Posts tagged with "Utopia"

illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Our New Era of Seeking

By: Howard Mansfield

Times of upheaval release new ideas. Old routines falter, are challenged, and may be overturned. The pandemic has scrambled the old order, making change possible. We are reinventing the office, increasing pay for “essential” workers, questioning police practices, and trying to root out systematic racism.

Swept up in changes that leave so many of us feeling adrift and unsettled, t’s important to remember that we’ve always had this churning in America. Change is our tradition. The early 19th Century saw a feverish era of reform, utopias, and new religions. There were many experimenters in the land. Americans were once full of the mad energy of Utopianists, as if they were convulsed by the falling away of boundaries, driven crazy with possibility. They produced an astonishing array of utopias and religions, almost at the rate Ford once rolled new models and styles off the assembly line, new ideas about sharing property, work, and love.

“We are all a little wild here with numberless projects of social reform. Not a reading man but has a draft of a new Community in his waistcoat pocket,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote to Thomas Carlyle in 1840. “One man renounces the use of animal food; and another of coin; and another of domestic hired service; and another of the State; and on the whole we have a commendable share of reason and hope.” Emerson’s own friends were planning an experimental commune. “I am gently mad myself, and am resolved to live cleanly,” said Emerson, but he would not join. His close friend Henry David Thoreau would conduct his own experiment in living, arriving at Walden Pond on Independence Day in 1845.

What became of those 19th Century experiments?

  • Some upstart, raucous religious awakenings and revivals became some of the mainline religions we know today; others burned bright and hot, before disappearing. The Methodists and Universalists are familiar to us, but you won’t find a church nearby for the Janssonists, Dorrilites, Dancing Johnites or scores of other small bands of believers.
  • Many utopias ended in folly, foundering on the most basic needs, like food and shelter. You can proselytize for a grand reordering of society, but first someone has to be able to grow a carrot and patch the roof to keep out the rain. The Shakers were America’s most successful utopia, thriving in 19 communities, and leaving us their impressive realization of a heavenly order on earth in every, tool, chair, box or meetinghouse they built, and in the 10,000 songs they “received.”
  • The reform movements for the abolition of slavery, for temperance, and women’s rights were a marathon races. Each transformed America.

These social experiments have important lessons for us today: It takes many people in debate to reform society. There is rarely a clear, neat path. Reform and change isn’t a railroad running from station to station. It’s never the tidy textbook history. Sometimes reforms don’t arrive where the reformers want. The temperance movement’s success with Prohibition was its undoing.

We need to recognize that we may be in a new era of experimentation. We have to give these experiments room to grow or fail. We need let people try many things, even if they may be contradictory.

Too often we make ourselves dizzy chasing trends. After a few months we’re too ready to call a movement or a new design for life, out of fashion, over – It’s so 2020.  We move on.  But it takes time to go from protest to legislation to a real change in behavior. A lot of time.

We also need to let ideas fail. They may need to fail to clear the way for reinvention, for another try. “The business of social change is tough. You never get all you go for, and you usually don’t get credit for what you do get,” says David S. Meyer, a professor of Sociology, and the author of How Social Movements (Sometimes) Matter.

And change isn’t a story that can be told in the blip of a sound bite. “We tell shorter stories about movements (Rosa Parks sat down, the world stood up) because we lack patience and context, and the shorter stories are more inspiring,” says Meyer. “It’s never one event, action, demonstration, statement, or lawsuit that makes the difference; rather, it’s an accumulation of efforts. All victories take forever. And they’re never enough, and certainly not necessarily permanent.”

All reforms are unfinished. Slavery was abolished, yes. But what is freedom? What is equality? And what was is owed to the formerly enslaved and their descendants? We’re still facing those questions today.

The lesson from previous eras of upheaval is that those dreams took rough strife and patience to give us renewed rights and new possibilities. The reform movements of the past could be ugly, upsetting and wasteful, but they got us to today. And just where is that? At the starting line. America is always at the starting line.

