Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tragic Death on November 22nd, 1963

Aldous Huxley died fifty years ago today.  (Who'd you think I was talking about?)

The Doors of Perception (which inspired the name for Jim Morrison and company), Brave New World — Aldous Huxley left us a huge legacy.  Brave New World had the most accurate predictions of any of the “futuristic” novels I've read (it was published in 1932).

It took place in London in the year 2540.  And it was partially inspired by Huxley's “first visit to the US, in which he was struck by how a population could apparently be rendered docile by advertising and retail therapy.”  [from the linked article]

Sound familiar?

Motherhood is non-existent; all children are mass produced through in vitro fertilization.  Each infant has his/her capabilities carefully modulated, depending on which caste this individual will be assigned to.  The lower castes are programmed to be perfectly happy and content in their assigned role in society.  Soma is a harmless narcotic which is available to everybody.  Soma reinforces everybody's blissful satisfaction with their lot in life.

It's a totalitarian society, but everyone is too blissed out to care.

What's our own version of Soma?  The linked article says:

“Our runaway infatuation with the sleek toys produced by the likes of Apple and Samsung — allied to our apparently insatiable appetite for Facebook, Google and other companies that provide us with “free” services in exchange for the intimate details of our daily lives — might well turn out to be as powerful a narcotic as Soma was for the inhabitants of Brave New World.”

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Anonymous Screamin' Mimi said...

A prophet is where you find him. RIP Aldous Huxley and all the other lesser-known valuable brains who have gone before us.

JFK too. :)

November 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Cirze said...

Thanks, Tom.

I still remember when my Father said to me later quietly that a great writer from England had also died that day, and explained a little bit about his oeuvre to his inquisitive child.

I read everything Huxley wrote in the next few years and always thought of this coincidence as a large bit of luck for my intellectual life.

And I like Huxley's words best!

Always did.

Again, my thanks.

he was struck by how a population could apparently be rendered docile by advertising and retail therapy.

November 24, 2013 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger jim marquis said...

I'm not sure I agree that our devices are like Soma. I feel like my worldview has been greatly expanded during the last twenty years.

November 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

SM: He was definitely a prophet. I always thought Kurt Vonnegut was heavily influenced by Huxley's Brave New World.

Cirze: I've only read The Doors of Perception and Brave New World; they were both great. He definitely had a lot to say.

Jim: I don't think electronic devices themselves are the problem; just some people's addiction to them. The Internet has opened countless doors for all of us. But when I see people walking along staring at their smart phones, all I can think is "Soma" or "look up, there's a world out there," or something.

November 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Savage in PuertoA. said...

BNW, my fav. book. Well, 2nd favorite - NOW! RUN!!!!

November 26, 2013 at 6:16 AM  

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