Free World or Brave New World?

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    Jun 19, 2010 9:36 AM GMT
    The following is a 1958 interview with Aldous Huxley, author of the dystopian classic, "Brave New World," in which he imagined and predicted that the world would one day live under a global totalitarian state. In 1958, he wrote the essay, "Brave New World Revisited," which postulated that this process was already very much underway. This interview was done at that time.








    So, what say you?

    Are we in the "free world" or the "Brave New World"? Are we transforming from one to the other? Where do we stand?

    Huxley stated that it was necessary to discuss these issues in order to prevent them, or as a founding father of the US stated, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

    So... be vigilant and 'discuss'.

    I know there are some Huxley fans out there.
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    Jun 19, 2010 10:11 AM GMT
    And just for those who are interested, this is a speech that Huxley gave at UC Berkeley in 1962 on the "Ultimate Revolution."

















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    Jun 19, 2010 8:00 PM GMT
    One way or another, it is true, and it's scaaaryyy icon_eek.gif
    lol... Thanks for the post, not that I wasn't aware of similar point of view, but... interesting stuff. I was hesitant about the part where he started talking about authority trying to alter person's unconscious mind... like for 2 seconds; now that I think of it, omg it's true...

    being in a depressed state today anyway I say whatever we're all doomed anyway... (kidding)
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    Jun 19, 2010 8:05 PM GMT
    Well the fact that you and others are discussing this is reason enough for hope.
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    Jun 19, 2010 8:13 PM GMT
    lol, I'd think people would be all over this... either each and everone agrees or they are still watching icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 19, 2010 8:26 PM GMT
    Most of the mechanics of Brave New world are unrealized. We don't have a formalized caste system--while SES mobility is limited, status changes can occur. We also don't reinforce it with chemical retardation of fetal development. We don't use hypnopaedic conditioning--although falling asleep with Fox News playing might come close. We also don't encourage children to have sex in elementary education, or sanction the frequent use of opiates. Heck, we'll hand you a rifle and sign you up for a lifetime of PTSD before you can have a drink with friends. Hard to escape our cultural roots, I suppose. icon_smile.gif

    I think Huxley predicted well a consumer-oriented society. Whether that's deliberately engineered or the product of innate human desires decoupled from their evolutionary context is a tough question; personally, I think the existence of hoarding personalities is evidence that acquisition of goods is a deep part of human nature, and is probably mediated by an interaction of genes and environment. On the flip side, our economy is predicated on growth, and with few restrictions on advertising, people get inundated with corporate messages. That's analogous, perhaps, to the conditioning Huxley wrote.

    Vapid entertainment? Yup, he's got that nailed. People like fantasy and wild parties. That's been the case throughout recorded history. News at 11.

    As for the separation of civilized society from savages... I'm not so sure. You can make a good argument that social engagment has actually decreased in US society over the last fifty years. I'm not sure that jibes with Huxley's intensely social view.
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    Jun 19, 2010 8:38 PM GMT
    Dude, we are so headed to the "Brave New World" world.

    For those that have read, let's analyze:

    1. COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY- VERSUS INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM
    This issue doesn't really seem to be getting worse from my perspective, but this will be the final stepping stone in our downfall. Let us digress.

    2. SCIENCE AS A MEANS OF CONTROL
    Our generation is one controlled less by SCIENCE, but more by TECHNOLOGY. That will be our great downfall. We are producing more and more new pieces of technology than we are able to properly adapt to them.

    3. THE THREAT OF GENETIC ENGINEERING
    Science. It can be a wonderful thing. But not in the hands of humans. I recently read a thread about a gene that scientists are finding in fetuses that leads to homosexual children. And they are able to modify it=no gay baybay. It's could be a matter of time before this ideal consumes many minorities and leads us to the dystopic world of Huxley's novel.

