The short novel, The Futurological Congress, by Stanislaw Lem tells the dark and twisted tale of Ijon Tichy’s adventures in a drug induced fantasy world. In the novel, Tichy attends The World Futurological Congress at the Costa Rica Hilton in order to discuss global issues such as overpopulation. However, upon his arrival his plans quickly go awry as he consumes contaminated water that causes him to experience wild hallucinations. Upon Tichy’s arrival in Costa Rica he is introduced to the strange world that is the Costa Rica Hilton in Nounas. A hotel that is 164 floors tall and inclusive of an “all-girl orchestra that played Bach while performing a cleverly choreographed striptease”, a ten foot crowbar in the bathroom, and full access to a room that is “guaranteed bomb-free.” If that wasn’t alarming enough, the conference itself was rather abnormal with a lucrative amount of presenters and documents being distributed sporadically. However, it wasn’t the crowbar or the striptease that alarmed Tichy, but rather the side effects that he was experiencing from consuming the contaminated drug infused water. The events following Tichy’s first night at the Costa Rica Hilton emphasize the theme of this scientific novel which is the nature and power of scientifically-induced illusion, also known as drug induced hallucinations in a suffering world. As Tichy trips out on drugs, he embarks on a trip to a utopian society where money is not an object and individuals do not experience greed or suffering because of the simple fact that they can simply walk into any bank and a request a sum of money that is interest free and does not necessarily have to be paid back. When Tichy first learns about this banking system he asks what any logical human would ask: how do banks prevent bankruptcy if individuals are not forced to repay the debt? The answer to that was simple: all those who live in this so called “utopian” society are on drugs that force them to act and feel certain ways. People take drugs that enable them to take on new persona’s and in this particular instance, individuals take drugs that instill a sense of leadership and work ethic forcing them to work diligently so they can easily pay off their debt. It is a very common trend amongst this society to take drugs in order to gain a personality trait, mood or a certain characteristic. For instance, When Tichy and Elin got into an argument Elin took a drug to enhance her argumentativeness causing her to prolong the fight. There are various instances throughout the novel wherein drugs are used to alter people’s persona’s which only help emphasize the idea that within a Utopian society, scientifically induced illusions can numb the harsh realities of the world.As soon as Tichy wakes up from his suspended hallucination he realizes that people consume psychedelic hallucination-inducing drugs routinely for their leisure. Rather than watching movies, reading, or playing video games, like in contemporary society, people prefer to alter their minds in order to live out the fantasies they see on television. Tichy quickly becomes aware of the problems within this society and realizes that everyone has lost their sense of self and instead, everyone prefers to live within their drug-induced fantasy world. The issue with this is that individuals have lost their sense of emotion and prefer to take pills or alternative drugs in order to live out their dark and twisted fantasies that are inclusive of sexual assault, murder and crime. This novel follows Tichy as he embarks on his drug-induced adventures and becomes acclimated to his strange new life. While Ichy is hallucinating he travels to a Utopian society where money is not an object and overpopulation is not an issue. Drugs alter the minds of those who are suffering, so much so that they become dependent on those drugs and need them to go about their daily lives. This emphasizes the idea that people become dependent on drugs causing them to lose motivation to do anything that requires some level of effort. It does not take long for Tichy to realize that he is trapped in a terrifying environment  where the worst in humanity is brought to life by the power of drugs to stimulate the minds of those that take them.As the novel prevails, Tichy learns that nothing is what it appears to be.  Tichy later finds out that a pharmacological-dictatorship is behind everything that is happening and they have been promoting the use of drugs on society in order to give individuals a sense of purpose and success.  Not surprisingly, everyone within this “utopian” society experiences a sense of luxury, wealth, prestige and advanced technology when things are in fact the opposite–the economy, the environment and the mental state of the citizens are actually in a state of terror and collapse. A prominent moment within the novel is when Symington, who ends up being exposed as the dictator of this drug-indused world states that the captivation of humanity is a mere illusion that has been used to conceal the tragedies and the end of the world.”‘We keep this civilization narcotized, for otherwise it could not endure itself. That is why its sleep must not be disturbed…’ ” Symington tells Tichy.” ‘The year is 2098…with 69 billion inhabitants legally registered and approximately another 26 billion in hiding. The average annual temperature has fallen four degrees. In fifteen or twenty years there will be glaciers here. We have no way of averting or halting their advance — we can only keep them secret.’ “”‘I always thought there would be ice in hell,’…” Tichy responds. “‘And so you paint the gates with pretty pictures?'”**One can make the assumption that Stanislaw Lem based The Futurological Congress on what has been taking place around the world and the issues with global warming and the sea level rising in flooding states like Florida. Although Symington’s rationale does not condemn the fact that he promotes drug-abuse, it does explain why he promotes the consumption of drugs.The most interesting thing about this novel is how far we have moved in the direction that is described within the novel. In today’s society, we have the ability to partake in virtual realities with the advancement of technology and modern day “toys” such as virtual reality goggles. We live in a society that is obsessed with the latest and most realistic video games, virtual reality technologies and stimulating rides that make you feel like a part of the game or video which can make it seem as if the world of imagination exists.The result of all of this is a society that has become numb to emotion, pain, and harsh realities. We live in a society that is obsessed and addicted to simulating-technologies, television, movies and all forms of entertainment for that matter. The entertainment industry has revolutionized the way we live our lives–particularly networks like Netflix and Hulu. The public has become addicted to shows like Stranger Things that contain strange fictitious scenes similar to those described in Tichy’s drug induced world.  It is evident that drugs and simulation-based forms of entertainment and drugs are affecting society and the lives of young people who are growing up in popular culture where it is often difficult to find the truth. Drugs give people a false view of life and often times can numb the harsh realities of the world, however, living within a drug-induced fantasy world does not help resolve global issues; knowledge and seeking to understand the root of the problem does.

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