My history reading has led me into the dark side of Renaissance Europe (and UK): the Reformation. Of course, Martin Luther is the figure most popularly extolled, having birthed a spiritual movement*. However, I find myself intrigued for the second time in my life with another: Thomas More.
Despite the fact that he began his public life as a politician, Thomas More was a bit of an optimist. Having read Utopia way back in my early college days I have the impression that he possessed the type of moderately warped wit I find most appealing, which stimulates good conversation liberally embellished with both intelligence and spontaneous laughter.
Of course, the problem with the land of Utopia is not that population was plump with plenty and that there was no substantive crime problem. These are just the minor problems. The real difficulty lies in the fact that Utopia is a land where people are free to pursue their lives unencumbered by the grief, annoyances and inconveniences of war, political intrigue, and the yearning to acquire new things.
It is the fact that we are capable of feeling so deeply that we are capable of producing items of great innovation and artistry. While I would not suggest that the iPod was conceived during a fit of creative passion, I do believe (and, in fact, know) that the only original painting I own is something I dearly love and was produced in consequence of just such an attack. And it is that very depth of emotion which I appreciate in my own way, the thing which allows me to write bad poetry.
* Given that the stereotypical modern Lutheran is a reserved sort, many other Protestants would protest that the Lutheran Church is less of a religion and more of a social club.