Brave New World vs Orwellian Nightmare

Discussion in 'Consumer Advocacy' started by littleplanet, May 27, 2006.

  1. littleplanet

    littleplanet Member

    Consider the difference between these two books:
    George Orwell's "1984"
    Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"

    Which of the two was taken more seriously?
    I contend that 1984 seemed entirely plausible, and far less of a science fiction fantasy than Brave New World.

    Well, 1984 came and went 22 years ago, and we all heaved a sigh of relief.
    At the time wall screens hardly existed -
    But consider this:
    A few years back, I read a piece about webcam predators - posting images on the net that had not been solicited.
    The article had a very disturbing picture on its first page.
    In this picture, a woman was sitting at her home computer, looking wildly around the room she was in, trying to figure out where the hidden camera was. On her computer screen is a smaller version of the same scene.
    Everyone more or less assumed that the template for 1984 was the Soviet Union. Would that now be today's China?

    On to Brave New World.
    This book has been largely dismissed as a proper forcast of any plausible future. The thing I remember about the book - is the mindless devotion of the masses to entertainment...and of course, it's "happy" pill - soma.

    I think a lot about what was put forward in that book, these days.
    I live in a city with human-scale neighborhoods. Very walkable. A whole lot of public domain to wander around in.
    This city center is surrounded by suburbs and exburbs that represent about three quarters of the entire population of the greater urban area.
    Out there - there is no public domain. It has all been privatized.
    Out there - no-one walks. There is really nowhere to walk to.
    Consequently, everyone drives. They participate in cultural gridlock, as it were. They exist inside air-conditioned plastic bubbles, with endless toys to distract themselves with, including of course the innocuous cell phone, car-sized video screens, stereo a weird way, a micro-surrogate of their family rooms.
    For them, media infotainment is their spice of life. Infotainment has replaced meaningful discourse.
    I ponder just what their "happiness pill" might be...
    Easy credit? Consumer debt? An upside-down mortgage?

    Orwell's Winston Smith re-wrote history - deleted what didn't fit the party line. Meanwhile the party was busy re-inventing language...dumbing it down to a comic book simplicity. (newspeak)
    I have to laugh the rare times I get a glimpse of IM and chatline linguistic abuse. The eternal quest to reduce a proper sentence down to a few paltry symbols.

    I remember Huxley's "feelies." (Movies with a kind of sensuround apparatus that were described as a kind of virtual reality at the time.)

    After 9/11, America was urged to go shopping. As if its consumer culture could cure the ills that produced that unhappy day. As if the corporate bottom line was all that mattered, and all it took to swing society back on its feet was a great Christmas shopping season.

    Something very strange is going on - as if, while no-one was looking, really - or paying much attention, the masses have been soothed into a swoon. We've been handed a steady diet of diversion - entertaining ourselves to death, as one author put it.

    I don't much care about cheap trinkets from China, or Wal*Mart's profit margin. But I would love to know more about what really goes on over there in that part of the world - if they would only talk to us. The reason why they don't is more important than we might imagine.

    Orwell created a very sexy beast, and got all the press. He'd have much to say about all that these days, no doubt.

    I think Huxley wins hands down. His vision was much darker, and a more insidious and much deeper malaise has overtaken the "civilized" world.
    I wonder how much he sensed that?
    How "brave" are we, at all?
  2. i loved BNW. i had to read it in my sociology class, and the whole class go into the book. i think my prof did an excellent job picking that book and opened the eyes of quite a few people in the room to the way society works and how so many people just go around not knowing each other or caring, she had an excellent comparison to the soma, but i cant think of it at the moment.
  3. Dr Phibes

    Dr Phibes Banned

    IPT 1984 WTB as it is NTT of what we know today
    All the words we are writing will one day have equivallence
    words will not compete but will all say the same thing

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