The takeaway is this: Give the reforms of our pandemic era time. Let things fail; let things restart.

About The Author

Howard Mansfield writes about history, architecture, and preservation by sifting through the commonplace and the forgotten to discover stories that tell us about ourselves and our place in the world. He is the author of a dozen books, including the just-published Chasing Eden: A Book of Seekers (Bauhan Publishing).

Illustration by Alex Bogdan for use of 360 Magazine

THE RISING DEMAND FOR LIFE ON THE SEA

Private residence ships on the rise appealing to record numbers of remote workers

Condos on residential yachts and ships increasing in popularity as people look for new ways to live and work

People have more flexibility to work and study remotely than ever before, causing a sudden demand for apartments on residential yachts and ships. As travel resumes, many are making new lifestyle choices rather than returning to the daily grind. While pre-pandemic digital nomads embraced travel as a lifestyle, they found the jet lag and living out of a suitcase to be wearisome. Condo ships claim to have the answer: unpack once and travel the world from the comfort of home. There are several residential ships on the horizon. Here’s an overview of what’s on the market.

‘Narrative’ by Storylines is a new-build, liquid natural gas (LNG) powered ship launching in 2024. The ship is 741’ long with 533 residences. The smallest condominiums available at press time start at 237 sq ft and go for $360k for a 12-year lease, with annual fees of $60k. The largest units currently available are 1,529 sq ft condos and can be purchased for $7.7M with annual fees of $205k. Fees include housekeeping, laundry, meals, beverages, medical visits and spa services. With green technologies, a hydroponic garden and a zero-waste market, it will be one of the most environmentally sustainable ships at sea. The itinerary is focused on leisurely circumnavigating the globe every three-and-a-half years with 3-5 days in most ports. The ship has office space for remote workers and an education program for families with kids. For people who want to pay a reasonable amount on a new ship with a diverse community, more time in ports, and don’t mind waiting, this ship is an excellent option. 

The World’ by ResidenSea was launched in 2002. At 643 feet with 165 residences, there is plenty of room for the select few ultra-high net worth individuals on board. The smallest 290 sq ft flats start at $2M and the largest residences are in excess of $10M. The annual fees range from $150k-$1M which does not include food and beverages. Many of the larger residences have full kitchens. With a full-sized tennis court at sea and a putting green, there is plenty to love about this ship, but the main appeal is that it’s already in the water. Potential residents must also have a land-based residence and a minimum $10M net worth. For those who meet the criteria, are okay with a 20-year-old oil burning ship and are itching to launch their lifestyle at sea immediately, this is an excellent, well-established option.

Njord’ by Ocean Residences is the top of the line. It’s a brand new, LNG powered ship with all the latest green technologies. Delivery is expected in 2024. At 925 feet with just 118 residences, it’s no wonder the units start at $8M for the smallest 1,249 sq ft two-bedroom apartments. All of the residences have full kitchens, a rare amenity in this market. Expect a lot of over-the-top perks, with not one but two helicopters, a 5-star PADI dive center, Quadrofoil, observatory, crew to resident ratio of 2:1, limo tenders, scientific research laboratories, and butler suites that you can rent for your private butler, nanny or nurse. For ultra-high net worth individuals who don’t mind a homogeneous demographic and are looking for a newer and more environmentally sustainable ship than ‘The World,’ this one is worth the wait. 

‘Blue World’ by Blue World Voyages is refurbishing a ship that’s approximately 700’ long and 20 years old. The ship has 40 residences and 225 cabins and hopes to launch in 2021. The one-bedroom 800 sq ft units are $2.35M and the two-bedroom 1,200 sq ft units are $3.35M. The annual fees range between $200k-$300k. As with all older ships, it will burn either marine diesel or heavy bunker fuel. There are no cooking facilities for residents. With a focus on fitness, the ship dedicates a full deck for sports and boasts a seawater lap pool. The itinerary is somewhat restricted to Europe and Latin America due to its primary use as a tourist cruise ship, with no plans for global circumnavigation. For fitness enthusiasts who don’t mind sharing their ship with a high turnover of younger people coming and going every week, and who are hoping to start this lifestyle sooner rather than later, this company has an established founder (‘The World’) and could be an excellent fit.

