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Both science fiction authors George Orwell and Aldous Huxley prophesize the imminent destruction of society, warning the public of a nearing, dystopian future in their books 1984 and Brave New World respectively. However, social critic Neil Postman observes that the two’s reasons for said destruction offered contrasting analyses of society; Orwell predicted that society would be ruined by an opposing, oppressive force, namely Big Brother, while Huxley believed that society would be ruined internally, through our own deliberate ignorance and technologically induced captivity. Through the examination of modern culture in America, Postman’s assertion that Huxley’s Brave New World is the more relevant representation of today is accurate.
With the rise of social media and easily accessible technology, the spread of valuable information could never be more efficient to disperse. Imagine all the potential the efficiency and power of technology could bring to benefit society: raising awareness for global tragedies, educating those who lack insight and introspection, empowering those facing injustice. Now imagine all of those benefits already made a reality, just blatantly ignored. This is the future that Huxley warned about, a future where “the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance”. Unlike the society described in Orwell’s 1984, people today still have the choice to be educated, and are even given a wide range of media to choose from; documentaries, documents, satire, and stories all ably pave the way to ignorance-free awareness. But what use is accessible knowledge if the audience would rather worry about whether Stacy says “yes” to the dress or if the Emoji Movie will ever have a much deserved sequel? The public is aware that Donald Trump, on multiple occasions, is guilty of sexual harassment and acts of idiocy, yet people continue to support his presidency. The public is aware that several school shootings have devastated families and students alike, yet people still demand that the 2nd amendment be untouched. The truth is, there are many who don’t care about the truth.
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