Monday, March 22, 2021

Kołakowski: On the Utopian Mentality

The utopian mentality is devoid of historical consciousness; it views the past as evil and oppressive and does not believe in stage by stage advancement from one level of existence to the next. Leszek Kołakowski has given a good description of the utopian mentality that has been the driver of European politics since the eighteenth century: “History is portrayed as catastrophic, not evolutionary… There is a radical discontinuity between the world as it is and as it will be; a violent leap is needed to do away with the past; a new time will start.” The utopians ignore the will of the people, and advocate despotic means for achieving their promised land. Kołakowski defines the idea of utopia as “a desperate desire to attain absolute perfection; this desire is a degraded remnant of the religious legacy in nonreligious minds.”

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