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I read both books one after the other a while ago to compare them. I think there are aspects of both that are becoming reality (or have been reality for some time), but can absolutely say that Huxley was closer to predicting the future (at least in the West).

The rise of mass media (hollywood, netflix), pornography, the pill (and other forms of contraception), large expendable incomes, smart phones, pharmaceuticals - the world now is basically Huxley's + a bit of a Orwellian propaganda sprinkled on top to keep you in Huxley's world.






On the other hand consider all the ways in which our society is fundamentally unlike BNW. The big one: we are not bred in test tubes and raised in massive government-run factories with our destinies determined by a letter from alpha to epsilon. Families have not been abolished, nor has pair bonding. Our lives are not engineered by an all-powerful global government, not even by an all-powerful national government.

Maybe you could say that these are non-core aspects of the story, like the fact that in BNW they travel by rocket instead of jet, but I think they’re extremely central to the story.

These ideas didn’t come out of nowhere, many of them ( like the replacement of family life with communal life) were taken seriously by progressives of the day.

Huxley took the trends and novelties of the early 1930s and imagined what things would be like if they continued in that direction. Some trends continued, but others stalled out, and these trends are perhaps more interesting than the ones that continued.


Well yes, there are plenty of ways we are unlike BNW. I see those things are plot devices to explore the deeper concepts of: lack of individuality / self-determination, increase in use of contraception, increase in diversion and hedonism, trivialising of religion, ostracising of those that will not conform, etc. He takes all these things to extremes, yes, but I think our own society is moving in that direction more than moving in Orwell's.

Just consider the Facebook newsfeed. Do you think the false headlines, or the memes and reaction videos scattered throughout, have more of an effect on people's inaction to perceived injustice? People won't react any differently to a headline that claims one things or the other. That's Huxley's prediction right there.


I think the most fundamental difference between our world and BNW is that I know many people who lead fulfilled lives, carry on meaningful relationships, and who critically examine the culture that surrounds them.



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