In the last couple of years I have seen reports of increased sales of George Orwell’s book 1984. Okay, I can see that, but what about another book that should also be receiving as much attention, and that is Brave New World.
Both of these books are relevant reads right now. Actually, both of these books have always been relevant reads and may always be relevant reads. They both deal with the control of people. I enjoy and like both of these books but it is usually Huxley’s Brave New World that I find more relevant to the times we are living. The reason why, is because in Brave New World the citizens willingly give up their freedom and liberty for the exchange of trivial things and the promise of security. You don’t have to use force and threat to bend the people’s will, just give them entertainment and a little bit of pleasure and they fall right in line and never bother to question anything.
Relevancy actually belongs to both of these books if you think about it. There is a little bit happening from both of these dystopian novels. The Orwellian “doublespeak” and “newspeak” are happening. Then through the division of culture and toxicity of identity politics we see people and even private institutions themselves willingly bending to the agenda of the State. These books are fictional stories of a dystopian future so there is still plenty of events in the books that is not happening in real life society. A cynic might say “yet!”
So, why are the warnings and some of the dangers of these two novels relevant today?The answer seems to be multifaceted. Fear is a big reason why. Get people scared of an enemy whether real or imagined and they are easy to control. Another reason is people’s quest for security. People will always give up a little freedom if you promise them safety. But, there is no such thing as security. There is only opportunity, but that seems to be too much of concept for most people to swallow and rationalize. Most people will cling to comforting illusion as their rights and freedoms are washed away by those in control. Even those diehard people who supposedly live by sayings like “you can’t depend on government for anything” are susceptible and vulnerable to the takeover and control of their rights, liberty, and choice. It’s ironic.
Huxley and Orwell provided us warnings to the control of our lives by tyrannical forces in easily consumable readings. Will it be through force and control, or will we willingly give up our freedom and choice, or will it be a combination of both, or maybe all this is just paranoia and worry for nothing? We will see.
Until next time, good reading.