In searching for answers for the problem of evil and the conditions of happiness on earth in his contemporary society, Mercier´s utopia also offers a generally valid analysis concerning the means and aims of a happy life. On the other hand, the present study indicates that Mercier´s vision of the "best of possible worlds" also reveals a great deal about the reasons why the prevailing eighteenth-century conception of happiness, founded on the Enlightenment ideal of rational control, already contained the seeds of its own destruction.
This investigation by Riikka Forsström sheds light on Mercier´s utopian vision both as critical mirror image analyzing its own society, and as an exploration of possible futures. In his utopia, Mercier deals with a wide range of subjects, from the needfulness of political reforms, and economic theories, to the collision of a spiritual with a more secular- scientific world view, and even addresses women´s position in society. He makes us reflect on the limits of the possible and how the possibilities could be transformed as part of a living culture.