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Aldous Huxley's most terrifyingly accurate prediction about our society (from 1948)

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posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 10:11 AM

reply to post by BlueMule

That reminds me of an old thread: Aldous Huxley was correct not George Orwell.

I think A Brave New World is very much like what is happening today, with 1984's style of surveillance.
edit on 2-1-2014 by jrod because: (no reason given)

Thank you for posting this...when I read the OP I thought man where was that dang thread...I was going to search for it and post it but you my friend already did! I read 1984 while I was in basic training....I smuggled the book in after finding it left in a pile of "free books" when I had literally like 3 minutes of leave to go run to this library on an errand. I snatched it up and hid it into the rafters of the barracks. It was of course found while I had only made it half way through the book. When I graduated basic and AIT I ran and bought the book within a day or two and finished it that night. I was so impressed with Orwell that I have since read everything by him. My friend was an English major and suggested I try Huxley as well. So I did and I have to say I was even more impressed. I feel 1984 was is the immature version of government control but Huxley's Brave New World is the end game scenario. You aspects of both in current times. Thx for finding that.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 02:39 PM


The problem with such a rift is absolutely evident in Azadan's post. It creates a scenario where someone who has gone through this additional and broadened educational process begins to perceive that the majority of people are mentally deficient. IQ (and for the record, I do have problems with measures of IQ) tends to fall, like most things, on a bell curve.

To be fair here, IQ is virtually worthless (one of the reasons that I hate they use it to limit police). There are plenty of people with high IQ's that aren't geniuses because the tests aren't perfect. I have a 170 IQ myself however I put no faith in it, I just happen to be an INTP which among other things means I think like the test creators so I naturally score better. No real intelligence there, I'm actually pretty dumb when it comes to most day to day tasks. I'm referring mainly to the quality of work done. I work in a college and most of the teachers I come across are the least competent people I've ever seen in their professions.

I absolute agree and that is one of the number one reasons why this particular type of system is inherently flawed. My SO is one of the few people that can keep up with me intellectually in my personal life (ATS is great because a significant portion can do the same and point out where I'm wrong--bonus!). However, he didn't test well on IQ tests. I don't have problems with day to day tasks. I'm actually quite speedy and efficient at just about everything I do unless it's tennis, badminton, or golf. However, I do tend to be an absent-minded professor a lot. I went to a state college (albeit still in the top 15% of colleges nationwide) and the majority of my professors were fairly intelligent and wily so I wonder if it's where you're working? One's immediate environment can spoil the general view.

If I said exceptional it was without knowing there was a definition on the word of x%. What I was getting at was the idea that if you divide everyone up by quality of their work, the bottom 1/3 are by definition below average, the middle third are again by definition average, and the top 1/3 are above average. Even among the above average there's going to be a group of people that are better than the rest and a group of people that are worse than the rest but the entire group as a whole is better than everyone else. Where this idea really falls apart is in the economics. Those who aren't working must still be provided for, and they must have decent lives on par with those who do work.

Well, lol, leave it to the autistic to know that a definition exists. Ironically enough, that higher quality of work can still also be representative of the exceptional that I was referring to. When part of my family's business entailed mechanics shops, one of our best mechanics actually had a master's in Psychology from one of the better colleges in our area. I don't think it simply just falls down on the economics side but on the employment demand side unless part of the idea is to automate everything that could be automated. Sociologically, such a thing would not happen as it would be essentially perceived as basically providing handouts for the majority of the world. It's unfair in that measure. Additionally, it would probably have an overall negative affect on society for the non-working 2/3rds. Most people do have a preference towards being productive and one of the most persistent sources of depression for both the unemployed and the disabled is feeling like they are not a productive member of society.

Better education is always a worthwhile goal, but I think we need to do more than just teach better at this point. I could write several posts worth of critique on the education system in the US. At this point though I don't know how it could be fixed short of revolution. Many people are to wrapped up in ideas like our global ranking in reading/writing/math and think school should focus 100% on those three subjects. Others get involved in distractions like should the school teach creationism or have time for prayer. I have a different approach, I don't think we should be too worked up in teaching general facts but rather in teaching students how to think and learn and then give them the opportunity to learn about what interests them.

Absolutely agreed and those are the subjects that that small percentage of students that I mentioned previously are actually learning. It's pure Bertrand Russell in the school system where most students seem to be going through school for the purpose of learning basic facts, some specialization, and to demur to authority. I additionally agree that many get caught up on smaller issues as opposed to the Big Issue in education and I think that's where trying to convince people that we need a major overhaul falls on its face--how can one expect enough of the public to comprehend that they've been screwed on the educational level and grasp the ramifications of it in a situation where the learning of such things was subject to chance?

I'm not so sure that it'll require a revolution to change it though. I suspect that the current sociopolitical environment (Obama--reject those "voices of tyranny" comment) is being played off on just as Huxley suggested that it could. When you have a significant portion of the public under your governance falling prey to the manipulations of other groups/individuals, then the need for a public that can discern fact from fiction becomes a necessity. Basically, they are currently reaping what they sowed and, in that sense, those in charge of the government have a choice--either adapt and take corrective steps to prevent a worsening of this scenario or find themselves with a significant percentage of the public that has been swayed totally against them.

