Friday, 10 August 2018

Why we do Not live in Huxley's Brave New World

It has often been noticed that - of the two great dystopian novels of the mid-20th century - modern Western society more closely resembles Aldous Huxley's Brave New World - where the population is bought-off and tranquillised by drugs, sex and distractions; than George Orwell's 1984 where the population is under 24/7 surveillance and violently repressed by secret police.

In a more nuanced fashion, there are elements of both dystopias - for example, the surveillance is now far more comprehensive than Orwell could have imagined; yet that surveillance is actively sought and paid for by the population - which is much more like BNW...

Anyway, there is a major difference between either, or both, the societies envisaged by Orwell and Huxley and our own society; and that is stability.

Most imaginative dystopias have a leadership class that places social stability as the highest value; whereas our dystopian society here-and-now has a global leadership class that - in so far as they are able - inflicts permanent revolution and circumscribed chaos upon the whole world.

This is observable at almost every level; but perhaps most obviously in the highly successful, colossally ambitious strategy of mass migration that has been imposed upon the world for the past couple of decades. This entails unneccessary and deliberately perpetuated wars forced upon some parts of the planet (eg. the Middle East, Africa, Asia), used to create violent and chaotic displaced populations, that are forced upon the Western nations in vast and open-ended numbers.

On the face of it, such de-stabilisation (at least, up to a point) is a much higher and more urgent priority for the global and Western elites than is stability; and this is a error in pretty much all the dystopias I have come-across.  Much the same applies to the economy - where the great bulk of elite initiatives (such as those rationalised by feminism, antiracism, diversity, environmentalism, equality etc.) massively (and potentially lethally) damage the economy, science, technology, engineering capability - and in general damage social efficiency and effectiveness.

In Western social life, the sexual revolution has been aggressively supported and driven by the ruling elites, is continuous, and accelerating. The result has been half a decade of confusion, as new possibilities emerge, then become taboo; as groups and identities move in and out of favour; as resentments and entitlements are encouraged... Clearly, stability is not the goal. 

The reason for the recurrent dystopian error about stability is simple enough. The dystopias were written by materialists, and non-Christians and they envisage evil as being merely selfish short-termism. Thus their idea of an evil society is one in which there is a selfish-, short-termist elite who run society for their own pleasure, prosperity and power.

Whereas real evil is the opposition to Good, and Good is the objective of God, the creator, and our loving father. So when a society is run by really evil persons (both mortal and supernatural persons), then its long-term goal is not the elite's own selfish interests, but the damnation of the majority.

A really evil elite does not act strategically to sustain the stability of the society which sustains and rewards it; instead, such an elite does whatever best serves the goals of damnation - even when this destroys stability; even when this cumulatively immiserates, disempowers and destroys the elite itself; even when it makes that society un-sustainable.


William Wildblood said...

A brilliant insight, Bruce. You make clear what many people feel but can't fully articulate, me included.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I agree with William Wildblood. A very astute observation, obviously true once pointed out.

I suppose there's a note of hope in this analysis, since it implies that any dystopia will be inherently unstable (because not even trying to be stable), that Orwell's vision of "a boot stamping on a human face -- forever" can never be realized.

EDFree said...

We are also living in the dystopia of Fahrenheit 451....The truth is being systematically censored, yet most people are unaware of this or don't care because they're "happily" surrounded by customized, overstimulating entertainment within the parlor walls. The mass distraction allows the Brave New World agenda to unfold quickly, without most even noticing.

As always, I enjoy reading your posts, sir. Actually I have been reading for awhile, and I created an account so that I could comment, haha. God bless.

Chip said...

I have often recommended, amd still do, This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin, as in some ways superior to the better known dystopian novels. But this post's critique partly applies to it too. I second EDFree's thoughts. I have so far refrained from commentary elsewhere, but the intelligent and civic nature of both posts and comments here are very welcoming.

Karl said...

