Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Our Brave New World Order

It's been well over 15 years since I initially read Adolph Huxley's Brave New World. I have just finished re-reading it, and I must say, Huxley has presented one of the most accurate predictions of life in the future from the era in which he wrote his novel.

While Orwell foretold some equally accurate prognostications regarding the surveillance police state and heavy handed authoritarian government that would try to control every citizen's thoughts and behaviors, I do believe Huxley was closer to the mark in envisioning how our modern day society would become.

As Neil Postman wrote in the foreward to his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death:

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another -- slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

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 capacity for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

I've read 1984 at least three times over the years, but it was the re-reading of "Brave New World" -- this time with a mind made aware of the realities of our current existence -- that I have to say, I believe Postman was right about this.

Look how far along Huxley's nightmare vision of dystopia have already come to pass....

* Sex would be completely disassociated with reproduction. (We're almost there.)

* The nuclear family model would fall out of mainstream acceptability. Motherhood and Fatherhood would become shameful. (We're almost there.)

* The use of chemicals by the population to avoid facing the stark reality of their existence.

* The rigid stratification of society into a socio-economic caste system.

* The conditioning of society to not value traditions, religion, or anything that is old. No value in keeping, mending or fixing things...a disposable society in which all things that break or wear out quickly and are immediately thrown out and replaced with NEW.

* The cultural acceptance of death as each person's duty to make way for your replacement in the larger community.

But most of all, I think Huxley's most accurate prediction was the successful means of the power elite to use what he called Hypnopædia - The use of repetitive suggestion to brainwash the masses. Except Huxley described this process in his story with the State implanting suggestions in developing infants while they sleep...we the Sheeple gladly embrace our own indoctrination and brainwashing while we are conscious and attending state indoctrination facilities (public schools and Universities) and our own voluntary consumption of mass media "entertainment!"

Environmentalism, Feminism, and Communitarianism are all our current versions of Conscious and Deliberate Hypnopædia. Talk to the average first world person still totally plugged into the current societal Matrix...and you will find it almost scary the platitudes, cliche's and verboten "opinions" they espouse.

Just like Huxley's characters repeating their hypnopædiac phrases, one can easily see the same sort of phrases regarding sex, Soma and behaviors, just listen/watch/read the thought patterns being regurgitated by ANY self-identified "Republican", "Democrat","liberal", "Conservative", "Feminist","Environmentalist" or even "Voter" in our modern world.

In fact, I think we could define "Political Correctness" as conforming to our Brave New World Order's hypnopædiac conditioning.

However, the thing I fear the most about our Brave New World Order is that Postman was merely making observations relevant to his time (he wrote the aforementioned quote in 1985), because I believe that the current paradigm of the New World Order following Huxley's prescient vision of population control through mass dumbing-down and infantilization of the sheeple and distracting them with base, hedonistic pleasures, will eventually result in mankind waking up from our stupefying slumber and find ourselves screaming under the authoritarian jackboot dystopia foretold by Orwell.

Once the New World Order power elite social engineers that have molded and shaped our present day existence have achieved absolute entrenchment into power and control, I think Orwell's vision will become our new reality.

The only real question here is how will each and every one of us refuse and resist? How can we save our own liberty and freedom from their nefarious master plan?

Because, after stepping back and looking at the big picture, I really don't see much hope for our future as a society and a culture.


Christina said...

I loved this book.

I remember my sr year of high school when our english teacher MADE us read it a SECOND time...we had read it our sophomore year.

"No high-school sophomore has the maturity and presence of mind to truly understand this book. Read it again."

She was right. What appalled me in its sheer grossness at 16 enthralled me by its satire and foresight into Human depravity and 1st world societies at 18.

I've read it at least one more time since and I think I own the book somewhere...

I've been making societal correlations between that book and the present time for what feels like years now. It really is quite horrendous.

Keoni Galt said...

Yes, Christina, it really is. I'm sure that if I thought about it some more, I could find even more modern day parallels with the book than what I initially posted here.

Anonymous said...

How can America and Canada resist? It's not likely that they will.

Australia and New Zealand don't have much higher chances, IMHO; I have long since written off the UK and Western Europe as lost causes.

