The editorial of today’s Deccan Chronicle Newspaper has quiet a nice little column by renowned author, Paulo Coelho. The Op-Ed page always has a Coelho column at least twice a week. The small column is only rivaled by the excellent Kushwant Singh write up, With Malice towards one and all, which is a Sunday exclusive.
Now, Coelho usually writes some homo-evangelic prose with a poetic twinge, today it was same but with a different perspective. Titled, The Milk of Human Unkindness, the write-up had something that reminded me of, once again, George Orwell’s 1984.
Coelho writes how this Norwegian company sent him three liters of their product that substitutes milk. The company says that scientists have found that “cow milk contains 59 active hormones, lots of fat, cholesterol, dioxins, bacterias and viruses”. The company’s product has its base in plants (cows get their calcium from plants), so you don’t have to use milk for Calcium. “Milk is condemned based on an endless number of studies carried out in a variety of institutes all over the world” says the product literature. All this points out that milk is not good for health. Coelho says that he tried a sip of this product that substitutes the killer milk and it was the foulest thing he ever tasted. As he writes about this he goes into how science and technology has changed us. How people who are now in their 50s used to drive in cars without seat belts or airbags, how children played on the back seat with no cradles or belts to bind them and how their cradles used to be colored bright that are now considered harmful because they contain lead or some chemical. Coelho says that maybe in the future scientists might convince us of the killer milk and ban it and contemplates will we have to get our milk from drug dealers?
The last single line of the column reminded me of the Proles from 1984. For the ignoramus, in the novel, 1984 by George Orwell, Proles are a community who are considered illiterate and live in the slummy part of the city. They live a life of ignorance and indulge in businesses like theft, prostitution and selling illegal items like shaving blades, pens, antiques and such. The milk and the drug dealer can be the perfect metaphor for the Proles. It reminds me of a future where a mere thing like buying milk will be treated as a drug deal.
Why is it that most scientific advances have more disadvantages? Every other product born out of scientific research has much to offer – faster, easier and eventually cheaper. It also offers us a lot of free time which we end up using other scientific products. The ease is great but it is making us, it is making me lazier than ever. A very few machines/technologies come to mind when we think “no side affects”. I’d like you to name some in your comments.
The future does seem bleak when you look through this perspective. Fifty years from now we may live up to be hundred. Fifty years from now we may have forgot the taste of a mere thing say, milk. I love technology. I crave all those gadgets I see over at engadget and hiptechblog. I am a man. It’s built into my DNA, to love gadgets. But I’d never want to see a future where I wouldn’t be able to drink my tea with milk. I’d never ever want to eat something that has come from a lab rather than a sprawling field. Hate is a very strong word. And I hate Organic food. It tastes like dust, and I’ve tasted dust on more than one occasion.
The future is bright. It will be. When you use a radiating nuclear powered light bulb it will be damn bright.