The Utopian Oath

Notes on the oath sworn by new Utopians in Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota



The Utopians are a hive of vocateurs, and their oath reflects it.

I hereby renounce the right to complacency, and vow lifelong to take only what minimum of leisure is necessary to my productivity, viewing health, happiness, rest and play as means, not ends, and that, while Utopia provides my needs, I will commit the full produce of my labors to our collective effort to redirect the path of human life away from death and toward the stars.

What, then, is a vocateur?

In 2266, when the work week finally shortened to twenty hours, and crowds deserted those few professions which required more, the first Anonymous, Aurel Gallet, rushed to defend ‘vocation’ with a tract which is still mandatory reading for three Hive-entry programs.

Why is a calling passive, he asked? Why is one called helplessly to one’s vocation, when surely it is an active thing? I find my calling, take it, seize that delight, that path before me, make it mine. I call it like summoned magic, it does not call me.

His new word ‘vocateur’ (one who calls) was born to remind us that a person with a strong vocation is not a victim driven helplessly to toil, but a lucky soul whose work is also pleasure, and to whom thirty, forty, fifty hours are welcome ones.