Soon there will be so few jobs for people who are not highly skilled that the words of Aldous Huxley’s 1958 essay contained in his book “Brave New World Revisited” will come screaming back to the national consciousness.
The lack of the plentiful jobs once enjoyed in this country will seem a minor discomfort compared to where the world and our beloved USA are heading.
In a splendid review on Amazon by Stephen Pletko on July 29, 2005, he tells us that this non-fiction book of essays, by author Aldous Huxley “examines the predictions he made in his fascinating science fiction novel written over a quarter of a century from the time he wrote this later book.”
Pletko then quotes Huxley in his own words which brought special power to me, as that was the year I was born—when US population (now over 325 million) was below 125 million. World population in that same time frame has gone from 2 billion to almost 8 an utterly unsustainable number.
Pletko offers a summary of Huxley’s key points:
This is what this book does. It looks in depth at the above threats or forces to or ‘enemies of’ individual freedom and others mentioned in Huxley’s science fiction novel and applies them to the modern world. The author examines in depth the following six threats or forces:
(2) Over-organization (or bureaucracy)
(3) Propaganda (in a democratic society and under a dictatorship)
(5) Persuasion (chemical and subconscious or subliminal)
(6) Hypnopaedia (sleep-teaching)
His analysis made over a quarter century ago (from the year of this review) is amazingly accurate. I’ll give one perfect example:
Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual, and material progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason, and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so-called pleasure… Man [and woman are] not made to be an automaton, and if he [or she] becomes one, the basis for mental health is destroyed… People are related to one another, not as total personalities but as embodiments of economic functions or, when they are not at work, as irresponsible seekers of entertainment.
The above example is the kind of insight you’ll find throughout this well-written book. There are a few (very few!) times Huxley seems to be wrong, but the majority of time he is spot-on.
In the last chapter of his book, Huxley attempts amongst other things to answer the following question: “How can we control the vast impersonal forces that now menace our hard-won freedoms?” He does a good job coming to grips with this difficult question.
Do you have to read Huxley’s previous science fiction novel to understand this book? No. When he refers to his science fiction novel in this book he does not make any assumptions that the reader has read his science fiction novel. However, as a person who has read his previous novel, I can say that this book had more impact on me than if I had not read the previous novel.
Finally, the only problem I had with this non-fiction book is that it has no references and footnotes (or notes). Huxley to be sure uses information and statistics from other sources but no credit is given to them. Huxley, in his main narrative, does sometimes give informal credit to his sources but many times, he does not even do this. All information sources should have been properly referenced.
In conclusion, this is an insightful, prophetic, fascinating book that makes the case that our society may be heading in the wrong direction due to forces attempting to take away our individual freedoms!
Now as we see the rise of violence, the rampant chance for terrorism, the uncontrolled immigration coming from the fact that since his science fiction book Brave New World was written in 1931, the year I was born, when US population was under 140 million, (now over 325 million), world population then 2 billion, now approaching 8 billion en route to perhaps several more billion which likely will not happen because human life as we now know it in the USA will collapse into worse than 3rd world status.
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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