Have any of Huxley's anticipations become true?Have any of Huxley's anticipations become true?

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timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Probably his most interesting "come true" prediction concerns Propaganda.  It would be helpful to read "Propaganda in a Democratic Society" which appears in "Brave New World Revisited."  He writes:

In "Brave New World non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature (the feelies, orgy-porgy, centfigual bumble-puppy) are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attnetion to the realities of the social and political situation.

Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligenltly on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures.  A society, most of whole members spend a great part of their time, no on the spot, not here and no and in the calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera [ed:  he knew nothing of the internet], of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.

In the following chapter, "Propaganda Under a Dictatorship," he gives further indications of how modern tools of communication can be and are used to influence us.

In the Chapter on "The Art of Selling," he writes something interesting:

Nonesense which it would be shameful to a reasonable being to write, speak or hear spoken can be sung of listened to by that same rational being with pleasure and even with a kind of intellectual conviction.

In "The Republic," Plato deals with the role of music in the education of youth.  He believes that it plays a key role in their lives, in forming the virtues that will make them contributors to their society.  Although not all would agree, much of the music of today's world that glorifies crime and denegrades women and relationships, is clearly what Plato and Huxley were afraid of.

And this only scratches the surface ... if you need more interesting information, please read "Brave New World Revisited."

 

 

marilynn07's profile pic

marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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That is an interesting question.

It is also highly subjective in that you have to decide based on reading the novel just what aspects of Brave New World have become true in our society today.

I see our society as being overly "sexualized" much as the society in the novel. Marriage is frowned upon. Promiscuity is promoted.

We turn our children over at age 3 for public education so that we adults can go to work. Children begin conditioning at birth in the novel's culture.

There is definitely a division between social classes that is obvious, but not to the point that each group wears special colors or anything like that unless you look at gang colors in urban areas. Children in our society are taught to be "tolerant" of others, but that does not necessarily mean accepting or friendly toward others who are from a different class, race or religious background.

Our culture certainly pushes medicine and "escape" from the daily trouble through anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication.  This would compare nicely to the complete dependence on soma that is prevalent in the civilization depicted in the novel.

So, yes there are comparisons that can be made.

If I were writing an essay on this topic, I would pick 3 main areas of comparison and get examples from the novel as well as examples from modern life that fit the examples from the book.

parkerlee's profile pic

parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Another prediction coming true concerns "manufacturing" babies via genetic manipulation. In certain countries eugenic babies are already being marketed, as would-be parents place their order for 'catalogue' testube babies which conform to their idea of an ideal child. Less than perfect babies or even those of the wrong sex are often eliminated by "terminating the pregnancy." Just look at the 'man:woman' ratio in China or India to confirm this unpleasant fact.

Another example of fiction becoming reality is in the virtual experience offered the public at the "feelies." With 3D video games, hologram films, and flight similators, science is almost there. Researchers are even working on a project to be able to transmit odours virtually.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Predictions of Huxley in Brave New World are extrapolations of conditions and trends already existing and visible at the time of writing the book. These were not something totally new or unknown prior to writing the book. Therefore, mere existence of some conditions today that resemble in some limited way the picture of Brave New World presented by Huxley should not be taken as a sign of prediction of Huxley true. There has to be substantial movement from the condition at the time of writing of the book towards the direction indicated by Huxley to conclude that prediction of Huxley have come true.

When we compare the conditions as it existed and as it is now, we find that in many important respect the prediction of Huxley has not materialized.

For example, one central assumption of Huxley, on which many other assumptions are based, is development of an all powerful totalitarian government. Such a prediction was perhaps based on the example of communist regime in U.S.S.R.. But as is well known the U.S.S.R. system has failed and the possibility of a totalitarian government like the one described in Brave new world is far from reality.

The assumption of Huxley about the ills of assembly line production - particularly the deskilling of labour force have also not come true. Today many new innovations are taking place in industrial organization that make much better utilization of labour force at all levels. For example, Kaizen System perfected by Toyota relies heavily on ideas and creativity of its workforce for making improvements in its performance. Today we are witnessing and increasing number of knowledge workers rather than workers who perform only simple manual tasks.

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