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Huxley and mass media

A journey through Brave New World

Uniformity and over-population

Publié par Aldous Huxley sur 10 Décembre 2012, 12:00pm

Our contemporary Western society, in spite of its material, intellectual and political progress, is increasingly less conducive to mental health, and tends to undermine the inner security, happiness, reason and the capacity for love in the individual; it tends to turn him into an automaton who pays for his human failure with increasing mental sickness, and with despair hidden under a frantic drive for work and so called pleasure.

Erich Fromm


 As the earth population grows and explodes, the conformation of a mass into a whole, the concealment of economic and political, and even social problems is provided by the beautiful scenery of human over-population.
The conformism, in addition to the fact that it “dispersonalises”, brings the whole into a reassuring security. The cinema, and media in general, contributed in developing or changing some virtues and change their aspect. “Belongigness, group thinking, adjustement, adaptation, socially orientated behavior”  obey to a scientific analysis by Huxley and can be compared to the compatibility or incompatibility of an organ to a body ( like the example of the transformation of man from a “not completely social”” elephant”-like “gregarious “ group of beings to a conformed “mechanical and crude organic community”. By pointing out two biological incompatible elements , Huxley sheds light on a trickety governing system, a “polite dictatorship” in which the virtues and quality suffer from the deficiency of themselves. It’s a war opposing “ subhuman uniformity” to “human diversity”. Indeed, by intending to create an organism, using misleading means, the result will be the same as Hitler’s despotism.
The sexual freedom depicted in Brave New World and the concept of this book in general is finally the other ledge of the same coin of control, with violence and torture on one ledge, and another “but hardly less humiliating pleasure” through sexual excessive liberty on the other. Over-population and over-organization are two condi­tions which, as I have already pointed out, deprive a society of a fair chance of making democratic institu­tions work effectively”. Huxley.
Here, it appears clearly to us that the preacarious economic and social situation are dealt with in a totally different way from the obviously wicked one used by the dictator who abuses his executive power in a 1984-like government. The power in a western “rational state” to deal with theses issues and assert one’s power is provided by media, and behind the curtains which separate the wings from the stage of over-populated earth. The polite brave new worldian dictatorship is efficient insofar as it hides or "Hydes” behind an intellectual and rational identity.
The idea of the whole and the individual is not a parallel to the one depicted in the Doors of perception, the instikgeit, the suchness, that Huxley puts forward in that work. It's an anormally normal conformed whole in which the individual is no more than an illusion, and in which belonging and "adjusting" is turning oneself to an automaton and dis-personaling. More than that, I would say, un- personalising for the sake of the whole. In a society in which you would wish to belong, to adapt yourself to the new virtues exposed by Aldous Huxley, you contribute actually to make the mass control even more efficient. The absence of nevrosis, of illness, of interior disorder of Fromm is just equal to the abolition of pain in Huxley's world. Illness would mean that at least one sees, that one is not adaptable to "the blind forces that are propelling us". In fact, the nevrosis reflected in Gesualdo's interpretation of his symphony by Huxley in The Doors of Perception is opposed to the "whole" harmony in Mozart's C-Minor Piano Concerto, through which you're "lulled into a false sense of security".
The confusion by which governing efficiently is set contains these three main aspects: the biological issue of earth growing population, the speeding growing scientific and mechanical progress and the most important of them all: the confused multiple mediatic techniques and ways of communication, the multiple cultural illusional choices which are no more than a countless unity of "roads to brave new world".  After all, the genetic standardization of Huxley's Brave New World is no more than the thinking standardization with the mass media.

Science may be defined as the reduction of multiplic¬ity to unity. It seeks to explain the endlessly diverse phenomena of nature by ignoring the uniqueness of particular events, concentrating on what they have in common and finally abstracting some kind of "law," in terms of which they make sense and can be effectively dealt with. For examples, apples fall from the tree and the moon moves across the sky. People had been observ¬ing these facts from time immemorial. With Gertrude Stein they were convinced that an apple is an apple is an apple, whereas the moon is the moon is the moon. It remained for Isaac Newton to perceive what these very dissimilar phenomena had in common, and to formu¬late a theory of gravitation in terms of which certain aspects of the behavior of apples, of the heavenly bod¬ies and indeed of everything else in the physical uni¬verse could be explained and dealt with in terms of a single system of ideas.

Aldous Huxley

The wish to impose order upon confusion, to bring harmony out of dissonance and unity out of multiplicity is a kind of intellectual instinct, a primary and fundamental urge of the mind.

Aldous Huxley

Uniformity and over-population
Uniformity and over-population
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