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Our brave new world

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Apart from drawing their final breath on the same day, the two share a number of other traits

Flowers frame a photograph of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library in Boston

On the morning of John F Kennedy’s assassination, November 22 1963, one of the most prolific authors and intellectuals of the 20th century, Aldous Huxley, asked his wife for a large dose of LSD.

She granted this final wish and administered the powerful hallucinogenic to her dying husband.

There, in a state of euphoria and overwhelmed by visions of reality, unreality, the past, present, future, probable, impossible and inconceivable, Huxley quietly took his final breath, dying an unassuming death after an underappreciated life.

The world had lost greatness but the next morning other major events of that fateful Friday dominated the media, relegating word of his death to the inside of many major newspapers around the globe.

Huxley had died but the masses were mourning the shocking and tragic death of a president, leaving little emotion to spare for the discreet and predicted passing of an ageing pacifist, poet and prophet.

Apart from drawing their final breath on the same day, the two share a number of other traits .

For one, both came from affluent and influential families, finding their silver spoons purely ornamental and suffering from devastating ailments in their developmental years.

Both were compelled to fill big shoes and both went on to outgrow these, albeit posthumously.

Both warned of the evil to come and even had similar fears of what the future may bring.

Kennedy warned of a “New World Order”. Huxley envisioned a “Brave New World”.

Yet, as enlightened, entitled, educated and exceptional as both men were in their lifetimes and despite the fact that both quite accurately foresaw the destiny of us, as a species, neither predicted that five and a half decades after their death the new world they both dreaded would have been reduced to a Black Friday.

A “new world” we may have but there is little order and even less brevity.

You see, even for some of the best and brightest of the 20th century, ours was a reality too despicable to describe, too heartbreaking to humour, too tragic to talk about.

Even brilliant minds that dreaded the consequences of a species consumed by consuming, missed something.

People are dying. Some for food and others for toilet paper at a 40 percent discount. Neither death is acceptable but both are avoidable.

Sadly, nothing will change until we prioritise production over consumption and stop feeding alcohol to the Epsilons.

We have everything in abundance, including people and that is a problem.

Huxley believed that people were controlled by inflicting pleasure and that we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with feelings, obtained with a prescription.

He feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance and that love would ruin us.

Ultimately, Huxley believed that having all our wants and desires readily available would leave us depressed, and he was right.

Many must have been very depressed on Black Friday when dignity and self-respect were the only things that weren’t for sale. They were being thrown away.

This is our brave new world, and I cringe.

Huxley was right about everything including the LSD.

We have an appetite for destruction, distraction and disruption that is leaving us all hungry, hollow, hindered and handicapped.

Maybe we need our own visions of reality, unreality, the past, present, future, probable, impossible and inconceivable in order to see clearly.