If you think Orwell predicted a world envisaged by Huxley, think again!
Having heard a lot Orwell ‘inspired’ by Huxley’s work, invited me to an ‘essay’ of the debate on this paper. Since it is not easy to think of two books which could attract me more, I expect I must make my position clear as well as present the differences between two great works..
Orwell and Huxley, they were both critically acclaimed writers creating imaginatory visions of the future in their novels which was an utterly different experiences ahead of their time. If you have read Huxley’s Brave New World first, then Orwell’s 1984, you initially would recognize the Orwell’s convergence with Huxley’s idea and it would be hard to distinguish the main differences between two works in the first place. Although Orwell’s book must consider as ‘dystopia’, by contrast, Huxlean future quite close to the ‘utopia’; which there is no Room 101, no torture, and no war like Orwell’s terrifying 1984. All the characters have an ordinary life and ‘universal happiness’ with a perfect-pleasure drug, soma. It does make you high. From the Huxlean perspective, we would be considered as we are living through the era of ‘post-drug designers’. Typically, when you reading this paper, millions of others are building battle grounds, managing their football teams or feeding their animals. Think about the latest update of PS, with ‘Health and Safety Warning’ at startup. (It would got me freak out due to my anxiety disorder.) Wow!
Let’s move on and get back to the debate. An enlightening letter penned by Orwell (October 1949) to Huxley, lighted on their different ideas more and revealed that two men had different points to portray terrifying totalitarian society. In the letter, Huxley began by making the positive reviews for 1984, telling to Orwell ’how fine and how profoundly important the book is‘. It has been published in the website ‘Letters of Note’, which gather and sort old letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos:
In Orwell’s world, we see communication would be limited to prevent people’s communication against government, the destruction and ban of media will limit our knowledge, and the truth would be disappear through repressive control.
In Huxlean future, however, government will encourage mass media for more entertainment to pacify people’s attention from political issues, our transfixion with entertainment would drow our desire to learn the real knowledge, and society would allow itself to disregarding anything of importance.
So, were they an exaggeration?
Tragically, no. Yet now we are living through both curses from the past, remember the conditions of last uprisings in the Middle East or Europe spread by social media and the governments’ restrictions to access the internet. Another may add about the increasingly huge role of entertainment in people’s life. In 2011, while the Presidential State of the Union was watching by 43 million people, Super Bowl was watched by over 100 million people.
P.s. If you like these sort of books I would suggest you to read ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury and ‘Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess, either. They are both somewhere between Orwell and Huxley. You’re Welcome.