‘Utopia’ by Utopia Residences has been in development for at least 12 years (ordered in 2009) and the launch date has been delayed multiple times. It was designed to be 971 ft long with 190 residences and 206 hotel suites. The smallest 1,439 sq ft residences started at $3.9M and the largest 6,143 sq ft residence was $36M. It had a paddle tennis court, rock climbing wall and outdoor movie screen, as well as ‘wine and fur storage’. An itinerary was planned which involved crisscrossing the globe to world events such as Wimbledon, Carnival, America’s Cup, Running of the Bulls and Cannes Film Festival. For people who prefer the traditional architectural style of the ship and its interiors and don’t mind visiting crowded places, this ship might be an option someday.

INDONESIA’S UNDERWATER UTOPIA

Twelve dive sites, seven reefs and five trips a day

The Anambas Islands are one of Asia’s top five tropical island paradises and one of Indonesia’s first marine conservation areas, a true ocean lover’s dream. Set amid this archipelago lies the secluded Bawah Reserve, a private island resort surrounded by crystal clear waters, jaw-dropping underwater scenery and stunning marine biodiversity – the perfect combination for ideal diving and exploring. Beyond the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, Bawah Reserve’s dedication to marine conservation gives divers a unique insider view of coral regeneration and transplantation efforts.    

With twelve dives sites and six reefs, guests have access to miles of pristine coral formations which create diverse and dramatic underwater landscapes to harbor high levels of marine biodiversity. All dives, aside from the Refresher’s Dive, are outside the fringing reefs of Bawah. Here the waters are slightly cooler, the currents are a bit stronger and the fish are a bit bigger, offering a larger variety of wildlife and coral different than what is found inside the lagoon. Among other creatures, guests can look forward to greeting Bumphead Parrotfish, Emperor Angelfish, Eagle Rays, Green Turtles and the rare Blue Starfish.

Harnessing it’s deep connection to the ocean. Bawah Reserve has teamed up with OrcaNation and Discover Scuba Dicing to create unique diving experiences ensuring guests fall deeply in love with the ocean and its wildlife. Under the guidance of dedicated ocean experts, guests can take up to 5 excursions per day from morning, afternoon to night, offering a new experience every time.

Bawah Reserve offers the perfect diving experience for every type of explorer. First time divers can take an entry level training session designed to learn the basics, certified divers have a ‘refresher’ course to brush up on their skills, advanced explorers can test their limits with a unique 3-part Dive Rescue Course, and for the youngest of divers there is a  PADI Bubblemaker Program to introduce them to the concepts of scuba diving.

As an eco-conscious destination, the Reserve’s Bawah Anambas Foundation leads an initiative to educate and train communities and guests on coral reef protection and restoration efforts, including actively re-growing and transplanting the archipelago’s coveted coral. Even more, guests at Bawah Reserve have the opportunity to see these conservation efforts up close by taking their very own diving excursions to the coral nursery, guided by a resident marine biologist.

In addition to their new scuba series and coral conservation programs, Bawah Reserve offers a number of bucket list, ‘Instagram worthy’ activities, including stand up paddle boarding, see-through kayaks, snorkeling, sailing and hiking trails through and around the lush Indonesian jungle.

Bawaha Reserve’s deep-rooted belief in conservation, coupled with their sense of adventure, provides truly exhilarating exploration and diving experiences families and guests will look forward to revisiting and remember for a lifetime.

 

For more information on Bawah Reserve, please visit www.bajahreserve.com.