george orwell - can socialists be happy?

compared to Politics and the English Language, which I love, this is a funny essay.

It is a commonplace that the Christian Heaven, as usually portrayed, would attract nobody. Almost all Christian writers dealing with Heaven either say frankly that it is indescribable or conjure up a vague picture of gold, precious stones, and the endless singing of hymns. This has, it is true, inspired some of the best poems in the world:

Thy walls are of chalcedony,

Thy bulwarks diamonds square,

Thy gates are of right orient pearl

Exceeding rich and rare!

But what it could not do was to describe a condition in which the ordinary human being actively wanted to be. Many a revivalist minister, many a Jesuit priest (see, for instance, the terrific sermon in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist) has frightened his congregation almost out of their skins with his word-pictures of Hell. But as soon as it comes to Heaven, there is a prompt falling-back on words like ‘ecstasy’ and ‘bliss’, with little attempt to say what they consist in. Perhaps the most vital bit of writing on this subject is the famous passage in which Tertullian explains that one of the chief joys of Heaven is watching the tortures of the damned.

space is the place of contemporary western utopias, e.g. Star Trek or Iain M. Banks' Culture. All the problems back home have been solved. A life of luxury is freely available to anyone who wants it, and for those who don't: a life of exploration and diplomacy unencumbered by the religious and ethnic atavisms of humanity's pre-perfect politics. imagine a hand cracking open a cold brewski - forever.