Do People Really Want Freedom?
Huxley asserts, referring also to a poll, that people will be happy enough to “live by bread alone–or at least by bread and circuses alone” (121).
He quotes Dostoevsky’s fictional Grand Inquisitor who says “in the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘make us your slaves, but feed us'” (121).
Huxley goes on about this, and it reminds me of the story of Joseph in the Bible. When times were bad, the various peoples sold themselves as slaves to Egypt instead of finding other solutions.
It’s interesting how a story can be told and it makes people believe that there are only so many possibilities for food, or their other needs, that somehow there are always these alleged “shortages” in such a huge planet that require only one centralized solution. And therefore we must submit and become slaves to those, like Huxley, who are telling us the stories about “over-population” and telling us that third-world farmers need to be taught how to farm all of a sudden, that they never knew how to feed themselves before. It’s amazing the stories we are told and what we believe based on propaganda.
Maybe it’s also not really true that everyone is so willing to sell themselves into obedience to the alleged “solutions” of governments, corporations, and their international organizations.
Huxley says that if another generation comes along crying for liberty, that part of this would be due to the “incompetence of those rulers, their inability to make effective use of the mind-manipulating instruments” science has made available (121).
This is a very odd statement for Huxley to make if he is actually opposing totalitarianism. It could almost be construed as a marketing statement on behalf of mind control technology and a warning to incompetent tyrants.
Prefiguring the coming popularity of the psychedelic and New Age movements, Huxley explains that in Brave New World the rulers were able to use drugs to give the “subjects the direct experience of mysteries and miracles” (122).
Entertainment is a huge factor in Brave New World. And entertainment, miracles and mysteries are a huge part of the control system we live under today.
I think there are topics that are worth learning more about, especially if we can demystify them. I think there probably are “spiritual” levels of reality, but we should strive for more definite knowledge as individuals, and avoid being seduced by mystification and fantasy.
Instead of investigating what criminal activities have been going on involving tax-funded high-tech experimentation, many of us prefer to believe in visitors from other planets. It’s nicer to escape into “mystery” than to deal with reality. I know that feeling.
Huxley talks about how education will be perfect, and that most will “love their servitude and will never dream of revolution”. He can’t think of a reason “why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown” (122).
Again, there is a strange kind of certainty in this statement for someone who is supposedly leading the opposition to totalitarianism rather than promoting it.
2. Themes from Brave New World
Standardization through Control Over Genetics and Reproduction
As discussed already, Huxley predicted that only artificial reproduction would be allowed. Also he predicted the policy of “genetic standardization” (p.3). He discusses this subject as if it’s inevitable, although he thought it was a long way off.
Standardization through a Caste System
Huxley describes the caste system in the Soviet Union, in which teachers and scientists etc. are paid well and given some professional freedom. Others live closer to the base of the “pyramid” as he puts it (note the symbolism of the pyramid) with low wages and no privileges (p. 4). He makes the observation that the Soviet system combined aspects of the brutality and poverty of 1984 with aspects of Brave New World, because the upper caste (class) lived privileged lives.
Huxley explains that the average lower or middle class person in the scientific dictatorship will have been conditioned from infancy. However, the members of the upper caste will have to be able to think flexibly and to respond to new circumstances . They will still be a “wild species” (67). Charles Galton Darwin used a similar phrase in The Next Million Years to describe the upper class.
Huxley calls this “only slightly conditioned” class, the “trainers” and “guardians” (a term used in The Republic by Plato). These are the “guardians” of the lower caste, who he describes as “completely domesticated animals” (p. 67). Because of their wild nature, members of the upper caste, as portrayed in Brave New World, can become rebellious and have to be dealt with.
How does Huxley know all this? What kind of people did Huxley spend time with? Other researchers have been investigating these kinds of questions, partly by reading Huxley’s books carefully, such as Moksha. See for example, the YouTube video Psychedelic Intelligence – The C.I.A. and the Counterculture, which can be found at gnosticmedia.com.
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