We have just finished our experience with Warriors
Don’t Cry, and we are about to embark on a reading of a new book,
Brave New World. To prepare yourself for reading this new text, we’ll
be doing a couple activities…. This is one of them.
What you need to know to start this activity is the
word utopia. A “utopia” is an ideally perfect place, especially in
its social, political, and moral aspects. The concept of utopia was
probably invented not long after humans started living in societies, and
realizing a utopia continues to evade us even though historically many
people have attempted to create one (ask Mr. Kos about this).
Despite the failures of those who have come before
you, your task is to start designing a utopia with a couple of your
classmates. You may work with 1 or 2 other people (a.k.a. groups that total
2 or 3) on this assignment.
WHAT TO DO:
Select 4 major problems with modern day society that you think
need to be eliminated in order to start creating a utopia. These
problems should be wide-spread and legitimate issues, not trivial or petty
grievances. Example: “Racism” is an acceptable problem. “Not enough pink
shirts for men” and “Too much homework” are not acceptable.
Write these 4 problems
down as a numbered list labeled “Problems with Modern Society” on a separate
sheet of paper.
For each problem, write a paragraph that describes a solution to
the problem. Label each paragraph according to the problem it belongs to.
Needless to say, the solution aspect is the hard part. It is also the
fun part because although I’m asking you to think like real problem-solvers,
I’m also encouraging creativity.
For example, let’s say that
one of the problems you selected was “greed,” that people in modern society
are simply too greedy for their own goods. Your solution might read like
To solve the problem of
people’s greed, you simply need to eliminate “desire.” If people don’t want
anything, then they certainly can’t want more of something, right?
To do this, I suggest developing a drug which will be named “Zappatheia.”
This drug will target the neurons in the brain that are stimulated when a
person “wants” something. It should only have an effect on humans and have
no real effects of any kind on other beings. This drug could then be
slipped into the world’s water-supplies—hence eliminating people’s need to
actually possess the wealth to buy the product. Theoretically, then, there
will always be some of the drug in each person’s system so that when they
have a desire, the drug will automatically curb their yearning. Test
studies will need to be done to check for dosage levels and whether people
can build up a tolerance to Zappatheia. There may come a time when a simply
implantation device might be put into each new child in order to better
regulate the dosage of the drug for each individual.
Here’s the catch:
You will need to present your solutions to your classmates and the teacher.
Together, your peers and the teacher will question your group and then
decide whether we think your solution is going to work. So you will want to
make your solution as solid and as thorough as possible. If you create
something that doesn’t exist yet, you must explain it in a way so we can
understand what it is and how it will work (like I did with “Zappatheia”).
Final note of caution:
Your solutions should not all read like
the same solution.
Therefore, whatever other problems I might try to find, I cannot try to
solve them with a drug; I’ll have to think of a different solution.
Each group will only turn
in ONE paper. You will have two class periods to complete this work (and as
you can see by my sample paragraph, you shouldn’t be writing just 3
sentences of explanation per solution).
On the third day
(Thursday), each group will present their two best solutions to the class
and turn in all work for a grade.