I entered a debate yesterday. It was with my friend. I won. There were no hard feelings. We are still friends.
The debate, had it been on THINQon, would have been subjected to The Library Room. Thus, I am now subjecting the same debate in said room. It also will rest in the Me and Society section, because it involves me (and you) and society.
By way of my title line you can predict the topic of the remainder of this post, but I will introduce it again in the following sentence. Who would win in a Cage Match, Brave New World by Alduous Huxley or 1984 by George Orwell? That isn't my real question. This is: Which book has more accurately predicted the course of society since publication?
In the (notso) Great Debate of yesterday I took the banner of Huxley while my combatant (friend) trumpeted Mr. Orwell. I conceded to my friend that on first readings of both I indeed sided with Orwell's vision. This was, I believe, because his vision was much scarier. The idea that a group of people, a group of superiors, a Big Brother is in charge of every facet of society is horrifying. It's easy to attach oneself with that vision because the brain wants to blame someone, or some people. Orwell was afraid that the Mighty
would become mightier; he was afraid that they would seek more power which corresponds to less individual power. In 1984 the citizens were prisoners to the state.
Brave New World was written 15 years earlier than 1984. I think it is more visionary. Huxley predicts that citizens will become prisoners to themselves. He guessed, rather accurately in my eyes, that we will become victims to pleasure. We will seek out entertainment and in doing so, forsake identity. I still have my identity. So do most people. But, I watch a lot of Tv. So do most people.
George Orwell was afraid someone would censor books. Huxley feared censorship wouldn't be necessary because no one would want to read. Orwell was afraid that our state would hold back information, Huxley was afraid that we would be so inundated with information we will stop caring.
Which sounds more true today? . I see this headline every week: Hundreds Dead half-way across the globe
. Is it any wonder that apathy is on the rise?
I did concede to my friend that this is strictly western. In countries in Africa and the Middle East and China governments employ Orwellian rules to govern. Look at Iran.
Maybe they are both right. They are both good books. They are both fair fears. But I have been trained to read with Western eyes. And through a western lens Huxley's vision has come true to some degree.
On a less morbid note, what are other good dystopic novels? I love them and have read most of the big ones at this point I think.