We will certainly hear more and more voices in the future, either on the forums of internet or from a lot of alternative gatherings and their reports, and, in fact, in every sphere of our society…, voices asserting they want to build "a brand new world" with the help of Ecology, the establishment of an «alternative community» or through one’s “changing life"!
This has happened a lot of times already; and in many countries; yet some people have started thinking that one has to hurry up now, saying that it is «high time» to do so, that a planetary emergency is taking place and that a new paradigm "will soon have to take place"!
These two trends of thoughts are well exposed and emphasized by the author of a book I just finished reading today!
Its author, Emmanuel-Yves Monin made numerous visits and even stayed in eco-villages, communities, ashrams and other alternative housing; for more than 30 years, he lived «among the Builders of Utopias» in several countries of the world; he even (co) created some, as is noted on the back-cover of his book.
What is really edifying, though, is that he shows, a parallel between today’s attempts of alternative «paradises» and most of those which bloomed in the past. Honoring their models, their theoreticians, researchers, Masters, the Fourier, Thoreau, etc. as well as their followers, those who tried to build according to their ideas and ideals: such as famous men like Owen, Godin and so many others!…
For a really vast coverage of this phenomenon, the author takes us along both the XXth and XXIst centuries and into the American or French Phalansteries of the XIXth century…
Most of his anecdotes and descriptions were gathered on the very premices (Mainly in France, U.S.A ., Australia and Spain): in the "hippy" Communes of the 60’s and 70’s, in villages or "alternative" areas of all kind, at Rainbow and Celtic gatherings, country music and "back to earth" festivals, as well as Burning Man, Nowhere and other friendly exposures of "utopian" philosophies…
The archives of the ex-Communards of the whole world were deciphered by Emmanuel-Yves Monin; and so were the forums on internet linked with them or used by their nostalgic would-be followers! Thesises, novels, songs and paintings about an edenic Golden Age to be brought back on earth are very often quoted; I must say that reading about these "utopian" existences set me in tune with the first «pioneers» of these ultimate and universal dreams and wishes; I vibrated (and my eyes went misty sometimes!) with their own «vibes»!
Obviously, the conclusion of such a huge study on so many locations is rather complex, with so many points of focus; yet the author knew how to pick up the most important themes and expose them in a very synthetic way; it will surely help anyone with such an «utopian» longing: either for a future concrete edification of a place of better living or in order to live happily, «here and now», under the eternal banner of Peace and Love, or of Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood…
I myself did know some of these "groups" of Seekers of Happiness, of «Peace Havens, of Paradise on earth»; that’s actually why I bought this book! Now, let me repeat that I was really "touched" by it: no doubt it was through the very "nostalgia" that the author is talking a lot about; he even seems to say that it is THE propellant towards any attempt "to change the world" and the only natural means to keep us within dynamic hopes and blissful creativity!
Furthermore, I must not forget to mention that the great idea the author had was to add the images, photos, articles which he collected while on this long adventure in Utopia: Thanks to Internet and its websites!
Will we get some help in our ways of handling our life and actions from all these (our) experiments?
The author goes through the most «in» philosophical terms used by many "alternative" people nowadays… His conclusions seem to me very "realistic", «down to earth»: a great way to offer a «method» to have both our feet on earth while walking towards Paradise!
«Among the Builders of Utopias» («Chez les bâtisseurs d'Utopies») (Emmanuel-Yves Monin)
Translated (sometimes freely !) from Géraldine S .
AND…you can use my translation if you feel like it!