The invention of Morel, a precious reflection on immortality

in #writing6 years ago

The fear of death is one of the oldest fears of the human being; the desires of eternal life and love forever are some of the most desired by humanity. The invention of Morel, by the Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, combines these fears and desires, questions them, reflects on them and proposes new ways to approach them.

Morel's invention also inspired films, plays and series such as: the 1961 film El año pasado en Marienbad, the Lost series or the 1986 Argentine film Hombre mirando al sudeste, among others. The novel, published in 1940, was the one that opened the way to the genre of science fiction in Spanish America.

Bioy Casares was an author who had a lot of recognition in his native country, Argentina. Friend of Borges and linked to the Ocampo sisters, being married to one of them, he surrounded himself with the most outstanding writers of the time at a time when numerous literary movements were taking place in Buenos Aires. Such was the friendship with Borges that in The Invention of Morel we have a prologue written by Borges himself.

Fiction and everyday life in The invention of Morel

We could say that Bioy Casares was ahead of his time, because he knew how to mix everyday elements with science fiction. In his novels, we appreciate very realistic characters in a not so realistic environment.

In the invention of Morel, we have a main character, the fugitive, who lives on a remote island fleeing from the law, we do not know his name or what he has done to be forced to escape the law, but we identify him as a character very everyday, whose emotions are very real.

The island where he lives, has been abandoned for years, the buildings are old and in disrepair; Soon, he realizes that strange things happen there, some intruders appear on the scene that repeat their actions and for which it seems to be invisible.


                                            Source imagen

Among the intruders is Faustine, a young woman from whom the fugitive falls in love, he tries on numerous occasions to talk to her, but she seems not to see him, it is as if he did not exist. On the other hand, we have Morel, a scientist who also seems in love with the young Faustine and whom the fugitive detests.

Soon, we will realize that these intruders are nothing more than images of a past that allude to people who once were on the island; Morel devised a machine that was able to record all these movements and all these people, was able to save their essence, their desires, their thoughts ... All their being. In this way, they would live eternally in a happy memory that they would not remember, something like the eternal Nietzschean return, but reliving a week of their lives for all eternity.

"I'm not dead anymore, I'm in love"
-Fugitive, The invention of Morel-

Fear of death and immortality in fiction

Death is part of us since we are born, every day, every minute and every second of our lives bring us a little closer to her. The problem comes when this becomes a fear and problems arise to accept it. To overcome this fear, some religions and philosophical currents propose us the idea of

"the other life": a promise of a better life after death.The belief that man is the union of body and soul says that, in order to liberate the immortal soul, we must act on certain issues and be good men and women. In this way, our immortal part, after dying on the physical plane, will be able to live in peace eternally.

Other religions, such as Buddhism, propose an immortality based on reincarnation. What these stories related to faith demonstrate is that, since antiquity, humanity has sought ways to overcome death, to explain why we die and, in this way, to try to accept it in the hope of a spiritual life dissociated from the passing physical.

"Fear makes you superstitious"
-Adolfo Bioy Casares-

When we have had the opportunity to make a portrait of immortality in the world of fiction, we imagine immortal beings like the elves of The Lord of the Rings, or mythological beings, that is, divinities. In this way, we see that the price to pay for immortality or for trying to emulate it is always high. In the invention of Morel, the scientist Morel has created a machine capable of giving us the immortality of the soul, but that will have a very high cost for our mortal body.

Through cinema and new technologies of the time, Bioy Casares raises many reflections and even anticipates what we nowadays know as virtual reality. It presents us with other ways to immortality. Immortality in the work The invention of Morel is sought by the protagonist from the beginning, but in an indirect and unconscious way.

"Eternity is one of the rare virtues of literature"
-Adolfo Bioy Casares-

Literature is, in a certain way, immortal, we revive an author every time we read his works, literature will remain for posterity and, in this way, the work will be immortal, it is another form of immortality. The protagonist narrates the facts in a kind of diary with the hope that someone will find it in the future, to record this in writing, we can say that he is looking for that immortality.


                                          Source imagen

Love and immortality in The invention of Morel

When the intruders fail to see the fugitive, when they ignore his existence, I have refuses to believe that they have not seen him, prefers to think that it is some plan to capture and deliver him; That is, I have refuses to not exist.

The intruders can not see it because they are images, memories, but the fugitive can not accept that invisibility, and that is not human would accept something like that. Not to exist, to be invisible to all, is a kind of death for the individual; something unacceptable because it is a death in life.

"It was not as if he had not heard me, as if he had not seen me; it was as if the ears I had been not good enough to hear, as if the eyes I had not been good enough to see"
-Fugitive, The invention of Morel-

On the other hand, the novel also explores love, the idealization of it and how it keeps the fugitive alive: it is his only way of escape, his only desire. And is that love is as natural and as human as death, like the fear of loneliness expressed by the protagonist.

In spite of what it would be discovered, I have fantasized about evil plans towards him, thinks that they conspire to betray him and, in the end, he does not dislike the idea as much. This is because of the fugitive fears loneliness and these thoughts are a very human characteristic. In the same way, jealousy is also present in him. On the other hand, I have realized the illogicality of his thoughts, but find it difficult to contain them, as he does to anyone who is exposed to a similar situation.

In this case, love is related to the platonic ideas of the same and also the literary topic religio amoris, where the beloved is shown as an unattainable, superior and divine. In addition, love in the novel will be the one that leads to immortality; it will be the trigger of everything, it will be the one that awakens in Morel the desire to immortalize himself with Faustine and the one that makes that same desire appear also in the fugitive.

Bioy Casares, thanks to his passion for cinema and his great ability as a storyteller, takes us to an almost visual work, worthy of a cinematographic script, introduces us to a character who loses his reason on several occasions, who writes to leave record of Everything that lives on the island, but it is a very human character and, surely, any of us would act similarly in such a situation. It is, without doubt, to work that is worth reading, that invites reflection.

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