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Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley

 
Wiley Coyote
05/21/2005 10:31 AM
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Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
More timely than ever...here´s an introduction...and what would he write today?

__________________________

In 1958, Aldous Huxley wrote what might be called a sequel to his novel Brave New World, published in 1932, but it was a sequel that did not revisit the story or the characters, or re-enter the world of the novel. Instead, he revisited that world in a set of 12 essays. Taking a second look at specific aspects of the future Huxley imagined in Brave New World, Huxley meditated on how his fantasy seemed to be turning into reality, frighteningly and much more quickly than he had ever dreamed.

That he had been so prophetic in 1931 about the dystopian future gave Huxley no comfort. He was a far more serious man in 1958 -- at the age of 64 -- and the world was a very different place, transformed by the catastrophe of World War II, the advent of nuclear weapons and the grip of the Cold War. Looking behind the Iron Curtain, where people were not free but dominated by totalitarian power, Huxley could only bow to the grim prophecy of his friend (and, briefly, his student at Eton) George Orwell in the novel 1984. In the free world, however, the situation seemed even more to be one for despair. For it seemed to Huxley that people were well on their way to giving up their freedom and the sanctity of their individualism, in exchange for the illusions of comfort and sensory pleasure -- just as they had in Brave New World.

Huxley heard, in 1958, a world full of the noise of what he called singing commercials, flooding the mass media, much like the hypnopaedia that shaped conscious thought in the world of the novel. He saw people everywhere in greater numbers taking tranquilizer drugs, to surrender to the unacceptable aspects of modern life -- not unlike the drug called soma that everyone takes in the novel. The power of propaganda, he believed, had been validated by the rise of Hitler, and the postwar world was using it effectively to manipulate the masses. Overpopulation was already a critical issue in 1958, and Huxley saw the emergence of an overpopulated world in which the chaos was, more and more, being countered by centralized control -- closer, it seemed, to the future of Brave New World, where the ultimate controlling capitalist of Huxley´s early years, Henry Ford, had become the equivalent of God.

In the end, Brave New World Revisited despairs of what has come to pass, primarily modern humankind´s willingness to surrender freedom for pleasure. Huxley quotes from the episode of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov -- ´For nothing,´ the Inquisitor insists, ´has ever been more insupportable for a man or a human society than freedom.´ Huxley worried that the cry of "Give me liberty or give me death" could easily be replaced by "Give me television and hamburgers, but don´t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty." He saw hope in the form of education, even the most pious, orthodox and inefficient kind of education -- education that can teach people to see beyond the easy slogans, efficient ends and anesthetic influences of propaganda. Perhaps the forces that now menace freedom are too strong to be resisted for every long, Huxley concluded. It is still our duty to do whatever we can to resist them.
Marlboro Man
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Hey Wiley, you wouldn´t know a good URL where I could read a bit more on this would you?
Anonymous Coward
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley would be taking Prozac if he were alive today.meds
Wiley Coyote
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
here´s a good start, MM.

[link to www.cliffsnotes.com]

Still, Huxley argues, the future will look more like Brave New World than 1984. In the West, pleasure and distraction, used by those in power, control people’s spending, political loyalties, and even their thoughts. Control through reward poses a greater threat to human freedom because, unlike punishment, it can be introduced unconsciously and continued indefinitely, with the approval and support of the people being controlled.


In place of the Nine Years’ War—the calamity that brought the society of Brave New World into being—Huxley points to the danger of overpopulation as the trigger for tyranny. Just as the fictional war brought the call for a totalitarian World State, the chaos caused by overpopulation may be demanding control through over organization. Instead of many little businesses producing necessities, an over-organized society allows big business to mass-produce anything and everything saleable, while controlling consumer spending through commercials and social pressure. The resulting programmed consumption— “Ending is better than mending”—of Brave New World had already begun to take over the post-war world, at least in the West.


