The right to grow old and ugly and impotent…

From Brave New World, chapter 17:

“Charming! But in civilized countries,” said the Controller, “you can have girls without hoeing for them, and there aren’t any flies or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them all centuries ago.”

The Savage nodded, frowning. “You got rid of them. Yes, that’s just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ’tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them … But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.”

“But I like the inconveniences.”

“We don’t,” said the Controller. “We prefer to do things comfortably.”

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“All right then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen to-morrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.

“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.

Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.

Guess who I think is right and who’s wrong. This one should be pretty easy.
(yes, I know who we’re supposed to root for)

4 thoughts on “The right to grow old and ugly and impotent…

  1. Gomi February 27, 2012 at 21:17

    An illustration, I think, of why you and I disagree so fundamentally on certain subjects.

    • Francois Tremblay February 28, 2012 at 01:10

      Or an illustration of why you are so fucked up. At least that’s my interpretation.

  2. alleee February 27, 2012 at 21:30

    Yes, we should totally give people the right to have cancer. Just as poor people should have the right to die of disease.

    • Gomi February 27, 2012 at 21:43

      A right to something isn’t the same as the enforced having of that thing. A right to be unhappy doesn’t mean you have to be unhappy, but that you can’t be forced to not be unhappy (or more clearly, can’t be forced to be happy).

      I can’t imagine why someone would want to have cancer, but a “right to have cancer” would mean they can’t be forcibly subjected to chemotherapy, not that they wouldn’t be allowed to get chemotherapy.

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