Monday, 14 January 2013

If Aldous Huxley Were To Come Back To Life Today, Would He Die Of A Heart Attack?

In short, yes. But I will still give you the long explanation. When his masterpiece, Brave New World was published in 1931, little could anyone predict how accurate and relevant it would be 80 years later. A lot has happened since then, a World War (the most devastating in human history), Rise and fall of Nazism and Communism, Cold War, and the human race has come close to extinction multiple times. Strangely enough, these events didn’t only not deter the gloomy future predicted by Aldous Huxley but in a way aided its progression.

Brave New World isn’t a typical dystopian book. There is no oppressive government (in a traditional sense), no struggle, and no hero who fights for freedom. In a way that is because there is no one to be freed. What’s so perplexing about the book is that one cannot help but wonder whether what is described really is a dystopia, or a really messed-up utopia. We all know that living in a such a way as them is wrong and that we would most likely refuse to live in such a way. Yet they seem to be happy about it so why should we be unhappy for them?

The society in Brave New World is based solely on consumerism. It’s funny to think that Aldous Huxley thought that to be a problem all the way back in 1931. One cannot help but wonder what his reaction would be when he saw a 14-year-old pressure her parents into buying $100 Ed Hardy shirts. In this day and age, consumerism has taken over the developed world. In fact it almost seems that economic development and capitalism became synonymous with consumerism. A torn shirt isn’t stitched back, it’s thrown away and a new one is bought while 40% of thefood is thrown away in countries such as the United States. And what’s even more striking is that just like in the book, consumerism is used as a tool by the government to keep the masses happy and ignore the real issues. In many developed countries, where almost everyone has access to Internet, many still choose to stay ignorant. The recent 2012 US presidential elections (you know, possibly the most important elections in the world) had a voter turnout of merely 58.9%, the elections of 1996 reached was the all-time low of 49%. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. An easy choice that is presented by the government to the people, and the choice many chose to take.

Aldous Huxley, seen here looking down at your ignorant ass

The ignorance of the masses is far more reaching than one may have imagined. A survey conducted in the United States found out that most of the people were not aware of the Israeli Palestine conflict. Those who were, were extremely misinformed on the issue. Most thought that the occupied territories were Israeli territories occupied by the Palestinians. On top of that, majority of the American population is unaware of the 1953 CIA sponsored coup d’etat in Iran despite the country's heavy involvement in the Middle East region and highly publicized relationship between Iran-USA.

That is because the media, unfortunately enough, also happens to be heavily biased (despite the claims by some of them being "fair and balanced"). Similar to how people were brainwashed by repeatedly listening to the tapes in sleep, one is brainwashed by the repetition in the media. Of course, brainwashing doesn’t necessarily mean mind-control with special death-ray gun equipment, no, it’s much more subtle than that. When the Iraqis purged Kurds, in what is known as the Halabja poison gas attack, 3,000-5,000 were left dead. The word genocide was used hundreds of times in the biggest US newspapers. At the same time, Turks have been fighting Kurds since 1978, up to 20,000 civilian Kurds have died and millions displaced, yet the word genocide was used merely a couple of times in the media. More shockingly, the mainstream media in the West stayed almost completely ignorant of the occupation of East Timor by the Indonesian forces from 1975 to 1999 despite close to 200,000 people dying (out of 800,000 population). All this doesn't seem to make sense until one considers one vital piece of information missing from this puzzle. Both Turkey and Indonesia are allies of the United States. Just like in the Brave New World, when something is repeated the right number of times, we come to accept it as the truth.


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