29 May 2005

Think you know it, but you don't

The prophesies of Aldous Huxley have always fascinated me. He had a great respect for sanity, and a concern for that which threatened it.

In his most famous book, “Brave New World”, published in 1931, much before the ’60s exploration with mescaline and LSD, or the CIA’s experiments using mind-control drugs, Mr Huxley talked about the possibility of humans wanting a chemically-driven state of happiness to counter depression – using biotechnology. No more pain, only pleasure.

And why not? Even spiritual seekers are chasing the same dream… maybe in the guise of enlightenment. Everyone wants life-long bliss, so what’s wrong with a few designer drugs or a little splicing of our DNA? Have problem, will re-engineer – that’s the idea of the future, right? It’s a nice cosy thought, but how “real” will our world be!

Mr Huxley’s concept of a utopian world – a world without over-population, mechanisation and coercive politics – was published in a novel called “Island” in 1962. However, whether “Island” is a possibility is yet to be seen. On a lighter note, a possibility of a happy future is under study by a team of academicians from several American universities. In a New York Times article, “The Futile Pursuit of Happiness”, Jon Gertner presents an analysis of their study which makes good reading. You may think you know what the future has in store for you, but do you, really?

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