I saw this the other day, and I thought it was very insightful (maybe even inciteful). There’s plenty more posts you can find here, but I wanted to draw your attention to the comparison between Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, and George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four. The title of this animated lesson is Amusing Ourselves to Death, and it was created by Stuart McMillen, May 2009. Here is the content from the picture linked above:
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 would want 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 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 Nineteen Eighty-Four, people are controlled by inflicting pain.
In Brave New World, people are controlled by inflicting pleasure.
In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.
Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
[Note: All words from “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” by Neil Postman…A book about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.]
How about that? I’m not sure if any of this is really what Huxley or Orwell believed or feared, but it sure makes me wonder about our generation – all the information we have at our fingertips, how we are controlled by pleasure, how we are focused on the most irrelevant things, etc…
Just the other day I was wondering about whether or not the internet and all of these cool tech gadgets have made a positive impact on our society as a whole. After arguing with myself for a while, I really think there is a strong debate on both sides. But in the end, I believe many of the advancements in technology have really just created a pervasive loneliness for millions of Americans. Personally, I have enjoyed many high-tech gadjets. I really liked video games when I was a kid. And I freaking loved my Sony Walkman. And I thought my Gateway2000 computer was so cool in 1998. I think if the internet had never come along, I’d be perfectly content with my family, a Sony Walkman and a fishing pole. Family, Music, Outdoors. Those are my favorite things. I dunno. Just something to think about.