Homo Novus vs. Homo Vetus w Utopii Tomasza Morusa
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The essay revisits Thomas More’s Utopia – the foundational text of the entire genre of utopian and dystopian fiction. It explores Utopia’s ambiguous and somewhat inconsistent view of human nature. On the one hand, More seems to imply that an optimistic view of humanity is fully justified as man is naturally inclined to embrace rationality and work towards the common good, while, at the same time, many political institutions described in the text of Utopia, whose sole task is constant surveillance and relentless supervision of its citizens, suggest a far bleaker outlook on humanity. The essay attempts to investigate these contradictions with the aid of Paulian terminology, whereby “the new man” (homo novus) refers to the new man of realized utopia, who is guided unerringly by the light of reason and responsibility, whereas the concept of “the old man” (homo vetus) represents man’s innate proclivity for selfishness, which needs to be kept in check by the state.