The real utopia: This ancient civilisation thrived without war

The Indus civilisation seems to have flourished for 700 years without armour, weapons, inequality or royalty. Here’s how to build a paradise on Earth

utopia_main-800x533
Ancient Indus Valley Civilization.

PICTURE a peace-loving Atlantic island ruled by reason. Its 54 cities are governed by educated officials and an elected-for-life prince. Although war hasn’t been abolished, it is used only as a last resort. People see no glory in fighting, and capture enemies rather than kill them. This is the original Utopia – the pagan, communist and pacifist world sketched out exactly 500 years ago in Thomas More’s eponymous work of fiction.

More’s book has exerted a powerful pull on our imaginations – not least through utopian science fiction. But in a world of autocracy, fanaticism and terrorism, it seems as far from reality as ever. Indeed, arguments still rage about his true intention. His title, derived from the ancient Greek ou-topos – meaning “no place” – is a pun on eu-topos, “good place”. Was More proposing a blueprint of an ideal society or satirising the self-interest, greed and military exploits of the hereditary monarchies of his time?

On one thing nearly everyone agrees: no utopia has ever existed. Large human societies tend to be governed by coercion. The instinct for warfare has been a driving force in nearly every civilisation of the last five millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the British Empire.

Or has it? One mysterious, ancient society might give the lie to that. The civilisation of the Indus valley is the most enigmatic of the four great early civilisations. But while Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt and ancient China gloried in warfare, it seems absent from the Indus valley. Was this a real, functioning utopia? If so, how did it survive, and why did it eventually disappear?

Read more » New Scientist
See more » https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130910-200-indus-the-only-great-civilisation-ever-to-survive-without-war/

Advertisements

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. Although IAOJ does not monitor comments posted to this site (and has no obligation to), it reserves the right to delete, edit, or move any material that it deems to be in violation of this rule.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s