I recently read Brave New World for the first time since I was young. It was funnier than I remembered: in the year of our Ford, orgy-porgy, the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury! Centuries of eugenics and behavioral conditioning, and Lenina can still look in the mirror and wonder if she is perhaps too plump. That, and Bernard's difficulty in getting the girls he knows he is meant to have, does make you wonder if the sexually promiscuous paradise is as unattainable as any other human ideal. And then the Savage from New Mexico bursts upon London society with his head full of Shakespeare!

I also caught myself feeling oddly wistful as I read about the achievements of the World Controllers. Everything works! The social engineers have tried many alternatives and gone with what gave the best results. Everyone has a job that takes up enough of their time to ward off the ill effects of idleness, and the goods roll off the assembly line, and the managers are sober and diligent and competent. There are evidently still police, but at the rare times that they are needed, they act swiftly with overwhelming force.

Contrast our contemporary world. Our music and our amusements are shallower and more vulgar than Huxley dared to imagine, and our Arch-Community-Songsters preach promiscuity, but do our educational authorities base their methods on the results of experience? Do they deliver a work force fitted for the jobs and the life that await them? Granted that they are taking us to hell in a handbasket, why does the ride have to be so bumpy?

Bruce has given a good answer.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I feel that you're making the mistake of generalizing from what is happening currently in Western nations, where Western Christian Civilization is still a major heritage that must be overcome for damnation to be made the general outcome.

Stability is highly valued by the evil, after they have successfully extirpated Christianity, such as in North Korea or China. Yes, there is the constant call to revolutionary fervor in ensuring that Christianity does not infiltrate and renew itself in the populace, but this ongoing revolution is not genuinely revolutionary or destabilizing.

China has been experimenting with a 'defanged' Christianity for a long time now (these experiments are also ongoing in other Asian nations, in fact the bulk of Chinese-sponsored experimentation on producing a damnation-friendly but fervent version of Christianity goes on outside of China). North Korea abandoned all such attempts from the beginning. The problem is that economic freedom (however carefully limited) is too crucial a driver of national success to be abandoned completely, and all freedom is naturally conducive to religious freedom. Or rather, you can't really stomp out religious freedom completely while allowing any other freedom to meaningfully exist.

On the other hand, the damnation-friendly nominally Christian denominations invented in the West tend to be failures because people freely leave them in droves, whether to become atheists, pagans, or actual Christians. That's fine when you have a significant Christian population and destroying a denomination by turning it into an anti-Christian mockery of itself means only a half or a third of the congregation stays Christian. But when you're trying to eliminate true Christianity altogether while still having any degree of religious freedom, what you need is a religion that can out-compete Christianity in gaining and retaining fervent adherents. So far the CCP hasn't managed it.

And if genuine Christianity is entirely eliminated in the Western world, they won't need a competitive alternative. The state sanctioned nominally Christian mockeries will do, in that case. Their empty chapels will simply serve as proof to the masses that Christianity has no saving power.

There is also another problem. As much as the tyrants would like stable tyranny, it's fundamentally unsustainable. Injustice causes bad people to rise and good people to be suppressed, but there isn't some mystic division between spiritual, mental, and physical health. Bad people are stupid and incompetent and a system that promotes them is going to be run by petty and stupid tyrants. Good people are inspired and creative and a system that oppresses them is going to cast aside productivity.

So on the one hand, the Western world is in the midst of a vast anti-Christian revolution, and obviously they can't end that war effort until real Christianity is extinguished. On the other hand, when the point of a system is to encourage people to be bad, they're going to mostly be bad in mind and body as well as spirit.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - I'm not making a mistake - I am simply writing about what I know and what I believe to be crucially important in the world now.

As for stability - it seems clear that no known atheist polity seems to be stable, or remotely so. The most stable society we know of is ancient Egypt. Since Christ it is the Eastern Roman Empire.

Of course stability is not the highest good. But I suppose there is something good about it, in the sense that evil is intrinsically unstable - because mostly fuelled by selfish short-termist hedonism; and by the fact that evil is negative and destructive in its essence.

William Wildblood said...

Damnation friendly! What a great phrase and so true about many modern versions of what was Christianity. It reminds me of this.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."