Harris explains to his readers how to effectively use the method of “arguing the other side”, to counter their works of writing. He insightfully describes this method as “attaching a positive value to something another writer denigrates or a negative value to what another writer applauds.”(Harris, 60)
In our last reading of The Consequences of Modernity, Giddens wraps up his views and thoughts on globalization, rehashing on the pros and cons that he talked of in such depth throughout the book. He mentions his previous topic of the prevalence of risk and hazard in this day and age. He reminds us that modernization has connected the individual to large-scale systems. One topic that Giddens goes into depth with in this section is his views on “utopian realism”. Giddens realizes the diverse effects that such a way of thinking can have on society. “The heavily counterfactual nature of future- oriented thought, an essential element of the reflexivity of modernity, has positive as well as negative implications” (Giddens, 154) Giddens mentions how Marx made a point to put such a rigid division between realistic and utopian thought. Although Giddens recognized that utopian thinking is useless in certain situations, namely politics, he still claims that “We must balance utopian ideals with realism in a much more stringent fashion than was needed in Marx’s day” (Giddens, 155). I must say, that I believe that rather than trying to balance these two ideals , we should instead abolish the idea of connecting these two ideals at all. Giddens himself talks of “operator failure” for instance. He reminds his readers that no matter how well-designed a system is, its operators are imperfect, therefore the system can fail. Giddens also mentions the globalization and modernization of religions throughout his book. We as his readers can use previous knowledge on the topic of religions along with Giddens’ clarification on religious beliefs to recognize that a common theme in religions throughout history is that human beings are imperfect, and incapable of being perfect, thus we look to a greater being. Many religions recognize that utopian ideals and realism cannot be balanced, rather, they should be set completely apart. In many religions, realism on earth is seen as a life of sin, and the constant fight of sin, with the hopes of one day experiencing a utopian society in some form of afterlife. Although I will say that despite Giddens’ idea of balancing the ideals of realism and utopian thought, I still do appreciate his sensibility and logic in noting that ” ‘History’ is not on our side, has no teleology, and supplies us with no guarantees.”(Giddens 154) This statement further strengthens my belief that no connection should be made between realism and utopianism.