The fear of death is one of the oldest fears of the human being;the desires of eternal life and infinite love are among the most desired by humanity.The invention of Morel, by the Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, combines these fears and desires, challenges them, proposes a reflection and new ways of approaching them.
The invention of Morel,by the way, inspired movies, plays and series like: the 1961 filmLast year in Marienbad,the Lost series or the Argentine film of 1986Man looking to the southeast, among others. The novel, published in 1940, was the one that opened the way to the genre of science fiction in Latin America.
Bioy Casares was an author who enjoyed great recognition in his native Argentina. Friend of Borges and related to the sisters Ocampo because he was married to one of them,he was surrounded by the greatest writers of the time at a time when many literary movements were born in Buenos Aires. His friendship with Borges was so great thatThe invention of Morelenjoys a prologue written by the latter.
Fiction and everyday lifeThe invention of Morel
We could say thatBioy Casares was ahead of his time because he was able to mix everyday elements with science fiction.In his novels, we find very realistic characters in a not so realistic environment.
InThe invention of Morel,the main character, the fugitive, lives on a remote island and flees the law.We do not know his name or what he could do to be forced to flee the law but we identify him as a very everyday character, with very real emotions.
The island where he lives has been abandoned for years. The buildings are old and in poor condition; he quickly realizes thatstrange things happen there. Intruders who repeat his actions enter the scene but they do not seem to see it.
Among the intruders, we find Faustine, a young woman whose fugitive falls in love.He tries to talk to her several times but she does not seem to see him: it's as if he does not exist. Otherwise,we meet Morel, a scientist who also seems to be in love with young Faustine and whom the fugitive hates.
We will quickly realize thatthese intruders are nothing more than images of a past that refer to people who have lived on the island; Morel had imagined a machine capable of recording all these movements and all these people, to keep their essence, their desires, their thoughts … their whole being.In this way, they would live forever in a happy memory they would not remember for themselves, something resembling the eternal Nietzschean return but reliving a week of their life for eternity.
"I'm no longer dead, I'm in love."
-Fugitive, the invention of Morel-
The fear of death and immortality in fiction
Death is part of us from birth: every day, every minute and every second of our life, we get closer to it.The problem appears when it turns into fear and when difficulties to accept it arise. To overcome this fear, certain religions and philosophical currents offer us the idea of "the other life": a promise of a better life after death.
The belief that the man isthe union of body and soul says that in order to liberate the immortal soul, we must act by paying attention to certain pointsand be good men and women. In this way our immortal part, after its death on the physical plane, will be able to live eternally in peace.
Other religions such as Buddhism propose immortality based on reincarnation. These stories related to faith show thatsince ancient times, humanity has sought ways to overcome death, to explain why we are dying and thus to try to accept itfacing the hope of a spiritual life dissociated from the physical life.
"Fear makes people superstitious."
-Adolfo Bioy Casares-
When we had the opportunity to portray immortality in the world of fiction, we imagine immortal beings like the elves of theLord of the Ringsor mythological beings, that is, deities. We thus see that the price to pay for immortality or to try to imitate it is high. InThe invention of Morel,the scientist Morel has created a machine capable of offering us the immortality of the soul, but it will have a very high cost for our mortal body.
Through the cinema and the new technologies of the time, Bioy Casares initiates many reflections and anticipates even what we know today as the virtual reality.He presents us with other ways to immortality.Immortality in the workThe invention of Morelis sought from the beginning by the protagonist but in an indirect and unconscious way.
"Eternity is one of the few virtues of literature."
-Adolfo Bioy Casares-
Literature is, in a way, immortal. We resurrect an author every time we read his works. Literature will always be there for future generations andthe work will be immortal. The protagonist narrates the facts in a sort of newspaper, hoping that someone will find it in the future. By leaving a written record, we can say that he seeks immortality.
Love and immortality inThe invention of Morel
When intruders fail to see the fugitive, when they ignore his existence,he refuses to believe that they have not seen him and prefers to think that it is a plan to capture him and deliver him to justice; in other words, he refuses not to exist.
Intruders can not see it because they are images, memories. However, the fugitive can not accept this invisibility:no human would accept such a thing. The fact of not existing or being invisible to all presupposes a kind of death for the individual, which is 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 he had were not serving him to listen, as if the eyes that he owned did not serve him to see "
-Fugitive,The invention of Morel-
Otherwise,the novel also explores the theme of love, the idealization of the latter and the way in which he keeps alive the fugitive.This is his only escape, his only desire. Love is as natural and human as death, as is the fear of loneliness expressed by the protagonist.
Even if being discovered would be a disaster, he imagines malicious plans, believes that intruders conspire to capture him and, in the end, the idea does not displease him that much.The fugitive is afraid of loneliness and these ideas are a very human characteristic.He also feels jealousy. He realizes that his thoughts are not logical but he finds it difficult to remember them, as anyone who would face a similar situation.
In this case, love is linked to platonic ideas and literary clichéreligio amoris,in which the beloved woman is described as an unattainable, superior and divine being. By the way, love in the novelwill be the common thread towards immortality; he will open all doors,he will awaken in Morel a desire to live eternally alongside Faustina and will make this same desire appear to the fugitive.
Bioy Casares, thanks to his passion for cinema and his great skill as a narrator,transports us into an almost visual work, worthy of a cinematographic scenario.He presents us with a character who comes to lose his reason several times, who writes to leave a trace of all that he lives on the island. It is still a very human character andanybody among us would certainly act in a similar way in such a situation.This is undoubtedly a work that is worth reading and invites reflection.
"Death is a lived life, life is a coming death."
-Jorge Luis Borges-