I have a friend who every once in a while gets disgusted with the day-to-day stresses, and the news filled with violence and starts on her tirade of wanting to find a place where the people act more like grown ups than little kids.

A utopia, she says, that’s what she wants. A place where people don’t kill each other because their politics or religions differ, or because they want the shoes that someone else is wearing, or just because they feel like it. A place where everyone lives happily ever after, with no strife, no stress, and no worries.

I also abhor violence, and wish that we could all live in a world where everything is clean, beautiful, and peaceful; where there’s no illness, no war, and no discord (sort of a Disneyworld on steroids). But I also know that while it’s a great fantasy, it’s not really the point of our being here.

Everyone is here because they want to learn, they want to experience all the things that physical life can be. Earth is like a giant school, filled with students from every level, and let’s face it, schools are tumultuous, especially when everyone is learning different lessons at different speeds. That means there’s going to be discord—but that’s okay, because without discord, there’s no change, and without change, there’s no growth. There’s also going to be stress and strife, after all, you’re talking human beings here.

In this vast school of ours, you have grammar school kids mixed with middle school kids, mixed with high school and college kids, and along the way you’ll probably also encounter one or two student teachers.

The youngest kids aren’t really much trouble. They pretty much keep to themselves, exploring the surroundings, and getting used to the whole concept of being here and figuring out what is expected of them.

Then there are the toddlers. They squabble and fight, bicker, and act like your typical kid. It’s all “mine, mine, mine” and “no, no, no”, and teaching them to share and to resolve issues without hitting or biting becomes a full-time responsibility for some of the older students. Some of your best soldiers are toddlers. And some of your worst political leaders are also toddlers.

The middle school students have replaced the overt bad behaviors of the little kids with more subtle, manipulative behaviors. They’ve figured out how to subvert the rules, manipulate the players of whatever game they’re participating in, and find the loopholes. They know how to get their own way, even if it takes years. It’s like walking into a house to find the lamp broken, the plants knocked over, and while you’re focusing on that, you don’t even realize that someone has taken all the money you had hidden in the cookie jar. (Sound like most of the politicians and bankers you know?)

The high schoolers are enamored of the stuff they can get on the physical plane—beauty, power, money, fame—these become their goals, and they will try overt tactics and subversive maneuvers to attain these goals. They’re the ones scrambling to become super models, big league ball players, and corporate moguls.

The college students are aimed at finding some peace (and quiet). They work at monitoring the playground, breaking up the squabbles, reinforcing the rules, and just trying to keep everyone happy (including themselves). But they’re not all perfect, either, don’t make that mistake. Even adults (young, middle aged, or older) squabble; we argue; we bicker, and sometimes we totally forget that we’re supposed to be watching the younger kids and setting a good example for them.

The student teachers are the those who make appearances every 1000 years or so, leaving behind their words of wisdom, deeds of love and altruism, and the hope that we can all reach their level. People such as Yeshua, Buddha, Gandhi, or Mohammad have all left their mark on our little school.

But the most important thing we need to remember is that we’re all human, and humans learn best by trial and error. Therefore, as long as we’re using the world as our playground and learning center, it will never be a Utopia, because you can’t learn in a world that’s already perfect.


3 thoughts on “Utopia

  1. I love this description. I can see all the kids in the school playground, some squabbling, others playing together nicely. Thanks for the visuals.


  2. Glad I saved this post for when I had time and presence of mind to appreciate it! Although the analogy has been made many times, you put these thoughts into a truly descriptive image!

    We high schoolers have to balance the essential need to find that inner peace and quiet with the need for us to be out in the world, leading by example, and occasionally providing a timely kick in the butt to the squabbling toddlers and middle school kids…LOL.


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