    4. THE MISUSE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITIONING
    I think this will come if #2 goes too far. The hypnopaedic conditioning they use in Brave New World doesn't bear much resemblance to any means of control in our world. But the way we classify based on race often leads to a similar self-fulfilling prophecy for many. We see this in tv, stick thin supermodels with perfect teeth and wonderful hair. Propaganda is where this psychological conditioning starts.

    5. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS CARRIED TO AN EXTREME
    This is difficult to perceive in our society, as happiness can mean different things to anyone. But as a whole, our government is more or less looking out for the happiness of our nation. This goes with #1 to me.

    6. THE CHEAPENING OF SEXUAL PLEASURE
    AHA! My favorite. This one should explain itself. But lets me say this. Our grandparents would weep at the sight of us, one night stands, bug chasers. Sex was once an intimate, taboo thing. That doesn't mean we have to act like it isn't there. Rather, there should still be a sanctity to it. With the technology that we've developed, sex has become very easy. And with that, we've grown to accept that as natural. Craigslist. Grindr. Manhunt. The possibilities are truly endless. True love has been exiled in Huxley's novel, and our behaviors are certainly and indication of where things are headed.

    7. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS THROUGH DRUGS
    Huxley uses drugs to keep all his characters emotionally numb. Drug use in America is on a steep rise. There ya go.

    8. THE THREAT OF MINDLESS CONSUMPTION AND MINDLESS DIVERSIONS
    Omg. Have you heard the music these days? If that isn't mindless diversion, I don't know what is. OOH, let's blast it as loud as can be in clubs so no one can even hear themselves think, much less any other person. Mindless consumption, pssh, nooooo. That would be blasphemy. But then there's also tv. Oh boy, Americans sure love their tv. I know I do. But that COULDN'T be diversion either.

    9. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FAMILY
    This one is rather difficult to assess on the social level, but this also seems to go along with #1 and #5. And #2.

    Shit. I should probably stop.
    I've been waiting for this damned thread.
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    Jun 19, 2010 9:12 PM GMT
    comeback_kid saidDude, we are so headed to the "Brave New World" world.

    For those that have read, let's analyze:



    8. THE THREAT OF MINDLESS CONSUMPTION AND MINDLESS DIVERSIONS
    Omg. Have you heard the music these days? If that isn't mindless diversion, I don't know what is. OOH, let's blast it as loud as can be in clubs so no one can even hear themselves think, much less any other person. Mindless consumption, pssh, nooooo. That would be blasphemy. But then there's also tv. Oh boy, Americans sure love their tv. I know I do. But that COULDN'T be diversion either.



    As far as mindless entertainment goes, the 1983 movie now seems pretty accurate in its vision of the future.

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    Jun 19, 2010 9:24 PM GMT
    I never thought Huxley was a particularly great writer, the book was ok, but it lacks something Orwell always found so easily... I think its the vision he made... and noone is going to be medicating us a certain way anytime soon...
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    Jun 19, 2010 9:34 PM GMT
    KyleAD saidI never thought Huxley was a particularly great writer, the book was ok, but it lacks something Orwell always found so easily... I think its the vision he made... and noone is going to be medicating us a certain way anytime soon...


    I would have to agree, but I think it comes at an advantage. His writing style tends to be rather simple and accessible. That doesn't detract from the fact that what he is saying, is really happening. Sure, 1984 has come and gone. People know to fear war and violence and pain. But they don't really know to fear community and technology and extreme happiness. Both books show 2 very contrasting extremes. But I think Brave New World is more magnificent in its relevance as time passes and society wanders.
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    Jun 20, 2010 4:46 AM GMT
    soma....
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    Jun 20, 2010 5:20 AM GMT
    comeback_kid said
    7. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS THROUGH DRUGS
    Huxley uses drugs to keep all his characters emotionally numb. Drug use in America is on a steep rise. There ya go.


