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In Search of Utopia…

 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:

 1.      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.

 2.      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 this:

 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.