Today I do not come here to talk about my book, neither about one of the most important books in Science Fiction such as Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. There are more than enough articles, analysis, reviews, and discussions from a literature, psychology, sociology and philosophy perspective since it was published in 1931 for me to believe that I can actually bring something new.
What I want to talk about is something that, maybe, it has probably not being mentioned as much as it deserves: its prologue. It is about five pages long where Huxley reviews, commemorating the twenty years passed since he wrote it, the most relevant work of his life. It is impressive to read his words when he talks of his contained temptation about editing some parts where he finds the mistakes coming from youth and inexperience. Mistakes from a former version of him that he looks with sweet eyes and with respect from the eyes of an old man that has been able to confirm how his predictions where about to become real.
The fact that his novel has been described as a terrible dream of what our society could be at some point is both undeniable and terrifying. The fear persists as we continue playing with the human genome and read the recent news talking about the first embryos immune to AIDS after DNA modification. This not Science Fiction but reality. We are talking about the radiography in this prologue that, even if in bioengineering has not been so accurate (at least, luckily, for now), from a psychological and sociological perspectiva his conclusions are brutally certain.
“The most relevant Manhattan Projects of the future will be wide surveys sponsored by the governments and they will serve the politicians and scientists to solve what they will call the happiness issue; in other words, the issue of making people love their servitude”
And that is, precisely, what Huxley describes in these pages: control of the society through soma, through a technique that makes people, thanks to hypersexualization and technology, totally subdued to, what in that moment he considered totalitarian states as it was surely difficult for him to realize the power that capitalism and consumerism would reach and, thus, great corporations.
“As political and economical freedom decrease, sexual freedom tends to grow to keep the balance. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder or families to colonize conquered land or deserts) will be wise in promoting that freedom. Together with the freedom to daydream under the influence of narcotics, cinema, and radio, the sexual freedom will help to reconcile the subjects with the servitude that defines their fate”.
In these pages, Huxley seems to tell Alan Moore the essence of his graphical novel Watchmen, describing the human fear of his own annihilation with the hydrogen bomb that, who knows if for the best it was considerably stopped after the Chernobyl incident from which, almost thirty five years later, we still suffer its consequences. No, that error is controlled and concern now gravitates towards mass control by social networks and fake news. We take steps back questioning scientific progress centuries old, asking ourselves if the earth is flat or vaccines a danger. I am certain that nothing that happens these days would surprise Huxley. But I am absolutely sure that he would be very sad to see the landscape of our brave new world.
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