peripheries in parallax
BRAVE NEW PERIPHERIES
Aldous Huxley’s science fiction novel Brave New World was written between World Wars I and II in 1932. At the time technological optimism was in full swing in the Western world. The book warns of the danger of giving totalitarian state control over new and powerful technologies. By now, Huxley’s predictions of totalitarianism have taken indeed the form of consumer totalitarianism cutting across the globe, and technology has become as if our second nature. What Huxley could not predict are the racial, social and human rights inequalities that have grown to unsustainable proportions, and even less so could he foresee the current global pandemic that has, unlike before, brought the whole planet on one and the same threshold. Since early 2020 a significant portion of our standard practices have focused on physical distancing, isolation, and/or private spaces. The conditions for smooth coexistence have radically changed into different forms of temporary states of emergency. The current pandemic is linked to both natural causes (the existence of the virus and its transmission from bats to humans) and social causes (the amount and speed of human travel, which explains how the virus spread from China to Europe without borders in a short time) (Badiou 2020). Where do we go from here, no one has certainty of. What we do know, is that if ever, now is the moment to meditate upon what needs to be left behind and what to reach for. It’s time to propose and make radical transformations, take utopias for real, trust on what just second ago seemed fantasy, nonsensical even.