The literal consumption of soma-like drugs also captures Huxley’s attention. By the 1950s, readily available tranquilizers adjusted people to a maladjusted culture, smoothing out any inconvenient instincts of resistance, just as a soma-holiday eliminated the recognition of unhappiness.


Huxley takes particular pride, mixed with dismay, at the prophetic quality of his own future vision. In the 1950s, commercial jingles—what Huxley calls “singing commercials”—seem to invade and take over the conscious mind and culture, in the same way that the brave new world runs smoothly on the slogans of hypnopaedia. Hypnopaedia itself, of course, was a well-respected reality by the time of Brave New World Revisited. And the use of subliminal persuasion, a method for introducing subconscious suggestions, had already caused a scandal in American movies. Although subliminal persuasion does not appear in Brave New World, Huxley wishes aloud that he had included it, since the unconscious power of the suggestions seems perfect for the cheery authoritarianism of the dystopia.


In general, Huxley warns his readers that they may be talking themselves into accepting a world that they would reject, if only they were fully conscious of its nature. But, distracted by consumerism and pleasure, people seldom truly engage the reality they are living, just as the citizens of the brave new world seldom recognize the restraints of their society. Unconscious manipulation through language—propaganda—keeps individual minds open to any suggestions, even the most inhuman.


Huxley cites, from recent history, Hitler’s power of manipulation through language as a frightening example. Quoting from the dictator’s autobiography, Huxley emphasizes the importance of Hitler’s skillful use of propaganda in motivating citizens to support his leadership. Hitler, for instance, deliberately scheduled his public addresses at night, a time when fatigue makes people vulnerable to suggestion, excitable, and most likely to succumb to the mass hysteria Hitler produced at his rallies. Huxley’s fictional Controllers of the brave new world follow the same pattern with the Solidarity Services, a ritual of programmed mass hysteria to produce social loyalty. A different form of the same suggestibility occurs in light sleep, the period when the hypnopaedic voices whisper society’s wisdom into the ears of children and young adults. In both cases, the rational self has its guards down, and any message—however irrational—may make its way into the mind and influence behavior.


According to Huxley, even in the 1950s, propaganda emanates from those who want to control behavior on a large scale, just as the World Controllers of Brave New World want to maintain stability. Dictators like Hitler use propaganda to whip up support and to direct violence against anyone identified as the enemy. In the 1950s, Huxley argues, propaganda represents the principal tool of the “Power Elite,” C. Wright Mills´ term for the government and business leaders controlling communication and the economy. Through commercials, subliminal messages, and careful suppression of challenging truths, Huxley declares, propaganda is infiltrating the language of society, becoming perhaps the only way to speak at all. If the trend continues, Westerners may be in danger of becoming as unconsciously manipulated and enslaved as the citizens of the brave new world.


Identifying the enemy of freedom as propaganda, Huxley finds the solution that eluded him in Brave New World. Education in the recognition and resistance of propaganda must be the responsibility of every individual. Referring to the brief history of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Huxley emphasizes that government and other authorities may oppose the unmasking of anti-rational, manipulative language for their own reasons. Still, Huxley insists, the only hope lies in the active mind, able and willing to make its own judgments. Individual freedom, compassion, and intelligence—the very qualities missing in the dystopia of Brave New World—can guide the fully conscious, fully human mind into a truly free, truly human future.
Marlboro Man
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
That expanded a little bit on what you were saying. I agree with the basic philosophy, that´s where you got me interested. I´m wondering if there´s any online copies of the book. I´ll have to search and see. looks interesting!
Wiley Coyote
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
here you go, MM...six bucks.

