The Imperfect Society

There was a time when I thought about what a perfect society should be like; I still do sometimes. Eventually, there were two painful realizations: First, there probably isn't such a thing as a perfect society, even in theory. Second, even if there is, I don't live in one.


For years I kept thinking over the wrong question, seeking the non-existent Utopia... because it was the easy thing to do. Just hide away from the world, sit alone in your room and work out your own version of a Republic. Convenient. Except you can't hide forever. Sooner or later, no matter how individualistic you may be in ideology, you realize that there are lives attached to you. Sticky organic lives, which you can't tear apart without bleeding yourself. I was suddenly thrown into the whole mess unprepared. What is a guy, whose head is full of potential blueprints for a perfect society, supposed to do when he is forced to live in an imperfect society?


Suddenly all those 'lesser mortals' appeared more well-adjusted to live in this world, because they had never asked the question "What is Utopia?". They had never sought a higher world, and had learned to live in this one. I had sought a higher world, and I learned to live in none. So, it was after the realization that I began to ask myself the question: "How should one live in an imperfect society?" This is the question that matters. How should you compromise between what you think is right and what the society expects you to do? What should you do when you don't even know what's right? What values to keep, what values to sacrifice? Perhaps this requires what we call 'sense of judgment', 'wisdom'. And wisdom cannot be codified and systematized.

We cannot suddenly radically transform a society; nor can we create a society out of nothing. We have to work with what we have got, and what we have got is a small but significant sphere of influence. Your very own micro-cosmos: that tiny little world where you can make your own decisions, where you can speak your mind, where you can be yourself, where you can influence others. This could be just you and your best friend. This could be your Facebook life. This could be your blog.

Find your micro-cosmos. Use it to start a ripple of change. You cannot build a perfect society, but you can try to build your life, whatever you can, as much as you can. Be yourself because a life is more convincing than an argument.


Aeish said…
That's a very touching post Awais, once again..You know life is always difficult for people who don't take things as given..When you start pondering on why things exist the way they do and why not better, it always leaves a lot of question marks but i really like what you said about micro cosmos! ")
Butters said…
Great insights. I went through pretty much the exact same journey. I used to ponder over what the ideal society should be like, and I realized that even theoretically it didn't work out.

This is also one of the reasons I'm so critical of the Left. They think you can just have a revolution, turn everything upside down, then build utopia from scratch. It doesn't work that way, it turns out.
Butters said…
A life is more convincing than an argument. Exactly! :D
Kunwal said…
this is a good post awais. remember the story i posted you many months ago about the man who wanted to change the world and gradually settled for less? it has the same point. :)
Ubaid said…
very touchy reflections awais.
Anonymous said…
So you live?


Many idealist burn when exposed to sunlight. and scarred they ruin the landscape.
Anonymous said…
realy a very good post once again!
ALE Xpressed said…
Idealism doesn't seem to work, but still one can't say it doesn't have a future. Thats an irony.