    [Citation needed]

    Seriously, dude. Pretty much every NIDA trend paper I've read has shown significant, gradual decline since the 1980s. Cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines, underage alcohol abuse, amphetamines, even smoking--all dropping or at a local minima in youth surveys, which are one of the broadest sample sets you can get for at-risk individuals. As far as I can tell it's prescription drug abuse that's the big riser, recently--but that's not indicative of a larger trend.
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    Jun 20, 2010 5:28 AM GMT
    . . . none of this matters at all, not in the least bit . . . it's merely a parlor game for those whose IQ is around 135-150 or so . . .

    . . . the fellaheen (you know them -- they are the ones with the bachelors degrees and People magazine subscriptions) are tribalists and totalists by nature . . . they watch NBA and NFL games, for god's sake . . . they don't appreciate or deserve freedom, so why get one's knickers in a twist about it . . .

    . . . just be sure to position yourself in such a way that you are immune or distanced from the turmoil to come . . .
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    Jun 20, 2010 5:44 PM GMT
    onethirtyseven said
    comeback_kid said
    7. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS THROUGH DRUGS
    Huxley uses drugs to keep all his characters emotionally numb. Drug use in America is on a steep rise. There ya go.


    [Citation needed]

    Seriously, dude. Pretty much every NIDA trend paper I've read has shown significant, gradual decline since the 1980s. Cocaine, hallucinogens, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines, underage alcohol abuse, amphetamines, even smoking--all dropping or at a local minima in youth surveys, which are one of the broadest sample sets you can get for at-risk individuals. As far as I can tell it's prescription drug abuse that's the big riser, recently--but that's not indicative of a larger trend.


    So are you trying to tell me that my generation is doing less drugs than previous generations? Because I'm not sure if I believe that, at least from my personal experience. I'm sure it was nothing like the late 70's and 80's, but I've seen many friends that have turned to weed in the past few years. Not to mention the push to legalize it.
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    Jun 20, 2010 6:07 PM GMT
    KyleAD saidI never thought Huxley was a particularly great writer, the book was ok, but it lacks something Orwell always found so easily... I think its the vision he made... and noone is going to be medicating us a certain way anytime soon...

    Huxley's characters are cardboard cutouts manipulated to make didactic points. You can't take Bernard and Lenina too seriously because their problems are too obviously artificial.
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    Jun 20, 2010 6:53 PM GMT
    comeback_kid said

    So are you trying to tell me that my generation is doing less drugs than previous generations? Because I'm not sure if I believe that, at least from my personal experience. I'm sure it was nothing like the late 70's and 80's, but I've seen many friends that have turned to weed in the past few years. Not to mention the push to legalize it.


    Yes. Past-month-marijuana use: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/gifs/Fig9-2.gif

    (Via http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nsduh/2k8nsduh/2k8Results.cfm)

    It's worth reading--there's some surprising data in there. Drug use among those aged 50-60 *is* rising dramatically. People tend to carry social attitudes from their youth with them through life, and folks going through adolescence in the '60s are now turning 55. Neat, huh?
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    Jun 20, 2010 8:23 PM GMT
    Aldous Huxley only scratched the surface of what is yet to come! this phenomenon of mind control and the degeneration of humanity has been going on since the Industrial revolution, in other words it is nothing new! and the reason why we as individuals haven't noticed is because of the world governments success to SLOWLY brainwashed our minds through modern venues such as the media: TV, computers and the internet, newspaper, cellphones, I-Pods, the automobile, and even the many jobs that are directly and indirectly connected to this well planned mind control of all humanity as we know it! why should I be concerned and even alarmed, you ask? it is too complex and even far fetch for me to explain on here for anyone to understand, but one thing is certain if society ( who at one time used to be made up of individuals) don't put a stop to the dependencies of the modern world, it won't be long before we will loose our freedom to be one with ourselves and this beautiful planet we live in, that which I truly believe, these two to be our only true vision and mission in life.

    So who is the culprit behind this silent enemy of humanity? technology!! mankind have literally lost its many organically ingrown abilities to evolve side by side with nature, as such we are headed to become the robots of the future.


