Utopia – A critique of progress

A girl stands all alone in a dark room – her face splattered with blood, a gun in hand, and a bomb strapped to her chest… Flash to a local news report of a large consumer company building collapsing to the ground as a bomb explodes inside of it.
This was and insert from the short film Utopia by Anthony Bortolussi which depicts teenage environmentalists blowing up a large consumer building as their final stance against consumerism.
“Utopia” is one of the terms used by Slack and Wise to describe progress. Progress is the movement towards a goal or a further higher state, and can be measured by the criteria of minimum input with maximum output. Progress is often used evangelically- the faster and more efficiently ideas get out to the public, the better.
Is the short film Utopia a critique of progress? I believe that the actions of the protesters could go both ways. In one way, consumerism believes in the theory that a progressively greater consumption of goods is economically beneficial no matter what the cost to the environment. They believe that the more goods that are produced and consumed, the greater society and the economy have progressed. In this aspect, Utopia was a critique of progress; a demonstration that mass consumerism does have a negative impact on the environment- stopping “progress” (for that company) in its tracks.
On the other hand teenager’s actions could be viewed as a large progress for all environmentalists, in getting their message out to the world. However I believe that the way the protesters decided to demonstrate this point contradicted their ultimate message of “stop harming the environment”. By blowing up that building and killing all those people, the protesters not only took part in not only harming the environment, but also killing many people; a part of that very environment they were trying to save.
Maybe progress is a very sensitive balance; what may be progress to one, is regression to another. So a question that comes to my mind is does this utopia we speak of really exist, or is it merely an idealization of something we wish existed.

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