I'm just not sure that there's a place in society for everyone, even if they're all well educated in whatever field they want to be in. We've hit a point where all of the needs and wants of society are provided for by some amount less than the whole of society. That leads to very high unemployment among other issues.

"In every man there is something wherein that I may learn of him and in that, I am his pupil." That quote from Emerson means a whole lot to me because it always serves to remind me that every person on this planet does have something to offer. Sometimes the wisest observations can come from the simplest of us all because they may see so plainly. That said, I do think that we are headed for deep trouble on the horizon as automation is becoming more and more prevalent as our technology increases. I have a very hard time of seeing the rates of unemployment changing for the better as time goes on.

As of this moment, either outsourcing to a cheaper country or automating are the preferred options for many of our industries as they increase profitability. In order to compete with that, human workers would need to be cheaper than those alternatives of outsourcing or automation. In a way, I can see why some of our congressman have tackled the issues of wages going in the other direction (getting rid of the minimum wage). However, if we did that, the suffering would be so terrible. We're caught in quite the snare and I ran out of room, lol.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 11:41 PM
reply to post by Asktheanimals

You have nailed it with your last sentence. The elite have planned for this. This is why it is never hard for me to believe the idea of a cabal of elite running things with the goal of eradicating us. It is logistics really. They look at everything in terms of numbers. They know resources are limited and that technology can be an equalizer and they have no intentions of sharing either.

People don't understand that a world with robots and A.I. is a world where humans have no need any longer. Why let Johnny and his 10 kids consume energy and food that is dwindling when he can contribute nothing useful. They have built most everything, financed a lot of the tech. They know we outnumber them and that we are catching on to their exploitation in pursuit of their goal. They own everything and are not planning to share. They are circling the wagons in preparation for what is coming. They are going to up and John Gault on everyone with their high science while we perish at each others hands (and theirs) and then emerge ready to manage the world on the other side.

Many people in America complain about foreign aid. We don't want to share what we have in abundance with anyone and this is just one country of people with the most means. Extrapolate that out to the 1% that own all of that. Our very existence is viewed as foreign aid to them and they cant stand it. Exploitation and eradication are the methods and the result is control. They view this as noble and not an act of evil. They would gladly murder 6 billion so that 500 million can live in a micromanaged "paradise". Even ordinary people can agree with this becoming tools so long as they are promised entry. The ends justify the means.

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 11:40 AM
reply to post by NihilistSanta

Your post reminds me of Garrett Hardin's lifeboat ethics (though Hardin and his wife notably offed themselves to liberate their seats on the lifeboat). In many ways, it is true. Even with recycling, we don't get 100% of the resources already used back so we can't even say that we've stabilized even a portion of our resource drain. According to the Economist, as of 2007, we're only recycling about 32% of our waste. Source We live in a world where metals are so costly that even a longstanding bridge isn't safe. In many ways, even with our little improvements, it's not too hard to see that the path that we're on is fundamentally unsustainable as our burgeoning population acquires more and more. And you're spot on with bringing up AI and robotics. Some of the projections and stern advice given to my classmates and I in my recent foray in college were that most jobs would become automated in some way and that we absolutely needed to find things that a computer could not do. Even my 11 year old heard this warning when her gifted teacher asked the students what they wanted to do when they grew up and replied with the crushing reality that most of the jobs that they'd like to do would be gone by the time they came of age. That's reality. We're not there yet but give it a decade and we may very well be.

I also agree that the majority of us are most likely considered to be the equivalent of "foreign aid". Since we exist in a world that is increasingly globalized with corporations who are increasingly becoming conglomerates, then we should really understand that the people at the heads of these entities are literally people without a country. They may have a home in LA, NY, Paris, London, Hong Kong and more, spending the majority of their time commuting via jet. They don't have any real national root to this country or any other country for that matter anymore so you bet that our welfare (traditional meaning, not current) is most likely viewed as "foreign aid". Odds are, we're nothing to them and they are so far away from the common person that we are but ants to giants. When was the last time any of you took care in where you stepped for fear of crushing an ant?

The question is, however, was this all planned? Considering that you, I and many others on these boards can see the writing on the wall, it's not a stretch of the imagination that they, with all of their think tanks, analysts and futurists, see that same writing. These issues are nothing new either as they have been an underlying theme since at least the 60's or 70's with various dire warnings, some failed and some accurate.

Are they going to kill us all though? I'm not so sure. We may actually wipe ourselves out. The suicide rats for Boomers are on the increase (Washington Post) while the fertility rates in Millenials are declining (PRB) --globally with some exceptions (more hit by the recession --> more suicides) (NY Times). If we look out the window and can see that the world seems sort of okay now, what's going to happen when the above issues really start taking affect? They may not have to do a whole lot to reduce our populations. We may very well do it for them simply out of desperation or fear of the future.

