Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A Wonderful New World?

In 1932, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) published a novel called "Brave New World," a satirical portrayal of a future society in which all human beings are artificially manufactured thanks to science. In the Diagnosis of the Current Times Column of the Catholic Peace Weekly, an ethicist gives the readers something to think about.

The future world painted here is real to us living in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The "Great New World" aims for a utopia of "sharing, equality, and stability," but ironically, its meaning is defined within very strict controls.

All humans are artificially fertilized in test tubes, cloned, and cultivated in hatching incubators. Humans are mass-produced by cloning as many identical twins as possible. According to social demand, ranks are already determined in glass bottles and are born with chemical treatment (in current technology, through genetic manipulation) to meet appropriate intellectual and physical conditions.

Aldous is the grandson of the famous biologist Thomas Henry Huxley. Perhaps because of his extensive biological knowledge, the artificial hatching he describes is easily linked to IVF, human cloning, artificial uterus, and genetic manipulation at the current level of science and technology. The beginning of life, alienated from marital love, is already frequently practiced in our society. Human cloning technology has also been a controversial issue for a long time. The artificial uterus is also under study; Eugenics (improving the human species by selecting specific desirable hereditary traits) is possible due to advances in gene-editing technology. 


In the novel, the State nurtures and educates children. Education while sleeping, all listening to recorded voices on discipline and receiving brainwashing education on right and wrong, good and bad until adulthood. Children are encouraged to have free sex. On the surface, they seem to acquire sexual freedom, but the meaning of sex understood is very limited. 

Under these circumstances, there can be no concept of "family" in this world. The term 'mother' and 'father' is an unpleasant fact, and 'pregnancy' is defined as a barbaric act. Monogamy is also subject to criticism and vigilance. Meeting one person for more than a few months is abnormal. Rather, it is normal to meet several people at the same time. Sex is thoroughly separated from love and seeks only pleasure. One is to be everything to all. Consumption is always a good thing, and happiness is easy to reach. You can take a drug called 'soma'.

"There is a 'soma' that calms anger, reconciles with the enemy, helps one to endure, and tolerates suffering. In the old days, it was a virtue that could only be reached after much effort and long training. But now you swallow a pill and you'll reach that level of discipline, everyone can be a good person…to master the Christian spirit without shedding tears of repentance - that is the essence of 'Soma'.

In fact, this novel satirizes the serious crisis of modern civilization that we feel is a reality, not a utopia. Totalitarianism, closely related to advances in science, because it comes with ideas and cultures that are material, hedonistic, consumptive, and thoroughly separate sex, love, and life. So, in the current situation in our society where 'life culture' and 'death culture' are fighting a dramatic battle, we need to develop a keen critical sense to discern true values and real needs" (Gospel of Life #95).

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