Huxley vs. Orwell

Posted: August 12, 2010 in Consciousness, Consumerism, Corporatism, Culture

I’ve known for some time about Neil Postman’s analysis in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death contrasting the dystopian views of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. Here it is presented graphically, which is to say, as a comic strip. (I would embed it but it’s pretty long.) If you are a typical reader nowadays, you accept a graphical presentation — even with captions and text — much more readily than a purely textual one. Either way, the reality we currently have emerges pretty quickly from the comparison as that of Huxley, though trends point toward an eventual shift to a harsher, Orwellian reality as resource scarcity (especially energy) grows.

  1. montejo says:

    I guess I’d prefer Huxley’s dystopia to Orwell’s, because with Huxley’s at least you could do your own thing and not follow everyone else. With Orwell’s, everyone’s pretty much stuck in the same boat.

    • Brutus says:

      Is there any scenario beyond the hypothetical where our individual preferences enter into how a dystopia manifests? I suppose our collective preferences have driven us toward Huxley’s version. However, it’s not the clear preference for me. Obtaining material wellbeing and the illusion of freedom while being a zombie is too high a cost. In Orwell’s version, one suffers greatly under the boot heel of oppression, but the possibility of maintaining the integrity of one’s self is higher — at least until one attracts too much attention and is selected for reeducation of some sort.

      • montejo says:

        Yea, I think most dystopia stories are intended to be the future result of some current trajectory. I agree a lot of Westerners are basically materially wealthy zombies, but does this necessarily mean my freedom is an illusion or that I can’t maintain my integrity?

      • Brutus says:

        No, not necessarily, but then you would be swimming against a strong riptide. In Brave New World, Huxley provides an escape mechanism for misfits (i.e., nonzombies) to either join the administrative oligarchy or retreat to an island of other misfits interested in pursuing their own agendas whilst leaving the bulk of society undisturbed. That’s arguing the exception, obviously.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s