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Many authors have postulated about what the future holds. Some, like Orwell, claim that our leaders will become dictators and humanity will be guided by hate and fear. Others, like Huxley, posit that humanity will be infatuated with its own technologies to the point of oppressing themselves. As we aren’t ruled by a benevolent dictator, or by fear or pain, it is Huxley’s vision in A Brave New World that is closest to our reality, rather than Orwell’s hypothesis that humankind will be ruled by totalitarian leaders and a seemingly endless supply of war and pain.
Today’s culture is vastly dominated by artificial spontaneity and electronic displays. We carry what is perhaps the most ingenious device ever made in our pockets, yet we actively choose to waste our lives in a fleeting attempt to entertain ourselves. In Huxley’s Brave New World, the members of the World State constantly seek different ways to be happy. They are actively encouraged to take soma, an addictive hallucinatory drug that, when taken, alleviates all of the world’s pains. Although most addictive drugs are banned in today’s society, this doesn’t mean that we don’t drug ourselves into believing that we are happy. Instead of soma, we drug ourselves with social media. We spam each other with what we perceive as a “scathing commentary”, when in reality it’s really just arbitrary gibberish, masquerading as insight.
In Huxley’s Brave New World, Huxley points out that the citizens of the World State found it much easier to pretend that everything is fine, that it’s a lot easier to buy into the fantasy than it is to live in reality. And so it is in the today’s society. Most people don’t read because reading makes them happy, they read because they want to be sedated, because it’s less painful to pretend, because most people are cowards. We’ve turned away from anything real, we’ve turned it off and begun binging on social media that does nothing but brainwash us. We’ve taken out the batteries of humanity and creativity and have tossed them into the ever expanding dumpster of the human condition. Our individuality has been lost, we’ve been living in trademarked houses, trademarked by the same companies that produce those hypnotizing bipolar numbers that never cease to jump up and down on our electronic screens. Huxley’s worst fears have come true: we’ve been given so much information that we’ve been reduced to passivity and egoism.
Huxley was correct. We’ve become a culture built on nothing but trivialities, always captivated by the next trend, always preoccupied with our portable echo chambers. We certainly have not been able to break our “infinite appeal for distraction”, and as a result, we live in Huxley’s Brave New World.
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