April 10, 2005

Another take on the future

John Derbyshire predicts the future:

Looking back across the past few decades, it’s hard not to think that post-industrial modernism is headed all one way, everywhere it has taken a firm grip. Pleasure-giving gadgets and drugs are ever cheaper and more accessible. The distresses of life, especially physical sickness and pain, are gradually being pushed to the margins. As scientists probe deeper into the human genome, the human nervous system, and the biology of human social arrangements, that divine spark of person-hood that we all feel to be the essence of ourselves is being chased along narrower and darker passageways of the brain and the tribal folkways. Happiness itself, it seems, is genetic. And all this is headed…where?

We all know the answer to that one. It is headed to Brave New World. Our flesh is supposed to creep when our adversary in argument plays the Brave New World card. Brave New World! Empty and soulless! Eeeek!

This gravely underestimates the power of Aldous Huxley’s tremendous novel, which he sat down to begin writing just 74 years ago this month. The issue posed by the novel, as every thoughtful commentator (Francis Fukuyama and Leon Kass, to name two) has pointed out, is: What exactly is objectionable about the world of Year 632 After Ford? As Kass says, the dehumanized people of that world don’t know they are dehumanized, and wouldn’t care if they knew. They are happy; and if they feel any momentary unhappiness, a pharmacological remedy is ready to hand. If being human means enduring sorrow, pain, grief envy, loss, accidie, loneliness, and humiliation, why on earth should anyone be expected to prefer a “fully human” life over a dehumanized one?

Most people won’t.

Needless to say, I have a different take on how it will play out.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at April 10, 2005 07:49 PM
Comments & Trackbacks

I loathe Kass and Fukayama with the fire of a thousand suns. Fracking luddites.
see Lysenko's Revenge.
What good is it to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich? The future is breathing down our necks. Better we should learn to deal with it now!

Oh, happy pesach! (((david))) ;)

Posted by: jinnderella at April 21, 2005 05:17 PM Permalink

Well, I think that Derbyshire is correct in predicting some people's future. Other's, however, will adapt and ultimately inherit it.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at April 21, 2005 06:17 PM Permalink

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