the old order. To make his protest effective he described an ideal commonwealth in which people have to work only six hours a day, leaving plenty of time for leisure. Everyone lives in a pleasant home surrounded by a garden. Communities have good schools and hospitals. Education is compulsory, and every student learns at least one trade. Food is given out at public markets and community dining halls. Children, after their earliest years, leave home and are brought up by public authorities. The rulers are selected by secret ballot from among the best-educated citizens. Lawyers are unnecessary because there are so few laws.

More's book shares two primary characteristics of all utopian literature. It criticizes the present as an unhappy time, and it proposes an alternative society in which the state is exalted over the individual.

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