Thursday, July 24, 2014

An aside about Brave New World Revisited

So, please let me interrupt the break-neck pace of posts about Wittgenstein to say a few words about Brave New World Revisited. For a trip down memory lane I took it to breakfast this morning to see what I think about it now. I did have a couple of thoughts:

1. Huxley's concerns about concentration of media are very timely, and put issues like net neutrality in relief. The internet provides a sources of information that might have made Huxley a little more optimistic. Sources such as

and others that provide an alternative to 'corporate' media. If I want to know something about what's going on in the news I wouldn't rely entirely on newspapers, cable news etc... when there's an infinite variety of opinions on any subject. The danger is if/when the current decentralized internet becomes just another space for what Morton Downey called 'pabulum'.

2. Technology. The pace is way too fast and I can't keep up. I try to sort of keep up but I frankly don't see the point most of the time.  When I was young I wished I could live long enough to see all the new gizmos coming along, but frankly I find it a bit boring; that's right, I said BORING. Alas, if I were to prognosticate, I would say it will be a very, very long time before we zip around the galaxy. In the meantime it will be one more random collection of apps on whatever electronic what-have-you as we crowd onto our planet(yawn).

3. Huxley and many others I think did not appreciate the staying power of traditional religion to throw a wrench in their visions of future utopias/dystopias. They figured such things would be long gone. But there's no reason we won't see traditional religious fundamentalists far into the future; so there, humanists, your bright godless future is a fantasy, you'll just have to deal with the loss of your little pipe dream -- or maybe not, religionists don't. And lest you think religion will keep these dystopias from occurring, recall that the Nazi's appropriated the cross: