As analyzed by social critic Neil Postman, Huxley’s vision of the future, portrayed in the novel Brave New World, holds far more relevance to present day society than that of Orwell’s classic 1984. Huxley’s vision was simple: it was a vision of a trivial society, drowned in a sea of pleasure and ignorant of knowledge and pain, slightly resembling the world of today. In society today, knowledge is no longer appreciated as it has been in past cultures, in turn causing a deficiency in intelligence and will to learn.
Also, as envisioned by Huxley, mind altering substances are becoming of greater availability and distribution as technology advances. These drugs allow society to escape from the problems of life instead of dealing with reality. With divorce rates higher than ever in the past few decades, it has become evident that lust has ruined the society’s sexual covenants. People are indulging in their sexual motives; lust runs rampant, thus strong, long-lasting relationships are becoming a rarity. Why does our society praise braun over brain? When did athletic talent and beauty begin to reign over intellect?
In past cultures intellect was cherished, praised and honored. However, in present time our most honored members of society are our athletes and entertainers. Why do we no longer honor our philosophers, scientists, and innovators? Intellects keep the world turning. Due to this lack of admiration for intelligence, our children are no longer inspired to learn. Their dreams consist of winning the Super Bowl or being a movie star. This depravation of learning has had a negative effect on society’s acumen; our children are becoming ignorant and dumb.
Just as Huxley portrayed in Brave New World, society as a whole is slowly becoming more and more ignorant; if this pattern continues Huxley’s vision will become correct and our society will be turned into a mass of stupidity. How available are mind-altering substances in our society? Since the turn of the 60’s drugs have become available just about anywhere these days, from country clubs to the projects, children to adults, drug usage among our society has greatly increased in present years. Are drugs today more effective or intense than the drugs of the past?
Why are more and more mind-altering drugs being invented? The answer is to control our society. When people use drugs they are ignoring reality. Our society is loosing the ability to face life’s problems; instead they use drugs to chase their dilemmas away. This increase in drug usage parallels Huxley’s prediction of a society controlled by the distribution of drugs. Although soma is not a common drug of present time, other similar substances run rampant. Huxley’s visions are slowly becoming a reality as a quiet majority of our society continues their dependence on drugs.
Ironically, Huxley, a drug user himself, experimented with drugs while creating his perverse vision of the future. Why does our society constantly feel the urge to indulge in their sexual aspirations? Why has sex become the symbol of American society? Sex is seen everywhere in our society, advertisers use it to sell products, television shows use it to acquire ratings, even professional entertainers use it to gain admiration. With sex being displayed everywhere in our society, people feel greater urges to indulge in sexual pleasures.
Shooting through the roof in the previous few decades were divorce rates, mostly due to adultery or fulfillment of lust. When choosing to sleep with someone this day and age, one does not know how many persons they have slept with in the past. Although Huxley’s vision incorporated the idea of free love that is not expressed today, and was a disease free atmosphere unlike our world, the principle envisioned is slowly becoming a reality. Slowly, society is losing its morals and gradually becoming one big orgy. To conclude, Postman’s analysis that Huxley’s vision of the future has become more of a reality than that of Orwell’s.
Although the present day is not exactly how Huxley had envisioned it, our society will soon reflect the one created in Brave New World if it continues to progress as it had in the past few decades. Orwell’s prediction does not hold much relevance in today’s society. Our government is not constantly watching over us, they have more important difficulties to overcome. Government is not concerned with the actions of individuals; they base their decisions on the opinions of the masses. Huxley’s travesty holds far more relevance than the prestigious social theory of Orwell.