Here's a very good animated version of an interview with the writer Aldous Huxley, recorded in 1958. Huxley wrote 'Brave New World', a classic work of dystopian prophecy.
In the interview, Huxley paints a picture of what we have to watch out for in terms of totalitarian control. Sadly, I think Huxley's warnings have mostly come to pass. Nowadays, our Western society may not have the obvious flavour of a communist/fascist totalitarian state but that is not because we are free of such control, it is simply that the powers-that-be have chosen a more glamorous, mesmeric system which still suits their needs and keeps us drugged but productive.
Huxley tellingly stated towards the end of the interview that the ideal result for the controllers is that the masses they control don't know they're enslaved or that they even like their servitude and enslavement. This is not such a far-fetched situation. Tragically, many slaves in history have rejected freedom and returned to slavery because slavery guarantees food and lodging; freedom doesn't. For those that contest that we are still free, it's worth noting that even the mainstream press now accept that our emails are read, our internet browsing is collated and examined, we are identified automatically on CCTV, our social networking profiles are psychologically analysed, our smartphones movements are tracked, we can be detained without access to a lawyer for a month, we can be legally watched without evidence being required. The list is long. Some say that this keeps us safe but from what? Fear is a great controller, as Goering himself once pointed out. Read More...
I stumbled upon this very enjoyable short video interview with John Cleese on Youtube:
The interview includes an absolute gem of a comment from John:
"If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behaviour."
I very much agree with John's point that a culture of not wishing to upset people becomes a dangerous form of censorship. I talked about free speech in a previous blog post and emphasised how important it is for people to be able to say virtually anything because without that freedom, we are very close to a society with many of the features of 1984.
For those readers that think upsetting someone is always bad, here is a scenario: You find out that your best friend's wife is having an affair. If you tell your best friend, he will be very upset but many people would agree that you should tell him regardless because he will eventually, after gaining a greater understanding of what is going on in his life, appreciate what you've done even though it has brought him a period of misery. Upsetting one or more people because you care about them and that you believe they need to know that news can be applied to many other matters, of greater and lesser importance. It might not make you very popular but if you instead put popularity before moral duty, that places you in the realm of sociopathic narcissists and/or cowards. It's the unpopular, difficult but caring actions that help move us forward as a species. Long may they continue.
We now have a Conservative government in power in this country (give or take a very strange attempt at a Liberal Democrat party). As a result, there’s lots of comment in the news about ‘reducing inefficiency’ and ‘getting the work-shy to do their fair share’ and other such political statements. It’s got me thinking about an idea I had ages ago to try and come up with a social setup that could be successful at encouraging everyone to do their fair share.
To try and reason out how this could be done, I thought up a fictitious room. In it, a group of people would be standing on a treadmill. They would run on the treadmill and thereby generate power. To keep them going while doing this work, food and drink would be given to them at regular intervals while they ran on the treadmill. This, in a very simple way, could represent a society. People work together to generate output and receive sustenance in return. Read More...