Friday, May 19, 2017

Thomas More and utopia

Thomas More (1478-1535) was an influential lawyer and philosopher best known writing the book Utopia published In 1516. More was also counselor to Henry VIII 1529-1532 in England. Referring to his book Wikipedia says,
Utopia contrasts the contentious social life of European states with the perfectly orderly, reasonable social arrangements of Utopia and its environs (Tallstoria, Nolandia, and Aircastle). In Utopia, there are no lawyers because of the laws' simplicity and because social gatherings are in public view (encouraging participants to behave well), communal ownership supplants private property, men and women are educated alike, and there is almost complete religious toleration (except for atheists, who are allowed but despised).
This post is a collection of quotes from More's describing his vision of Utopia.


"The island of Utopia is in the middle two hundred miles broad, and holds almost at the same breadth over a great part of it, but it grows narrower towards both ends... The channel is known only to the natives; so that if any stranger should enter into the bay without one of their pilots he would run great danger of shipwreck." (Utopia, 1516)

"They have but few laws, and such is their constitution that they need not many. They very much condemn other nations whose laws, together with the commentaries on them, swell up to so many volumes; for they think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws that are both of such a bulk, and so dark as not to be read and understood by every one of the subjects." (Utopia, 1516)

"They have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of people whose profession it is to disguise matters and to wrest the laws, and, therefore, they think it is much better that every man should plead his own cause, and trust it to the judge, as in other places the client trusts it to a counsellor; by this means they both cut off many delays and find out truth more certainly." (Utopia, 1516)


"There are several sorts of religions, not only in different parts of the island, but even in every town; some worshipping the sun, others the moon or one of the planets." (Utopia, 1516)

"...he therefore thought it indecent and foolish for any man to threaten and terrify another to make him believe what did not appear to him to be true... he therefore left men wholly to their liberty, that they might be free to believe as they should see cause. "  (Utopia, 1516)

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