by Dee McLachlan
Aldous Huxley, author of the classic Brave New World, laid out his grim vision for the future of the human race 58 years ago in a television interview with Mike Wallace.
In the interview, Wallace introduces Huxley, as
“A man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. A searing social critic, Mr. Huxley 27 years ago wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that someday the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us.”
Huxley’s message is more important than ever because it serves as a reminder that a critically thinking individual is a formidable weapon against tyrannical forces.
The extracts below are some of the predictions taken from this interview. The full article on intellihub.com is here:
1.) Technology, Bureaucracy and Television Would be Used to Enslave Us
HUXLEY: As technology becomes more and more complicated, it becomes necessary to have more and more elaborate organizations, more hierarchical organizations… It’s now possible to make organizations on a larger scale than it was ever possible before, and so that you have more and more people living their lives out as subordinates in these hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracy, either the bureaucracies of big businesses or the bureaucracies of big government.
WALLACE: …Do you mean that we develop our television but we don’t know how to use it correctly, is that the point that you’re making?
HUXLEY: Well, at the present the television, I think, is being used quite harmlessly; it’s being used, I think, I would feel, it’s being used too much to distract everybody all the time. But, I mean, imagine which must be the situation in all communist countries where the television, where it exists, is always saying the same things the whole time… drumming in of a single idea, all the time. It’s obviously an immensely powerful instrument.
2.) Advertising Will Bypass Rationality and Capture the Minds of Children
HUXLEY: …this whole question of children, I think, is a terribly important one because children are quite clearly much more suggestible than the average grownup; and again, suppose that, er…that for one reason or another all the propaganda was in the hands of one or very few agencies, you would have an extraordinarily powerful force playing on these children, who after all are going to grow up and be adults quite soon.
3.) The Rise of Dictatorship Based on Terrorism
HUXLEY: …take another book prophesying the future, which was a very remarkable book, George Orwell’s “1984.”
Well, this book was written at the height of the Stalinist regime, and just after the Hitler regime, and there he foresaw a dictatorship using entirely the methods of terror, the methods of physical violence. Now, I think what is going to happen in the future is that dictators will find, as the old saying goes, that you can do everything with bayonets except sit on them!
4.) The Pharmacological Revolution Will Make Us Love Slavery
HUXLEY: …this is the… the pharmacological revolution which is taking place, that we have now powerful mind-changing drugs which physiologically speaking are almost costless. I mean they are not like opium or like coca…cocaine, which do change the state of mind but leave terrible results physiologically and morally.
…if you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled, and this they will do partly by drugs as I foresaw in “Brave New World,” partly by these new techniques of propaganda.
They will do it by bypassing the sort of rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, and so, making him actually love his slavery.
I mean, I think, this is the danger that actually people may be, in some ways, happy under the new regime, but that they will be happy in situations where they oughtn’t to be happy.
…We know, there is enough evidence now for us to be able, on the basis of this evidence and using certain amount of creative imagination, to foresee the kind of uses which could be made by people of bad will with these things and to attempt to forestall this…
5.) Political Candidates Would Become Merchandise Marketed by Professionals
WALLACE: You write in Enemies of Freedom, you write specifically about the United States. You say this, writing about American political campaigns you say, “All that is needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look sincere; political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the candidate, the way he is projected by the advertising experts, are the things that really matter.”
HUXLEY: …This idea that the candidates had to be merchandised as though they were soap and toothpaste and that you had to depend entirely on the personality…
WALLACE: And we’ll be persuaded to vote for a candidate that we do not know that we are being persuaded to vote for.
HUXLEY: Exactly, I mean this is the rather alarming picture that you’re being persuaded below the level of choice and reason.
6. ) Evil People Will Take Advantage of Technology and Government to Gain Power
WALLACE: …Why is it that the wrong people will use these various devices [television, atomic energy] and for the wrong motives?
HUXLEY: Well, I think one of the reasons is that these are all instruments for obtaining power, and obviously the passion for power is one of the most moving passions that exists in man; and after all, all democracies are based on the proposition that power is very dangerous and that it is extremely important not to let any one man or any one small group have too much power for too long a time.
After all what are the British and American Constitution except devices for limiting power, and all these new devices are extremely efficient instruments for the imposition of power by small groups over larger masses.
“…after all, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” ~Aldous Huxley
This article has been adapted from intellihub.com here.