The Aldous Huxley quote I posted yesterday came from this article posted at LewRockwell.com. The author, Jim Quinn, simply nails the truth that Huxley’s nightmare, which the author himself predicted would occur hundreds of years from now, is already largely here. It is a lengthy article, and I can’t post it in its entirety. But I recommend everyone to read it in full.
This excerpt draws comparisons among the present day world, Brave New World, and 1984:
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
~ Aldous Huxley
When I started this article I was unsure whether Huxley’s nightmare would resonate in our current reality. Sadly, much of his novel applies to our society. Even sadder, our society now resembles an amalgamation of the two most famous dystopian novels in history: 1984 and Brave New World. Social critic Neil Postman contrasted the two views of the future:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”
Our civilization has fused the worst of both novels. Many people in our country aren’t capable of reading a book. Supposedly educated people have no interest in reading a book. The government withholds or manipulates information that is spoon-fed to the public. Trivial meaningless information floods the airwaves, keeping the public continuously diverted from seeking truth. The truth is lost in shades of grey and purposeful misinformation. Supposed differences between the ruling parties distract the public from realizing they are being fleeced by those in power. Government has used fear to create agencies and departments that have taken away our liberties and freedoms through Orwellian surveillance techniques. Our dumbed-down culture of hero worship, material pleasures, and ego enhancement is the representation of triviality. The Alphas have used our fears and desires to distract us from their plans to dominate and control every aspect of our lives. Their success is all but assured at this point.
I’m not optimistic that there are enough Americans who value freedom over presumed safety, security, and social welfare benefits. The public has been duped into believing thrilling falsehoods rather than unexciting truths. Huxley explains how the propagandists have stolen our freedom:
“In their anti-rational propaganda the enemies of freedom systematically pervert the resources of language in order to wheedle or stampede their victims into thinking, feeling and acting as they, the mind-manipulators, want them to think, feel and act. An education for freedom (and for the love and intelligence which are at once the conditions and the results of freedom) must be, among other things, an education in the proper uses of language.”
I do not pretend to have the answers. Intellectual curiosity, a skeptical nature, and not buying into our shallow culture are the best chance for change. Reading or re-reading Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited will open your eyes to our plight. The current Fourth Turning will end in glory or tragedy. The choices we make as a society in the next 10 to 15 years will ultimately decide our fate. Huxley’s advice in Brave New World Revisited is wise, pertinent, and implementable today:
As recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily cooperating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
If you wish to avoid the spiritual impoverishment of individuals and whole societies, leave the metropolis and revive the small country community, or alternately humanize the metropolis by creating within its network of mechanical organization the urban equivalents of small country communities, in which individuals can meet and cooperate as complete persons, not as the mere embodiments of specialized functions.
As citizens of the American Republic we must answer the question posed by Huxley:
“Do we really wish to act upon our knowledge? Does a majority of the population think it worthwhile to take a good deal of trouble, in order to halt and, if possible, reverse the current drift toward totalitarian control of everything?”