Futurological Congress – the text for analisys

Stanisław Lem

Futurological Congress


Fragment 1

5 VIII 2039. I’m supposed to leave the rewitarium[1] in four days. There are 29,5 billion people in the world. There are countries and borders but there aren’t any conflicts. I’ve learned a main difference between the old and he new people today. „Psychem” is the main term nowadays. We live in psychocivilization. The term „psycho” is out of use – psychochemical is used now. The computer claimed that humanity was in conflict between the old braining inherited from the animals and  the new braining. […] Psychochemicals to do us what they are supposed to do with the old braining – they harmonise, soften, persuade, from inside to good. You can’t rely on the spontaneous feelings. Anyone who does it, is obscene. You need to take the proper drug accordingly to circumstances. It will help, support, steer, brighten and smooth. Otherwise, that is not it, it is a part of me. […] The knowledge shocks me – I’m afraid of meeting new people.

I don’t want to take psychochemicals. […]

9 VIII 2039. Today is an important day for me. I already have a three-room apartment in Manhattan […] New York, former dump blocked by cars turned into a system of multi-storey gardens. Sunlight is pumped through wires. They are soleducts. There were no so polite and not spoiled children in my times besides those forming elements. On the corner of my street – Registration Centre for Self-nominating Nobel Prize Candidates. Next to there are salons, where they sell only authentic canvas – with guarantees and metrics […]. I walk around the city a lot. […] I bought myself an amaranth[2] caftan[3] with a white front, silver sides, amaranth ribbon, […] trimmed[4] collar. It is the least bright of clothing that is worn now. You can have clothing that still changes cut and colour, dresses shrinking under the gaze of men, or the other way around – stretching out like flowers to sleep, dresses and blouses showing different things, as if they were TV screens, and these views moves on them.

Fragment 2                                                                                                                                                                               5 X 2039. […] Professor handed me a little bottle.

-Come up to the window, please and look at these beautiful cars.

I leaned out of the window. Down there, eleven floors below us, a river of shining cars was moved along the gorge of the street, flashing their windscreens and roofs. I raised the little open bottle to my nose, blinked my eyes shedding some tears, and stared myself at a strange view. Holding the air in their hands raised at the breast height, like children usually play pretending to be drivers, the columns of businessmen were dashing along the road. From time to time, in the dense rows of gallopers taking quick strides, […] appears a lonely, smoking car. When the effect of the medication died down, the sight twitched, became steady, and again I could see the river of shining car roofs, white, yellow and emerald, majestically moving along Manhattan. […]

-The dehallucinides are the new specifics, after that it seems that nothing seems. At first they were given only to the mentally ill, but the number of people who suspect surroundings of inauthenticity is growing. The amnestives don’t help against doubledoubts. There are secondary fantasies delusions, do you understand? Well, if anyone imagines that he imagines that imagines himself nothing – or vice versa. It is typical problem for modern psychiatry, what they call skyscrapers or multi storey. But the most dangerous are the new mascons. You can see, because of overdosing all these drugs, the organisms become deficient. People’s hair starts falling out, ears grow horny and tails disappear again…

– Appear again, you wanted to say.

– No, disappear because everyone has a tail, for thirty years. That was the result of orthographine. The price for fast learning to write had to pay.

– Impossible- I was at the beach, Professor, and nobody has a tail!

– Don’t be a child. The tails are masked with anticaudatalis, which in turn causes discoloration of nails and tooth decay.

– Which is also masked itself?

– Naturally […] If it weren’t a medical mystery, it would be known that every second inhabitant of New York is spotted, has a green bristles on the back, spikes on his ears, flat-foot and emphysema with an enlarged heart from constantly galloping. […]

Really without thinking I raised viol to nose which I kept in a hand because I forgot about it. My tears flowed from the pungent smell. I began to sneeze again and again. When I opened my eyes again the room has changed. The professor continued talking, I heard his voice but I was fascinated the changing and I didn’t understand a word. The walls became dirty, blue sky till now has became light grey and brown, some windows were broken, the rest of them was covered with dirty, rainy streaks.

I don’t know why I was afraid of it that slim elegant briefcase in which professor brought Congress materials became moldy bag.

Fragment 3

At the moment, I am the only (except you) man in the whole state, who can see! What I have on the face? – add quickly […]

– Dark glasses.

– So, you can see the same as me! – said. The chemist, who delivered medicines came back on a womb society and he doesn’t have any doubts. Nobody can’t have them – don’t you                understand it? […] We bring peace and relief by only one kept way. […] The things are if somebody has to die, let him couldn’t suffer. If we can’t change the truth, we will need to cover it, it’s still the last human duty.

– So, for sure we can’t change anything? – I asked.

– We have 2098 year – said. – 69 billion legally living and about 26 billion concealed. Average year temperature dropped 4 degree; after fifteen, twenty years it will be a glacier here. We can’t prevent glaciation. We can’t don’t let it – we can only cover it.

[1] Rewirtarium – the place where you can get a new life after hibernation

[2] Amaranth – pink red with a violet shadow

[3] Caftan – long Polish nobleman’s national costume

[4] Trimmed – edged by the piece of cloth

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