Although reading 1984 was a life changing experience at age 11, I only got around to reading Brave New World last month and this book, like Orwell’s stark warning of cultural tendencies, highlighted many issues that we would all do well to be aware of if we don’t want to move inexorably towards a communist control paradigm. For anyone who doesn’t think that’s possible in our supposedly ‘free’ society would do well to realise that 8 out of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto have already been implemented in the West.
A significant theme in Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ is the pervasive use of Soma, a drug which enables the State to maintain a status quo through mass medication. The enormous percentage of the population using prescription drugs today is as high as 70% in some areas with many of those consuming all manner of mood enhancers daily. Add to that the enormous number of people who self-medicate with illegal drugs, alcohol and nicotine and it’s clear we are living in one drugged up society.
But far more insidious is the proliferation and ubiquitous presence of cyber drugs. Has any other phenomenon more effectively isolated people from each other than the sparkling allure of gadget screens? Has any other phenomenon more effectively distracted the public from the injustice of their society? The majority of civilisation spends the significant part of its day scrolling up and down having its perception stimulated by the content which is largely managed by a handful of content providers.
The electronic dummy (or pacifier in the US) is probably the most significant and invisible form of crowd control in the modern world.