[link to www.ebookmall.com]
ffu
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Marlboro Man: Huxley´s second wife, Laura Archera Huxley, wrote "This Timeless Moment." It´s about Husley´s life and her life with him, how he died, and what happened THEN. A great read...it´s out of print, but I´m sure you can find it in a used bookstore.
zacksavage
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheree
A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be
Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheroo
Good luck will rub off when I shakes hands with you

Oh, blow me a kiss and that´s lucky, too

Now as the ladder of life has been strung
You may think a Sweep´s on the bottom-most rung
Though I spend my time in the ashes and smoke
In this whole wide world there´s no happier bloke

Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheree
A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be
Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheroo
Good luck will rub off when I shakes hands with you

Oh, blow me a kiss and that´s lucky, too

Up where the smoke is all billowed and curled
Twixt pavement and stars is the chimney sweep world
Where there´s hardly no day and there´s hardly no night
There´s things half in shadow and things half in light

On the rooftops of London, God wht a sight

Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheree
A Sweep is as lucky, as lucky as can be
Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cheroo
Good luck will rub off when I shakes hands with you

Oh, blow me a kiss and that´s lucky, too



Z
Wiley Coyote
12/08/2005 10:16 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
I apologize for bumping my own thread, but damn it, Zack...this song has been stuck in my head since last night.

I suppose it´s better than the Partridge Family song that I couldn´t shake for almost a week...

coffeecup + cold leftover chicken enchiladas
Anonymous Coward
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United States
01/25/2006 02:46 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
nimo
Anonymous Coward
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01/25/2006 02:50 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Brave New World Uncovered in 1984



Aldous was a visionary


it would of been prudent to heed his visions

to obstruct fascism that still lingers
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 62234
United States
01/25/2006 01:50 PM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
You have to remember that society, as a whole, has done this to itself.
Are we being enslaved or kept?

Americans want 2 things out of life-

Personal Peace- to be left alone to one's own ideals.
and Affluence to attain those ideals.

- to the point where we don't even want to experience our life through our own emotions anymore - and more importantly, to anyone else's emotions.
(hence, the drugs, given to anyone who feels less than happy. -And now the new pill to erase traumatic events).

The real question becomes what do we do to change that? Not even Huxley knew.

The problem isn't the government, per se.
Read the above posts by Huxley again. We're over organized. Over regulated. What laws do we really now? - And yet people press for ever more legislation over emotional subjects (oh- the irony).
There was a thread here yesterday, which I could not open entitled- Do You Make A Difference? I wonder if others on GLP had the same hesitance.
GLP- where we believe that we do change things through our crazy thoughts.
Anonymous Coward
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United States
01/25/2006 01:59 PM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
What do you suppose time travelers see when they look through Stargates now?

ETs, AI machines, and what else?
Optimistic Aussie from Perth

User ID: 1488
Australia
01/25/2006 02:16 PM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Be wary of Huxley (-:

G'day WC, MM

[link to www.larouchepub.com]



"Aldous Huxley's stagemasterly activities during the 1960s are described in a book, still available at Böttiger Verlag, about The Case of Charles Manson. Huxley was deeply involved in the research, development, testing, and promotion of hallucinogenic drugs like LSD. In the beginning of the '60s, he made celebrated speeches about the pharmaceutical possibility to establish "a tearless dictatorship" with "painless concentration camps for whole societies," thanks to cheap and widespread drugs like LSD. The effect of drugs like that, he described in The Doors of Perception."


snip:

[link to www.larouchepub.com]


Speaking to a 1961 conference sponsored by the Voice of America, at California Medical School in San Francisco, Aldous Huxley, the British New Age guru and close collaborator of several AFF professional brainwashers, spilled the beans on the overall effort, when he boasted, "There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak. Producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution."
Anonymous Coward
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03/09/2009 09:05 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
bump
The Jurist

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03/09/2009 09:08 AM
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Re: Brave New World Revisited - Aldous Huxley
Be wary of Huxley (-:
 Quoting: Optimistic Aussie from Perth

Understatement, mate.
`
(Be) Divide(ed) and (be) Conquer(ed)...

Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

~There is Tranquility in Ignorance, but Servitude is its Partner. —me
~What luck for Rulers that Men do not Think. —Adolf Hitler

:damned: Doom is optional. There is good news abounds.

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