There are, have been, and will be
many books, paintings, films, and box-tops about utopia,
dystopia, human evolution, devolution and 'seeds in the
universe'. Among all of these windows to our collective
consciousness is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. With Brave New World Revisited (1958), he raised the alarm even higher.
"In 1931, when Brave New World was being written, I was convinced that there was still plenty of time. The completely organized society, the scientific caste system, the abolition of free will by methodical conditioning, the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically induced happiness, the orthodoxies drummed in by nightly courses of sleep-teaching -- these things were coming all right, but not in my time, not even in the time of my grandchildren."
And he wrote:
years later, in this third quarter of the twentieth century
A.D., and long before the end of the first century A.F., I
feel a good deal less optimistic than I did when I was
writing Brave New World. The prophecies made in 1931
are coming true much sooner than I thought they would. The
blessed interval between too little order and the nightmare
of too much has not begun and shows no sign of beginning. In
the West, it is true, individual men and women still enjoy a
large measure of freedom. But even in those countries that
have a tradition of democratic government, this freedom and
even the desire for this freedom seem to be on the wane. In
the rest of the world freedom for individuals has already
gone, or is manifestly about to go. The nightmare of total
organization, which I had situated in the seventh century
After Ford, has emerged from the safe, remote future and is
now awaiting us, just around the next corner."
That was written in 1958 or was it written last week?
Questions without answers.
In many countries,
prostitution is legal. In many, it is
"look-the-other-way" illegal. It's also
evident that when prostitution is de-criminalized the crime
by-product is virtually eradicated, just as de-criminalizing
drugs eliminates its promotion of crime.
The American society learned this the hard way before it finally made its
No. 1 drug, Alcohol, legal. Alcohol and
nicotine are the lead singers in the Addiction Follies.
America still finds it hard to practice what it learned.
Pity its roots in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.
Pay-for-sex is almost
as old in human history as the first utterance of the spoken
word. There are literally thousands of writings from ancient
texts to contemporary commentary on the acts, commerce,
morality and social impact of you get what you pay for,
sexually speaking that is. It's all about sex, isn't
Someone once said,
"everything is 90% about sex and 10% about nothing
else." Fair enough... better than if that were reversed.
As our 'we'
history evolved, a pyramid of classes developed. The broad
base comprises the denizens of the street, the saloon, the
club, the brothel, the telephone and the internet. At the
top are the Courtesans, the Gigolos, the Mistresses and
'Manpanions', and maybe, the Concubines. Each group
has its customs, its traditions, practices, rules and
cultural brouhahas. Interesting (and titillating). After
all, it's a big part of the 90%.
One of the
relationships that intrigues me is between the very rich and
the "hookers" that they buy. These
"johns" (mostly men) can afford and keep the most
exotic sexual trophies they can find. Yet many of them
pursue the dangerous?, the unknown?, the ping-pong? of pay
today gone tomorrow sex. And they generally run after it and
catch it in both hooker-legal and illegal countries... with money-talks impunity. I wonder what the difference is between paying for sex and cheating on one's spouse, and cheating while not paying for sex? And after all, what is cheating and why is now becoming legal? Pity the founding of America in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.
The millionaire and
those 50% below and certainly those above the seven-figure
level can do whatever they want. That's an irrefutable
historical fact. Are the hookers they pay top dollar for
victims or criminals? Are the johns criminalizers or
victimizers? Is sex good? Is monogamy healthy? Is marriage,
gay, straight or otherwise, believable? Are the Christian
bible, the Muslim koran, and the Jewish old testament the
words of an angry alien in the sky or just the mutterings of
disenchanted self-appointed moralizers and meddling
printers' apprentices down through the centuries?
Today there are eight
billion (and counting) answers to these poly-regurgitated
questions. Who knows and why do they know?
I like to mull these
conscious questions sitting under an umbrella in a warm
pre-dawn rain, nibbling on slips of Bel Paese and saut√©ed
garlic cloves, washed down in heavenly fashion with a
sliver-glass of Prosecco.
Among his many
agonizing contradictions, Huxley was, above all, prescient
and penetratingly perceptive. Here's to you, Aldous, and
your grandfather and your brothers... high, high up on the
human family tree.