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 Rays from the Rose Cross

March/April 2002

Mystic Life
Utopian Options
by Elsa M. Glover

UTOPIAS in general, aim at minimizing suffering. Any living being who is metaphorically or actually imprisoned, tied down, bound, or petrified will chafe against these restraints and thus suffer. To see this happening just look at lions in small cages or dogs tied up. The first requirement for minimizing suffering in a society is to let people be free, provided they are not interfering with other people's freedom. All Utopias need a Bill of Rights which protects individual freedoms. But more is required, because even free people may experience suffering.

There are some human actions which lead free people to suffer and other human actions which lead to happiness. If people are wise, they will choose those actions which lead to happiness. Thus, the suffering of free people is the result of people making unwise choices. Different utopias may have different ways of trying to minimize the number of unwise choices that will be made.

Utopia I:

Determine who in society is wise. This may be done by looking at people's resumes and transcripts, getting recommendations from other people, or by tests of some sort. Those who are chosen to be wise will have two roles. One role is to establish the laws and governmental procedures of the society, and to change them when they need to be changed. The other role is to act as educators of the less wise, to teach them what is wise.

One weakness of Utopia I is the difficulty of determining who is wise. lt takes a wise person to recognize a wise person. lf the people who are determining who is wise are not themselves wise, then wise people may not get chosen.  

Another weakness is that a small group of people at the top (however wise they are) cannot know all the details of localized situations, and thus may construct solutions which do not work at the local level. Another weakness of Utopia I is that attempting to teach people to be wise has limited effectiveness. One can try to teach people what actions have good results but it is impossible to cover all possible situations. Also, if people do not foresee consequences for themselves, they may not believe what they were taught and thus may not follow their instruction in actual situations.

Utopia II:

When people make choices and then experience the consequences, gradually they increase in the knowledge of what
choices are wise and what are unwise. Utopia II aims to maximize the number of choices made by all people in order to help them move toward becoming wise. A society which maximizes people's opportunities to make choices is a society which is built by the people within it. The laws, economic policies, political structures, and educational system are all democratically chosen by the people who will have to live with the consequences. lf the people make choices which do not work well, then they can observe the effects and modify their choices.

One strength of Utopia II is that when everyone is involved in making choices, the collective wisdom of all those making choices may be greater than the collective wisdom of just a few wise people making choices. Another strength of Utopia II is that it will move closer and closer toward perfection as the individuals within it grow. A weakness of Utopia II is that although people are learning, they will make a lot of mistakes along the way, and these will result in sorrow and suffering.

Utopia III:

Some may take an entirely different route to minimizing suffering. People can be happy with things as they are if they ecase to desire that they he any different. Thus, people can make themselves happy by changing their attitude toward the state of things.

One disadvantage with this utopia is that if people are happy with their existence as it is, then no effort will be made think about problems, solve them or make changes. No effort will be made to go on adventures. Thus people's minds, creativity and initiative will not be stimulated to develop.

Another problem with Utopia III is that the world is continuously changing. To stay happy, people must continuously change what they are happy with. lf they don't, they will find themselves just wishing for the "good old days, happiness at all. But to continuously change what one is happy with can lead one to mental inconsistencies.

One advantage of Utopia III is that no special societal organization is required for it. Anyone who wishes to funetion in Utopia III can mentally put himself there at any time he chooses.

Utopia, IV:

Some people, instead of being happy with things as they are, disconnect from reality and build dreams of how they would like things to be, and then live in their dreams. (lf one can return to reality when he chooses or when the need arises, he is not called insane. lf he has no control over his disconnection, we call him insane.)

Some dreamers of dreams are among the most creative people in the world, and may create the dreams which later can be brought into reality and benefit the world. Some dreamers of dreams end up as wards of the state and thus (although happy themselves) may put a strain on the happiness of the rest of the world. Some dreamers, although seeking happy dreams, may not have control over what they dream and may end up with nightmares.

Utopia IV does not require any special societal organization to support it. People can do it individually, although some work at it collectively and support one another's dreams.

Utopia V:

This utopia is the New Jerusalem described in Revelation in the Bible. After describing a number of tribulations (tests, ordeals) Ąt says (Rev. 19,: 7-8), "For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure -for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of saints," and (Rev 21: 1-4) "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth .... And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and 1 heard a great voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling of God is with men .... He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be pain any more, for the former things have passed away." Thus, people in the New Jerusalem have achieved the Mystic Marriage, obtained the unification of the self-consciousness with the All- consciousness (God is with men) and have the elixir of life (death shall be no more), and as a result are living without suffering (neither shall there be pain any more). However, it goes on to say (Rev 22: 14-15), "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who lives and practices falsehood. "

Utopia V is perfect in every way except that people cannot get into it unless they have achieved the Mystic Marriage. Because most people on earth today have ndt achieved the Mystic Marriage, this utopia will not work for societies on earth today. Imperfect people do not need a society which expects them to already be perfect, but rather they need a society which gives them the opportunity to grow.

Some groups may try to approach Utopia V by making themselves exclusive of anyone who does not meet some set of criteria. But whatever the criteria, problents are bound to arise. People who are not perfect themselves cannot expect to live in a perfect utopia.  

Which Utopia will we choose? Utopia V is ruled out because people have not achieved the Mystic Marriage. Utopias III and IV can be chosen by individuals at any tiene, so no societal choice is necessary for them to occur. The choice for societies is then between Utopias I and II, or some combination of the two. Using a combination of Utopias I and II may
have the advantage that the weaknesses of both are then somewhat mitigated.

In the United States today we do have a combination of Utopias I and II (with III and IV also occurring when individuals choose them). We do have a Bill of Rights. To some extent the wise (as best as we can determine) are chosen to make decisions and teach others. To some extent individuals in general make choices and live with the consequences. Maybe, then, the United States is the best place to foster utopian goals. Here the word, 'best' is taken not as a static best, but best in the sense of giving citizens the best opportunity to experience life, learn, and grow spiritually with no more suffering than is necessary.

-Elsa M. Glover

 Utopia is an end point
 That is yet too fast to grasp.
 What we needīs a process
 That will get us there at last.
 What we consider utopia
 Depends on how we think and feel.
 So this process must allow
 Each to seek his own ideal.
 In this process people need freedom
 To make mistakes and explore.
 That is the only route to
 The only way to learn to soar.
 In this process we can help one
 By respecting the rights of all
 By encouraging new efforts,
 Offering help to those who fall.
 Thus can we move forward
 īTill we reach the far off time
 When all have finally reached
 Their utopia sublime.

Elsa M. Glover




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 #7 SUMMER 2004

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