"To-day I feel no wish to demonstrate that sanity is impossible. On the contrary, though I remain no less sadly certain than in the past that sanity is a rather rare phenomenon, I am convinced that it can be achieved and would like to see more of it. For having said so in several recent books and, above all, for having compiled an anthology of what the sane have said about sanity and all the means whereby it can be achieved, I have been told by an eminent academic critic that I am a sad symptom of the failure of an intellectual class in time of crisis. The implication being, I suppose, that the professor and his collegues are hilarious symptoms of success. The benefactors of humanity deserve due honour and commemoration.
Let us build a Pantheon for professors. It should be located among the ruins of one of the gutted cities of Europe or Japan, and over the entrance to the ossuary I would inscribe, in letters six or seven feet high, the simple words: SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE WORLD'S EDUCATORS. SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE" (Huxley 1976, ix-x)."
Written after the atomic glare of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Huxley foresaw the harnessing of nuclear energy to industrial uses, and the avoiding of atomic wars. But he did perhaps not expect that 'Brave New World' is being realized in the sixth decennium, and not in the sixth century A.F. (after Ford). He expected:
"A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude" (Huxley 1976, xvii)." "The love of servitude cannot be established except as the result of deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies. To bring about that revolution we require, among others, the following discoveries and inventions.
First, a greatly improved technique of suggestion - through infant conditioning and, later, with the aid of drugs, such as scopolamine.
Second, a fully developed science of human differences, enabling government managers to assign any given individual to his or her proper place in the social and economic hierarchy. ...
Third (since reality, however utopian, is something from which people feel the need of taking pretty frequent holidays), a substitute for alcohol and the other narcotics, something at once less harmful and more pleasure-giving than gin or heroin.
And fourth (but this would be a long-term project, which would take generations of totalitarian control to bring to a successful conclusion), a foolproof system of eugenics, designed to standardize the human product and so facilitate the task of the managers" (Huxley 1976, xix)."
"All things considered, it looks as though Utopia were far closer to us than anyone, only fifteen years ago, could have imagined. Then, I projected it six hundred years into the future. To-day it seems quite possible, that the horror may be upon us within a single century. That is, if we refrain from blowing ourselves to smithereens in the intervall" (Huxley 1976, xxi)."
[HUXLEY, Aldous (1970) Brave New World. (Original: 1932) London: Chatto & Windus. HUXLEY, Aldous (1976) Brave New World. (Original: 1932) Bath: Lythway Press.]
Well, half a century after Hiroshima, we did not yet blow ourselves to atomic pieces. But we are stupidly depleting our natural resources and rapidly suffocating in our toxic wastes. Blind, racist patroitism and servitude to our eminent leaders and technologies are omnipresent.
Along with Aldous Huxley, I would build a Pantheon for all leaders, for all those who pull the strings in short-sighted self-interest. It could be located anywhere. Among the dying forests, on the poisoned soils of Europe or America, in the deforestated Amazonas, on the DDT-ice of Antarctica, on the depleted oil wells of Texas, on the ruins of the New York World Trade Center and Khabul: SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE WORLD'S RULERS, full stop.
And on the ruins of Lebanon 2006.
At the end of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" Prospero (and Skespeare) may be seen to "forgive all the wrongdoers of this world", by writing "“How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in’t!” (Miranda, V.i.184–187)." That was in 1611. "From Miranda’s innocent perspective, such a remark seems genuine and even true. But from the audience’s perspective, it must seem somewhat ridiculous." (The Tempest (Shakespeare study guides))
The end of Huxley's novel "Brave New World" is less optimistic:
""Savage!" called the first arrivals, as they alighted from their machine. "Mr. Savage!"
There was no answer.
The door of the lighthouse was ajar. They pushed it open and walked into a shuttered twilight. Through an archway on the further side of the room they could see the bottom of the staircase that led up to the higher floors. Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of feet.
Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east. … ( Brave New World - last chapter (complete novel) )
In Brave New World revisited, Huxley writes (1958):
"Brave New World presents a fanciful and somewhat ribald picture of a society, in which the attempt to recreate human beings in the likeness of termites has been pushed almost to the limits of the possible. That we are being propelled in the direction of Brave New World is obvious. But no less obvious is the fact that we can, if we so desire, refuse to co-operate with the blind forces that are propelling us." (Brave New World Revisited)
These "blind forces" refuse to recognise that the earth and its resources are finite and that we can't continue to grow. Helmut Lubbers
Brave New World Revisited by the Financial Times at ecoglobe.ch
discovery foundation new zealand (charitable trust)
P.O. Box 24184 Wellington New Zealand