Brave New World vs. 1984 Argument Essay
Aldous Huxleys dystopian vision of the future is an unusual one. Unlike many bleak depictions of life in the future, such as George Orwells 1984, Huxleys vision lays the blame on people for becoming comfortable within their limitations instead of an oppressive, external force. It is much simpler to envision that the homogeny of the future will come from a source that is not controllable by average people than for the people to acknowledge that they are their own oppressors. As Postman writes, there was a sense of great relief when the totalitarian nightmare of 1984 did not come to pass, however people have not stopped to consider that is only because they have oppressed themselves. In a sense, everyone is his or her own Big Brother. It is true that modern life is not one where the government controls the daily actions or speech of its citizens. The oppression of todays world is more subtle than that, and often lies within the average civilian. That is why Postman is correct in his assertion that the future portrayed in Brave New World is more relevant to modern society than 1984.
Criticizing people for being too passive in their convictions is not an uncommon complaint in this day and age, especially of young people. In fact, common disparagements of youth mirror Postmans description of Brave New World almost perfectly. Postman writes of Huxleys vision, People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think, just as adults often say their children would rather text than have a real conversation, or go on Facebook than read a book. The complaint is not without validity, but it seems unfair to lay all the blame on Generation Y. The parents and grandparents of those disinterested teenagers and yuppies come from a generation that burned its draft cards and protested racism, sexism, and an unjust war. Now in a world of endless information, they are content to sit at the dinner table and pontificate and complain. From planting victory gardens and marching in peace rallies, they have gone to signing petitions online and donating $5 to relief funds by sending a text to this number, and it is unclear why. There is no militia or secret police waiting outside their door, ready to take them away for speaking their minds. To be unpatriotic and critical of the government is so socially acceptable that its practically fashionable. They will not suffer psychological torture or lobotomies for opposing their governments or uncovering the truth. To the contrary, there is an endless stream of news and information at their disposal everywhere they turn. Postman says, Orwell feared those who would deprive us information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to egoism and passivity. Undoubtedly that is what has happened to people. They have been given so much that they no longer know what to do.
Postman also stated that in Huxleys future, truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Anyone would be willing to agree that is certainly true of todays world. Today more than ever, technology and popular culture provides the perfect outlet for peoples attention. Unlike in 1984, people are not forced to disregard what is true or relevant; it is a choice they have made for themselves because as Aldous Huxley wrote, people failed to take into account mans almost infinite appetite for distractions. Throughout history, when there has been less information and more oppression, people have sprung into action. Now that there is more information and less outward oppression, people are satisfied to allow their awareness to suffice. Aldous Huxleys vision is relevant and accurate, what we love will ruin us.