Even though Goethe over 200 years ago wrote “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free ” this probably ring truer today than it did back then.  The masses think that the West has not developed into a dystopian hell like the one portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984. The masses believe that we live in a free society.

The masses think that tyranny would be overt obvious and everyone would be able to spot it. Is this however really the case? Or it’s possible that our society resembles the one described in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel “Brave New World”? Could it be that modern society has become too engrossed in technology drugs pornography and other enjoyable distractions to notice the chains that bind them?

Huxley did not see the dystopian society he envisioned as a present danger when “Brave New World” was first published in 1931 or maybe unknowingly he did. Huxley’s viewpoint changed after the Second World War with the spread of totalitarianism and the enormous advances in science and technology and so he issued the following warning in a speech delivered in 1961:

“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.”(Aldous Huxley Tavistock Group California Medical School 1961)
Huxley predicted that in the future ruling classes would come to understand that in addition to the overt use of force it was also possible to subtly control a population by engulfing them in an endless stream of amusing distractions.

“In 1984*” Huxley explains “the lust for power is satisfied by inflicting pain; in “Brave New World” by inflicting a hardly less humiliating pleasure.” (Aldous Huxley Brave New World Revisited)

(*of George Orwell)

In “Brave New World” and his other works Aldous Huxley foresaw the rise of a “controlling oligarchy” that would subject people to similar experiments in an effort to instil docility and lessen the likelihood of social unrest.

In “Brave New World” Soma was the primary “reward” used to condition subservience through positive reinforcement. For the sake of the state “The World Controllers ” according to Huxley “encouraged the systematic drugging of their own citizens for the benefit of the state.” (Aldous Huxley “Brave New World Revisited”) The inhabitants of Brave New World consumed soma daily because it provided what Huxley called a “holiday from reality.” Depending on the dosage it induced euphoria pleasant hallucinations or had potent sedative effects. Additionally it served to increase suggestibility boosting the potency of the propaganda that the public was continuously exposed to.

But Soma was not the only source of power for the World Controllers in “Brave New World”. The State encouraged promiscuity as a further strategy to guarantee that everyone relished their servitude. Everyone was free to indulge their sexual urges without restriction after the institutions of monogamy and the family were abolished and the phrase “Everyone belongs to everyone else” was ingrained in the minds of the populace from an early age. The constant availability of sexual gratification helped to ensure that the populace was too preoccupied to focus on the reality of their situation.

State-sanctioned entertainment also played an important role in creating the “painless concentration camp” of “Brave New World”. Huxley had stated that the state used “non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature” as tools of policy to submerge its citizens’ minds in a “sea of irrelevance.”

Leave a Reply