Cracks, sometimes hardly noticeable and difficult to detect. Sometimes so large and deep that they cannot be overlooked. All these cracks are expressions of the times we live in. Times of disruption that we face as individuals as well as society – disruption of life plans, habits, values, personal relationships and in the workplace.

What are the consequences?

A state of unrest is perceptable in social life. We are forced to deal with disruptions emotionally and rationally, to distance ourselves, to open up, to reposition ourselves. We are experiencing significant changes in our everyday life and in our surroundings. These changes are strongly influenced by topics such as digitisation, climate change, hypercapitalism as well as being confronted with complexity and aesthetic diversity.

How do people deal with these changes and what role do utopias play?

In order to navigate through challenging times, more and more people are seeking their own, individual utopias – in many situations and forms.

Like all utopias, individual utopias contextualise a human’s need for change in a certain direction. They symoblise a form of critique of the present, and stand for individual approaches to find a way to exit or move through current circumstances. This is often accompanied by aspiration and hope, but also encompass frustration and anxiety.

What is utopian energy?

I call the driving force behind the desire for change in a certain direction utopian energy.

Utopian energy is a state of transformative urge that arises from the utopian potential of the human being in interaction with the utopian potential of the world in which they live. The higher the sum of utopian potentials, the higher the degree of utopian energy.

The transformative urge in turn finds an energetic form in utopian thinking. We have the ability to form an idea of the better and to strive towards it. The human being therefore has an unconscious and conscious ability or potential to think utopian. This energetic potential is an immanent part of our human existence.

The development of humanity has always been accompanied by the connection to its environment. This embedding in our environment takes place in the physical (e.g. ecosystem) as well as our social environment (e.g. culture). As sensual-emotional, cognitive-social organisms, we are inseparably connected to our living environment. We have an effect on it and it has an effect on us. This contextual reference is also found in relation to utopia. Every utopia is born from its time, has been influenced by the past and will influence the future. It is therefore logical to include the utopian potential of the living world in the concept of utopian energy. In doing so, man and the environment function as both energy carrier and source.

What is the significance of form?

The utopian potential of human beings and the utopian potential of their environment are closely related. They interact with each other. It is through this interaction that utopian energy ultimately takes shape.

Here, the consideration of the transition from the formless to the form through the form-giving and form-taking is important. The formless describes the potential which is basically present but not tangible and not yet directed. The form-giving comprises the transition from the formless to the form. It includes the beginning of the forming and the forming itself. This process is tantamount to „raising“ from the unconscious to the conscious. The form, although manifested, nevertheless carries a transience within itself, which can be transformed into the formless again by the form-taking.

To form the state of transformative urge, giving space is crucial. Change in a certain direction requires a reflection of the present. When the utopian energy has formed itself as an impulse, it is important to give space for the development of this impulse as well.

Why is the utopian so important?

Despite all kinds of criticism, some of it justified, the value of the utopian should not be underestimated. It supports the creation of thought experiments and opens up space for questioning and challenging. Do we want to create cracks, how should they heal or scar? How do we as individuals react, how do we as a society react to disruptions and their consequences and – last but not least – how can and do we want to intervene in a creative way?

© Markus Feiler | home