“For as many generations as there have been utopian communities in the United States, there has also been a long and parallel history of utopian groupies — the people who so deeply desire to drop out and make the world anew, but who lack the specific convictions or staying power that might allow them to cleave to one community or another. The groupies are messier and more disorganized in their longings than the decisive utopians, who themselves have finished worrying or wondering and are already committed to their daily labors in bringing about paradise. The groupies, on the other hand, are unclear about what they firmly believe, if not entirely lacking a comprehensive ethical system themselves. But their hopes are just as, if not more, utopian than the communities to whom they attach their curiosity, even if they — the groupies — are hard-pressed to commit to a program. Hope is their vocation. Their hoping, however shifting and sketchy, is endless.

“They possess that defining feature of all proper groupies of any variety, an uncritical, ruthlessly naïve devotion, and it is from that depth at which this kind of endless hope can be felt at all. Like a crush, nourished in the shadows of your heart, the devotion does not necessarily seek completion or results. Utopian groupies are lovers of hope. It’s ideally an unselfish love, and erotic exchange that happens only to ensure that the utopian project continues to grow and flourish and inspire other people through this act of creative love. For utopian groupies, it’s not about eventually starting a community themselves, or even joining one, but about being a kind of accompaniment to what is already happening, which they did not start and which does not require their intervention. It’s an exchange that results in books, magazines, movies, many road trips. Utopian groupies, like music groupies, are often road-bound, eventually road-weary. They are tied to no single place. They float from community to community, either in real life or as subjects of historical inquiry. They travel as a way to get by, as a coping mechanism, as a way to learn how other people are doing it or have done it, how others have created modes of collectivity, how others have fashioned a life outside of capitalism or have simply figured out creative ways to keep the overhead low together. They travel in order to figure out what they believe and how to live. I suppose I have joined these ranks.”