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 02:21 PM
reply to post by WhiteAlice

Great points as usual whitealice. Life boat mentality is an excellent way of looking at it. I don't believe they will be capable of wiping us ALL out and they understood that even in Huxley's day which is why the "savages" lived on the reservations forever cut off from any of the aid of the domed cities. It seems a popular idea in dystopic fiction of the lawless waste beyond the safety of the mega cities but at that point we will no longer be a threat to their power.

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 02:29 PM
reply to post by NihilistSanta

Makes me think of the movie, Elysium, which was precisely that. The elites off in some man-made paradise while the masses struggle on a ravaged earth below. Elysium is extreme (it is a Hollywood movie) but it may not be entirely off the mark. If we looking at that ever growing economic disparity, how long until it starts becoming really evident in our world? At what point where our pleasant little suburbias start taking on the appearance of ghettos if this divide continues and costs of living grows? Scary to consider really. My beloved has an even more noxious vision where he foresees the usage of private military to protect assets from the hungry masses, lol. I hope he's not right either. On these particular subjects, one can't help but hope that they are totally wrong...

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 03:11 PM
reply to post by WhiteAlice

Well your SO isn't too far off the mark imo. It is easy to try to distinguish between the Orwellian and Huxleian(sp?) visions but what we will end up with is something in the middle borrowing from both that in my opinion at least for a time will be closer to cyberpunk fiction of the 80s and early 90s Like William Gibson's (Neuromancer or Johnny Mnemonic )work which Elysium would be a spiritual continuation of. All the while shooting for the utopian goal.

In Huxley's world the state was like a giant factory or assembly line and it seemed to be about a kind of scientific efficiency similar to what we see with the Venus Project. Greed was not really a motivation. In cyberpunk we have corporations motivated by greed eventually running everything and acting as independent nations with their own armies and police forces. They do what they please and are sometimes at war with each other. There is an obvious two tier class system with the elite living like in Elysium while everyone else is wallowing in squalor. The poor have no voice and basically turn to being nothing but criminals to survive and terrorist and seem to only put up with all of this for the little scraps of tech they are given.

Cyberpunk is really just the death of the nation and birth of oligarchy. Nations collapse and the power falls to the corporations who supply our needs. Perhaps beyond that the powers converge into a new monolithic power structure which will resemble one of the visions presented by Huxley and Orwell.

posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 06:02 PM
reply to post by NihilistSanta

Actually, that's precisely what he sees. I'm going to have to start calling him my Mr. Cyberpunk as soon as he gets home, lol.
He'd completely agree with you. His view of the future is where we have corporate city states with their own armies, like in Continuum. He had a great time ribbing me about that show because the writer shared that same vision of the future and I admit that that could very well become the natural progression of things as a good portion of the populace (myself included!) perceive our governments as being more on the side of corporations. And heck, Disney built Celebration, FL. How is that not a step towards a corporate produced city?

I don't think that Huxley really provided a whole lot of motivation for anything. Instead he portrayed to me a sort of ADHD society, not all that different than we have today in that sense, but with key differences in concepts of family and a requirement to be social. That last part is where I'm certain we're not totally in a Brave New World because we seem to be growing more isolated with our technology as opposed to the other way around. I agree that what we really could be facing is an amalgam of the various stories.

Have you ever noticed that, in all of these dystopia-based tv shows, books and films, the ones that are on the "outs" are always struggling to survive? In Demolition Man, they ate rat burgers and lived in sewers. In a Brave New World, they were "savages" where whipping children was somehow a religious practice (and better yet, John the Savage whips himself in atonement)--very charming and barbaric. In Minority Report, those off the grid live in filthy slums. Over and over again, you see the repeat theme--stay in the system and you can have all the amenities. Drop out and eat rat burgers. I think that Orwell was the only one who made living outside of the system seem better than within it.

posted on Jan, 7 2014 @ 01:16 PM
reply to post by doesntmakesense

What a thought provoking letter. Thanks for sharing OP.



posted on Jan, 7 2014 @ 05:49 PM

reply to post by WhiteAlice

It is easy to try to distinguish between the Orwellian and Huxleian(sp?) visions but what we will end up with is something in the middle borrowing from both

I imagine something similar as well.
A hybrid system that takes the worst traits of both and turns it into one big nightmare for the citizens of the Dystopian future cryto-engenics/bio-ethics/transhumanists dream of.
I weep for the generations that will be forced to live with our generations mistakes because not enough of us believe it's even real.


posted on Jan, 7 2014 @ 06:30 PM
I think of the whole thing as a good cop/bad cop routine designed to prevent the critical thinkers from leaving the system. The message is clear, stay in the system and don't think about things and you'll have a life of luxury. If you leave, every attempt is going to be made to make your life hell.

In the end the Orwellian nightmare just serves to make the Huxley nightmare look good so that people will choose it.

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