In Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World, children are created and raised without parents in Hatcheries and Conditioning Centers where they are divided into castes ranging from the highest, Alpha, to the lowest, Epsilon. The society is one without parents or nurturing, and people’s moods are adjusted with chemicals to promote balance and happiness.
Huxley wrote his classic before the discovery of DNA or invitro fertilization — technologies that have brought artificial births a step closer to the achievements in science fiction. But, according to biologist Aarathi Prasad, in her new book, Like a Virgin, the future may soon mirror Huxley’s vision even more closely. Stem cells used with an artificial Y chromosome will create a “pseudo-sperm” that can gestate outside a womb. Giving birth may become the province of either a woman or a man. Prasad defends her research, arguing the new technology will eliminate surrogate births which she feels exploit women from poor countries. (The Week, October 19, 2012, pg. 23)
If she or some other scientist succeeds in eliminating even one parent in the birthing process, a new chapter in human evolution will open. Huxley may turn in his grave but his prescient mind continues to give us a glimpse of the future.
(Courtesy of picturebookreport.com)