    Leandro ♥
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    Jun 20, 2010 11:22 PM GMT
    "I see conspiracy theorists!"
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    Jun 21, 2010 12:21 AM GMT
    conscienti1984 said"I see conspiracy theorists!"


    Is that how you would classify Aldous Huxley? Because I would take issue with that. I think he was more aptly, a "social critic."
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    Jun 21, 2010 12:30 AM GMT
    I'm still waiting for my soma,

    ultimately Huxley describes a society that is governed by science and scientific classifications rather than religion and culture as was the case in the 1930's and today to a certain degree. Science provides a utopian existence that should not be challenged or reformed. It is timeless in it's view that society's governing body believes it knows best for all, whether that be a Church, Govt or Scientific principle.

    Huxley's work is pure social commentary, I've loved this book since junior high.
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    Jun 21, 2010 1:11 AM GMT
    Definitely "Brave New World" but under the guise of "free world," and I don't think there's anything we can do about it either, at this point. icon_sad.gif But then again I'm kind of a pessimist when it comes to stuff like this.
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    Jun 21, 2010 1:15 AM GMT
    I think Huxley's vision and words were and are very relevant to our society.

    Apple Takes a Page From "Brave New World"
    http://bigthink.com/ideas/19874

    Jeremy Rifkin: fears of a brave new world
    http://www.unesco.org/courier/1998_09/uk/dires/txt1.htm

    Bill Joy, a computer scientist who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, wrote an article in 2000 for Wired Magazine, called "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us"... "Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species."

    "From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century."
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html

    Watch the documentary, "Orwell Rolls in His Grave," to analyze the society Orwell came to fear, also something I believe to be present in today's and tomorrow's society.
    http://freedocumentaries.org/int.php?filmID=87

    An excellent three-part BBC documentary on the origins of modern psychiatry, "The Trap"

    Part 1: "Fuck You Buddy"



    Part 2: "The Lonely Robot"



    Part 3: "We Will Force You To Be Free"



    Also highly recommend the same documentary film maker's previous incredible BBC documentary series, "The Power of Nightmares", on the neo-conservatives in the United States, and the history of al-Qaeda, and how the group essentially doesn't exist.

    The Power of Nightmares

    Part 1: "baby, It's Cold Outside."



    Part 2: "The Phantom Victory"



    Part 3: "The Shadows in the Cave"

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    Jun 21, 2010 1:16 AM GMT
    I do not see it either way, what is happening now has been right along with the pattern of a civilization's decline. The Global Age is rising and we are trying to turn back the clock.
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    Jun 21, 2010 1:17 AM GMT
    photosrus saidDefinitely "Brave New World" but under the guise of "free world," and I don't think there's anything we can do about it either, at this point. icon_sad.gif But then again I'm kind of a pessimist when it comes to stuff like this.







    "Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will."
    -- Antonio Gramsci
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    Jun 21, 2010 2:23 AM GMT
    I had to read Brave New World in freshman English comp in college. I remember thinking it was overly dramatized, although now it seems to be coming true.

    I think that thematically, these things are happening.

    I met TWO guys in the past week that are only 26 and are both on Lexapro, and eveyone seems to be on something that enhances their mood. I don't think this is a conspiracy theory, I think it is becoming reality-- No conspiracy, just Huxley's ability to somewhat accurately predict a vision.

    These ideas were simply unheard of in the 1930's but if you think about what they seem today, you see: test tube babies, xanax, Oxycontin, recreational sex, they are all legitimate shifts in the way we get along in society, and that was his social commentary. It is the way we cope in a world that is becoming more populous and the resources are becoming more strained. It is not by design of some elite back door organization, it is a reflection of how humans cope when technological forces change the way we live.

    My parents came of age in the 60's and one of the things they used to say to me, which was very "hippie" of them, was "How free do you want to be?" and quite frankly, the two on Lexapro are zombies. Not that there is anything wrong with someone taking it for legitimate depression, I just think these two take it because they cannot cope.

    So, yes it is a BRAVE new world, and it gets Braver with every passing day.