Untitled by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Many years ago, I read a short story by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and what blew my mind was how rapidly evolution takes place in this story, unfolding in various directions. Alejandro truly possesses an astonishing power of imagination. He writes in Spanish and resides in France, but I have never come across this story translated into English. Since it is too good not to share, I decided to translate it myself. Here it goes.

REAL FACT: In Detroit, in 1963, Lewis Atkins, a 46-year-old mechanic, dreamed that a lion bit his leg and woke up with serious injuries on his thigh.

ANOTHER REAL FACT: The discovery of new vaccines and the production of synthetic organs have brought unprecedented development to medicine in human history.

NEAR FUTURE: Pan Aspirin is released for sale. This pill cures all diseases. Thousands of pharmacists are laid off, protesting against the medication. People pelt them with stones. Panacea tubes are sold in cinema confectioneries. The product is mixed into chewing gum, ice cream, and toothpaste. A spray is developed that sterilizes the interiors of homes. Every morning, the Government Anti Bacteriological Brigade sprays cities with Pan Aspirin clouds from their silent gliders. A problem arises: citizens born in this era have no resistance to viruses. It is resolved by launching rockets into the stratosphere that, upon bursting, cover the entire planet with a transparent film of Pan Aspirin that lasts longer than the lifespan of numerous generations.

Additionally, plastic organs replace any damaged part of the body. The first synthetic blood is industrially released. A patient discovers that, besides being used for transfusions, this product tastes very good. Pasteurized and vitamin-enriched blood displaces cola drinks, gives rise to new stews, and serves for beauty treatments. Red pools have become fashionable. For an extra fee, a non-coagulating stream of synthetic blood is obtained through special pipes. The human race, satiated with Pan Aspirin and blood, achieves total health.

DISTANT FUTURE: Medicine finally understands that the human body is not perfect. Doctors begin to complain that the human body is dysfunctional. Large demonstrations of dissatisfied youth march through the streets with signs saying, “Enough of dragging around this outdated form!” “Is there anything more ridiculous than a pair of legs?” “We are tired of seeing only through our eyes.” Medicine undergoes a radical change. The concept of “being to cure the sick” transforms into “being to improve the healthy.”

The case of the Soviet youth Rosa Kurlechov, who could see with her fingers, intrigues biologists for a long time. They knew that the skin reacts to light with electrical discharges, similar to the retina. It was later discovered that the rest of the skin also reacted in the same way, albeit more weakly. This led to considering the retina as a highly specialized epidermis. In 1967, two biologists, H.F. Beckett and R.A. Cone conducted a revealing experiment. Fragments of skin from animals, fish, frogs, rats, etc., continuously exposed to flashes of light, responded with minute but evident electrical discharges, detected by fine electrodes. The intensity of the electrical response was proportional to the strength of the luminous burst.

Based on this experience, instead of regarding the retina as a specialized epidermis, doctors began to view the skin as an atrophied retina. Epidermal rehabilitation institutes were established, applying massages with herbs and medicines. Optical training chambers for retinal development were created. Gradually, citizens transform their skin into a retina. They start seeing through the back of their necks, backs, arms, and buttocks. The concept of sexual relations enriches, and caresses become tactile-optical. Sociologists develop new theories: human vision conditions intelligence. Seeing more means thinking more.

Civilization reaches its first peak. A cataclysmic shift occurs: conquering complete vision, humans must transform their culture. They walk naked to not hinder their bodily vision. They have more confidence in themselves knowing what they have on each other’s backs. The notion of front or face is lost. Conversations often occur back-to-back. Shows revolve around a crystal ball full of spectators who look forward, backward, upward—over the crown of the head—and downward—under the soles of the feet. New theories propose that if humans have vision and touch throughout their bodies, they must also hear through all their pores. Cutaneous-auditory rehabilitation schools emerge.

Finally, humans smell, touch, see, and hear through any point on their skin. Individuals start to discard eyes and ears because they are superfluous. The wealthy have their ears removed and replaced with ivory ones. The best gift for a woman—girlfriend, wife, lover—is to remove her eyes, ears, and nose and fill the gaps with diamonds. Plastic organ factories thrive. A plastic with all the qualities of human skin is discovered. This material works through “sympathy.” Adapting it to the skin causes it to merge and transmit all messages to the brain. Super-organs start being manufactured. Instead of buying a car, citizens have their feet cut off, replaced with artificial ones equipped with jet motors, and travel at enormous speeds powered by their own locomotion organs.

The Medical Center for Body Improvement releases new body models each year, increasingly functional and stylish. Finally, humans understand that their ideal body is a sphere. Cities turn into solid, waxed tracks where large sensory balls roll. The desire to grow afflicts humans. The spheres grow larger and larger. They learn to counteract gravity. Through hormonal fertilizers, they manage to grow all kinds of plants and animals on their surfaces.  The gregarious civilization bursts like an explosion. Each sphere citizen sets off into space and transforms into a planet of the sun they prefer. Silent human spheres rotate, allowing tiny civilizations similar to those of ancient anthropomorphic humans to develop on their surfaces.  The spheres see them fight, be born, die, suffer, enjoy, yearn, hope, and say to themselves, “Ah, if I had my old mouth with its old teeth, I would burst into great laughter!”

 — Alejandro Jodorowsky, Antología Pánica, 1996.

error: Content is protected !!
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap