Thursday, June 14, 2012

How both 1984 and Brave New World have become Reality

A study of 1984 and Brave New World
And our modern society
Both of these Novels Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World convey a highly plausible future. However many people argue about which is the better representation or which will be the one that is most likely to come true. How about I present a new theory, what if both are right and we are living the type of society today presented by each, just not in the way we imagine it.
Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

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 egotism.
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 our desire will ruin us.

“Stuart McMillen’s webcomic does a marvelous job of adapting (and updating!) Neil Postman’s famous book-length essay, Amusing Ourselves to Death, which argues that Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future in Brave New World was ultimately more accurate than the one proposed by George Orwell in 1984.”
View the simplified web comic below

We live in a society that exemplifies both of these predictions are correct. We live in a modern world that contains both of these predictions separately yet together. Countries such as The United States of America, England, Australia, Japan and France currently exemplify almost exactly (only some technologies are not yet created) the world depicted by Huxley in that these societies of these countries are run by our love of desires and hedonistic leanings. The Entertainment industry along with most of the news industries revolve around the fact that people do not want to see what is really happening and only want pleasure and happiness. This gives way for shows that praise stupidity, egotism, cruelty, and greed in a good light. The news has also become desensitizing due to a blasting of advertisements and quick successions of various types of news stories such as switching from a story of genocide to a new type of baby formula for better brain growth to then switching to a cure for cancer and again switching to a long and unnecessary news report about a celebrity fashion gaff. There is so much blasting of information and at such a large disposal that the people do not even need to try to remember facts or figures to advance in life. This has led to an uncaring society in which the people no longer care to read books leading to not needing to ban certain books as a large majority of the populace has no more interest. Huxley would have surely seen his vision of the future become true almost perfectly exemplified by the satirical and sadly true web comic above.
Then there are countries of which exemplify the world that Orwell feared would come to pass, countries such as Burma (now Myanmar), North Korea, North Vietnam, to an extent China, Iran, Somalia, Uganda and Syria. These countries almost perfectly resemble the totalitarian rule of power demonstrated by Orwell’s vision. They each have banned many books and have the media censored to where everything is mis-information to mislead the people into believing that their nation is doing great and nothing is wrong when the exact opposite is happening. There is all out oppression and great distinction of classes, sexism, racism, and little to no freedom of religion. The people have turned to a state of fear of which they even are careful of what they think in order to avoid being taken or killed for even thoughts of the need for change.

Though very sad both visions of the future presented independently by Huxley and Orwell have come to pass each in their own way in various parts of the modern world, influencing the societies around it. The modern world in which we live in is truly a “Brave New 1984” in which we are both being ruined by what we fear and what we desire. Our world is run by our fears and our desires.

"Biblioklept." Biblioklept. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2012. <>.
Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) by Neil Postman
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley published in 1931
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell published in 1949

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