Date Published 23 May, 1831
Robert Malachi here, reporting to you today from the Washington Post, today I will be discussing the utopia known as The New Harmony. The New Harmony was established in the year 1825 and was disband in 1829. Although I will not be going very in depth on the New Harmony as a utopia unlike I will on my future articles, I am going to give you more of an idea of what utopia is and why people choose to live in them.
The Harmony Society was founded by Robert Owen, Owen was born in England in the year 1771. he then ventured to the United States in the year 1824, a year before the New Harmony was founded. Owen did not believe in God so there the utopia didn’t last as long as he had liked it to. People living at the New Harmony didn’t seem to have connections and the connections that were made were through manual labor, which isn’t the most ideal place to build relationships.(1) Everyday life at the town didn’t involve much affection, because Owen didn’t allow marriage he believed in what is called “free love”. The town also wasn’t just filled with people who didn’t understand the philosophy behind utopias they were mostly brilliant scholars and well versed intellectuals. They also seem to prefer thinking rather than working, they spent a lot of their days in the town conversing with one another. Although all of this constant conversation and thinking really may have seem like the ideal world to them Owen was having to make up for the work they weren’t doing by using almost all of the family fortune, a total of 200,000 dollars.(2) Although the utopia seemed to last more than others of its time it still was unsuccessful according to Owen. He created a place where people felt safe and were enjoying themselves, but they had a parasitic relationship. Owen got what he wanted out of the New Harmony for the first few years then he really didn’t seem to benefit at all, if anything it seemed to negative affective him. He had to leave the utopia and his sons, David and Richard remained in the utopia until it shorty ended after Owen left in the year 1829. The New Harmony then broke off after his sons took charge. Now in 1834, the New Harmony still continues to exist as a town, but the buildings of what was the New Harmony have been closed for the public. (3)
Would you want to be part of a utopia? Well, I know I wouldn’t, it would be odd to me how their would be no conflict in a world that is split off from what is actually going on outside of their own town. It would feel more like of a purgatory to me. The main people wanted to be part of utopias was because they strongly agreed with the religion of transcendentalism: a system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience. (4) I don’t identify myself with transcendentalism personally and the reason I wouldn’t want to be a part of a utopia is because everyones utopia is different now a days no one has the exact same ideal world or we would hopefully be living in it. People I talked to over the years about why they happened to join certain utopias is because they felt like they weren’t surrounded with people who wanted to enjoy life. Others simply joined because they didn’t have anyone else and wanted to feel like they were a part of a bigger community so they wouldn’t end up grieving their way to death. In the next few years I will be following the trend of utopias and seeing where they go, I will mainly be examining what works and what doesn’t work to try and find the guidelines for what truly makes a utopia, a utopia for a more than one type of person.