Utopia 3​

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A small synchronicity I will describe on a spontaneously arising topic that at first seemed arbitrary but now feels relevant and thematic.

 

Today, I was walking to a meeting in New York City, midtown, in the late afternoon when I passed an ordinary dry cleaners called Cleanatopia. Not sure why I became aware of this name--Cleanatopia nonetheless started me thinking about the suffix topia and how it implies abundance, heavenly, ideal, or something to do with utopias.

 

I mused on how a utopia may be defined as an earthly place that seems akin to paradise, is a community founded on certain strong idealistic or humanitarian philosophical principles, involves people of like mind living together in a genial collaborative way in which work is shared and the fruits of labor are enjoyed, with creativity often a part of the leisure experience. Some of the great utopian communities were created in the 18th and 19th centuries--some were made up of writers, artists, philosophers...and always idealists. Some lasted a long time (Findhorn in Scotland, I believe is still operating successfully as the famous community of gardeners in which spiritual principles help to grow fantastic vegetables and flowers). However, most utopias have not. So, I thought of how utopias are often temporary abodes. I then reflected on brands with the suffix topia that were popular for a time but then disappear, like the beverage Fruitopia from Coca Cola.

 

This musing on utopias probably lasted half a minute at most. Before I forgot about it, I thought to myself, I wonder whatever happened to utopias? They seem long gone.

 

I went to a concert, The Golden Key Salon, at Faust Harrison Pianos on 58th Street, where I heard a magnificent series of performances by great musicians to a small audience in a chamber music-type venue--pianist Pavel Gintov, cellist Aron Zelowicz, pianist Vanessa Fadial, violinist Gary Kosloski, singer Elizabeth Munn, and pianist Kathryn Olander were the artists performing Beethoven, Chopin, Faure, and Strauss. The Salon--in its third year--was founded by pianist-writer-visionary Madeline Bruser as part of her Golden Key Institute--a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and educating musicians to perform with ease and communicative power. I did the original qualitative research on the Institute, whose insights helped to support the idea of the Salon.

 

At the reception after the Salon, I met a man whose hair was tied up in an attractive pony tail, which I liked. We talked. He is a pianist and composer. He told me that he is moving in the next few days to a community in Hawaii on the Big Island created to support musicians who wish to live in a peaceful, creative way in a closed environment of visionary artistic people. He is moving to...a utopia.

 

Come to think of it, the idea of an enclosed, special environment where like-minded creative people can live and study and work is also attractive to me. I am considering a doctoral program on the West Coast (Santa Barbara) at Pacifica Graduate Institute--looking into their Mythology Ph.D Program which would be an exciting fit with my qualitative research and archetypal work. Pacifica is the university connected with Joseph Campbell and specializes in archetypes, depth psychology, and the mythic vision. In a sense, I have interest in the concept of a visionary academic community as utopia.

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