Why Utopia is Impossible

Utopia is impossible for humans, at least, because we are wired for conflict. Even inner conflict.

“Without anxiety little would be accomplished,” notes David Barlow of Boston University, as quoted in an Atlantic cover story on anxiety.

“The performance of athletes, entertainers, executives, artisans, and students would suffer; creativity would diminish; crops might not be planted,” notes Barlow, founder emeritus of the university’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. “And we would achieve that idyllic state long sought after in our fast-paced society of whiling away our lives under a shade tree. This would be as deadly for the species as nuclear war.”

So what then do we strive for?


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