Наконец-то меня достали липкие лапы сезонного гриппа. Хороший повод поваляться в постели и прочитать наконец прикупленный уже давно Brave New World. Вроде как одна из классических антиутопий прошлого века.
Ощущения остаются двойственные. С одной стороны - читается с удовольствием, написано красивым языком, с точными акцентами. А с другой стороны - ну полное разочарование от картины будущего. Не страшно ничуть. И, чувствую, пока антиутопии будут писать английские невротики-моралисты вместо психологов или социологов - страшно не будет.
Мне показалось, что вместо описания мрачного общества будущего, где будет хреново всем, автор просто рефлексирует на тему "вот наступит будущее, все будут радоваться, и только я один, непонятый, буду весь в белом - страдать"
А рецепт счастья будущего очень прост. Все хотят то что имеют и имеют то что хотят. Рождение детей поставлено на конвейер и отделено от секса. Клонирование сделало всех равными, хотя и только лишь в пределах нескольких каст. Психологическое кондиционирование заставляет людей обожать свою судьбу и не бояться смерти. Все счастливы, а для мелких неприятностей всегда есть легальный (и чуть ли не обязательный) наркотик.
Глупо, конечно. Точнее - весьма поверхностно. Несмотря на все свои пророчества, автор не показывает понимания истоков морали, религии, да и других аспектов поведения. Когда же альтернативой полу-роботам супер-техно-общества потребления выдаётся религиозное племенное общество с натуральным хозяйством, мне становится смешно. И это всё - что мне может предложить будущее? И всё, чем меня может оно испугать - это долгая безболезненная жизнь в молодом теле? Ах да, ещё будет принудительный промискуитет. У, баюс-баюс...
Но читать безусловно стоит. Хотя бы ради последнего разговора Главного Контроллера:
He opened the book at the place marked by a slip of paper and began to read.
"We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one – to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man – that it is an unnatural state – will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?"
"Then you think there is no God?"
"No, I think there quite probably is one."
"Then why? …"
Mustapha Mond checked him. "But he manifests himself in different ways to different men. In premodern times he manifested himself as the being that's described in these books. Now …"
"How does he manifest himself now?" asked the Savage.
"Well, he manifests himself as an absence; as though he weren't there at all."
"That's your fault."
"Call it the fault of civilization. God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness. That's why I have to keep these books locked up in the safe. They're smut. People would be shocked it …"
The Savage interrupted him. "But isn't it natural to feel there's a God?"
"You might as well ask if it's natural to do up one's trousers with zippers," said the Controller sarcastically. "You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct. As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons–that's philosophy. People believe in God because they've been conditioned to.
"But all the same," insisted the Savage, "it is natural to believe in God when you're alone–quite alone, in the night, thinking about death …"
"But people never are alone now," said Mustapha Mond. "We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it's almost impossible for them ever to have it."