UTOPIA OR DYSTOPIA?
Auroville is awash with activities ranging from a variety of courses dealing with self improvement to practical activities from farming to pottery to presenting shows of music, dance and drama. Among those we have attended was a more than competent performance of Khatchaturian’s violin concerto with an excellent pianist taking the part of the orchestra and a brilliant monologue based on the Mother’s follower Satprem whose ‘agenda’ offers much insight into Auroville.
Many persons spend most of their time in the ideal city attending the multifarious events and moving from one venue to the other by motorbike, cycle or scooter. It was a bit of a shock to see western families riding on a two-wheeler, often three on a seat indian-style, and usually without a crash helmet.
Auroville can be very tempting, indeed engulfing but can we be certain that it is an earthly utopia? I have yet to come across a completely genuine one. From Thomas More’s original formulation in the sixteenth century and even earlier with Plato’s Republic it’s impossible in my opinion to guarantee the continuance of the founders’ high ideals. After all, the admirable concepts delineated by Karl Marx degenerated into Stalin’s reign of terror and at the present time those lured by the promise of an instant heaven are suffering under the most awful inversion of utopia into dystopia in the middle east.
All communities while pursuing praiseworthy axioms of unity and harmony are subject to the vagaries of the human species: an affirmation of individuality, an unwillingness to fully compromise, a determination which so easily degenerates into fanaticism and a questioning nature leading to scepticism and ultimate disillusionment.
I wonder how long Auroville will continue to inspire people from all over the world to visit it and participate in it. Will the original ideas of the Mother be modified? Would she be happy to see it as it is today?
Only time can tell.