posted on Mar, 12 2012 @ 05:34 PM
In October of 1949, a few months after the release of George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, he received a fascinating letter
from fellow author Aldous Huxley — a man who, 17 years previous, had seen his own nightmarish vision of society published, in the form of Brave New
World. What begins as a letter of praise soon becomes a brief comparison of the two novels, and an explanation as to why Huxley believes his own,
earlier work to be a more realistic prediction.
Here it is:
21 October, 1949
Dear Mr. Orwell,
It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much
reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able
to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I
speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution? The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the
revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual's psychology and physiology — are to be
found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling
minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it. Whether in actual
fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and
wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. I have had
occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and
fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.
Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were
not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of
government. Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations. Another
lucky accident was Freud's inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the general application of
hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years. But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and
indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.
Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as
instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving
their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to
modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a
result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall
have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.
Thank you once again for the book.
Might have been posted already but worth a bump anyways.
edit on 12/3/2012 by LiveForever8 because: (no reason given)