One obvious tactic is to leave the USA and go elsewhere. The planet is a big place.

Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed to admit, that I'm already at the chemical abuse phase. Daily. Crap, I'm pathetic.
Haven't read the book though, I'll put in on my must read list.

SellCivilizationShort: So... where do we go? The world may be big, but isn't this a global phenomenon?

Keoni Galt said...

Anon, I just have to say here that all of my criticism's of people in this day and age certainly apply to myself as well.

I drink a little bit more than I know I should. But than, my use of alcohol is far different from the utter psychological dependence on Soma by Huxley's characters.

Anonymous said...

Hi HL,

It's been many years since I read 'Brave New World', but I can remember the impression it left on me. I didn't like the picture it painted at all, but I thought the depiction of people being controlled by reducing them to simpletons with indulgence was a credible one. It seems as if the one constant throughout our lives is the sound of others screaming for relief from their terrors, much of it imaginary, and the rush to pacify them with the padded cell and straight-jacket of over-regulation and loss of autonomy.

But something to keep in mind is that both Huxley and Orwell were writing about worlds peopled by the same sort of human that they lived with in their own times. Whatever new horror we think we may be living in was already obvious to these writers, and this makes me a little sceptical about the novelty of what we are beginning to see for ourselves. Perhaps we are just reaching that age where our youthful, rosy view of the world is becoming replaced with a colder, harsher assessment of what humanity is really capable of. However evil the way of the world may be today, I can think of periods in our past that I would call worse. I can't begin to imagine what it would have been like to be Jewish behind German lines during the Second World War, or to have been a Cambodian of any education during the reign of the Khmer Rouge.

I have heard it said that Orwell wasn't writing a prophecy, but a metaphorical account of his own times, the late forties after the war and the onset of the cold war. His original title was '1948' but later changed to 'Nineteen Eighty Four'. It's conceivable that Huxley was doing much the same - he wrote his book in 1931, immediately after one of the most self-indulgent decades of the century. The mood of the time would have been about as different as it could get to that of Orwell's, and it shows in the writing.

Regardless of all my speculations, it's good to see so many like yourself ready to challenge the nature of our own time and to hold it to some kind of account.

Rob Case

btw, Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

>> SellCivilizationShort: So... where do we go? The world may be big, but isn't this a global phenomenon?
January 15, 2009 3:21 PM

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so I assume you could find it here in rural Mexico, just as US ethnic study Ph.D's claim to find racism in Mexico.

Based of course on the existence of people of African descent living in the jungles of Vera Cruz, in much the same manner as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago, and somehow having below average standard of living.

Do not assume that life in every nation is the same as in the Anglosphere. It isn't at all. Mexico; Central America; several South American nations; life is totally different.

At the same time, not everyone has the ambition or adaptability to live in a Third World society. Choices; choices.

Anonymous age 66

Anonymous said...

How to resist? The 'elite' will always have rivals and power struggles and fail at making people of all one mind. These current marxi-feminists in power in much of the West will have to contend with all the allowances they have made with Islam under the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' thinking. The underlying beliefs are at odds with each other.

Encouraging division in the upper ranks would be the best plan.

Anonymous said...

"So... where do we go? The world may be big, but isn't this a global phenomenon?"

Personally, I like Taiwan, but there are many countries I think I would like if I took a few years to learn the language.

The issue is that one really needs at least three years to settle into a country, and life is short. So I don't advise trying Belize *and* Malaysia *and* Laos. Pick one and stick with it for a few years at least.

@Mandy: "
Encouraging division in the upper ranks would be the best plan."

Perhaps. I am not a natural political organizer, but I think right-thinking people must organize eventually. So I welcome discussion of tactics.

This is an issue everywhere, for all countries, but since so many voices in the movement are from the USA, I thought it appropriate to start by asking the Americans:

Hawaiian Libertarian, you're very welcome to post any thoughts you have on how to organize. I'm fresh out of ideas.

Michelle Therese said...

"The only real question here is how will each and every one of us refuse and resist? How can we save our own liberty and freedom from their nefarious master plan?"

By staying the hell away from "pop culture", throwing the TV out the window and educating our own damn kids instead of letting "someone else" do it for us.