"Misreading Brave New World"
by Curtis D. Carbonell
Conservative political historian, Francis Fukuyama, claims
Transhumanism is the world's most dangerous idea. Moreover,
his bioconservatism, clearly articulated in Our Posthuman
Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, argues
that science and technology may present devastating problems
for human beings. However, Fukuyama begins his critique with a
misreading of Aldous Huxley's seminal dystopian text, Brave
New World, by claiming "that Huxley was right, that the most
significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the
possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move
us into the 'posthuman' stage of history (7). Fukuyama ties
his thesis to a blinkered misreading of Brave New World, one
that sees only Huxley's critique of the World State and its
soma, its free-sex, its Bokanovsky process, etc., as the
primary dangers in the novel. This article foregrounds such
simplistic, bioconservative readings of Brave New World by
demonstrating that Huxley also clearly critiques the primitive
world of the John the Savage in which disease, senescence,
irrationality, etc., plague the human condition. Huxley sees
problems with both worlds, John the Savage's and Mustapha
Mond's, without offering a solution. Moreover, this article
clearly states its assumptions that we have never been
posthuman, that technology and the human are false binaries,
and that "human nature" is an artificial ontological category
that, if anything, is highly performative and dynamic and
rooted in our behavior as social beings. This article
celebrates the human as a philosophical category for its
multivalence and its ability to adjust and adapt and to
represent human beings as active agents within and a part of
nature. Finally, this article demonstrates that narratives of
the posthuman are just that, narratives, and are often taken
from science fiction, philosophy, and other speculative
adventures in human expression.
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