Brave New World narrated by Aldous Huxley

Why Is It So Hard to Adapt ‘Brave New World’? helps explain why there have been  no movies made from the book that are worth your time.

Much of the novel is short on incident and long on ideas, effectively climaxing with one character arguing why the dystopia of New London, however awful in its implications, makes sense as the only recourse against humanity’s excesses. Which speaks to the book’s other tricky element: Brave New World’s 600-years-in-the-future society—one that’s banned monogamy and family, done its best to erase history, mandates the use the euphoria-inducing drug Soma, and uses a combination of genetic engineering and brainwashing to create a rigid caste system—is quite functional, maybe even desirable. After all, war has been eliminated. And what’s the difference between drug-induced happiness and the real thing when you get down to it (to say nothing of all that attachment- and consequence-free sex)?

But it is an odd experience to read it in our own time since you can see just how close it is to the ideal being sought by much of the world, at least in the West. It hardly feels out of date as an ideal amongst so many at the moment.

2020: Orwell or Huxley? is a question worth asking. I kinda agree with the answer here as well. This is Ron Dreher being quoted:

Soft totalitarianism exploits decadent modern man’s preference for personal pleasure over principles, including political liberties. The public will support, or at least not oppose, the coming soft totalitarianism, not because it fears the imposition of cruel punishments but because it will be more or less satisfied by hedonistic comforts. Nineteen Eighty-Four is not the novel that previews what’s coming; it’s rather Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The contemporary social critic James Poulos calls this the “Pink Police State”: an informal arrangement in which people will surrender political rights in exchange for guarantees of personal pleasure.

Soft totalitarianism … makes use of advanced surveillance technology not (yet) imposed by the state, but rather welcomed by consumers as aids to lifestyle convenience—and in the postpandemic environment, likely needed for public health. It is hard to get worked up over Big Brother when you have already grown accustomed to Big Data closely monitoring your private life via apps, credit cards, and smart devices, which make life so much easier and more pleasurable. In Orwell’s fictional dystopia, the installed “telescreens” in private homes to keep track of individual’s lives. Today we install smart speakers into our homes to increase our sense of well-being.

We are not being menaced with the gulag but with visions of safety and the good life. Might add that the issue is itself of no interest to anyone under the age of fifty, most of whom have never heard of the books, let alone read them.

1 thought on “Brave New World narrated by Aldous Huxley

  1. Pingback: Brave New World narrated by Aldous Huxley - The Rabbit Hole

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