Saturday, July 30, 2005

Brave new world

So did you read that book by Aldous Huxley? I just read the first chapter. I don't know if I will have the patience it will take to read it whole. Because what Huxley is describing is happening right now under our very noses: the conditioning, the dumbing down of our culture, of what we think is valuable in life... anything, whatever it takes as long as we like being the slaves we are.

And what about the really important issues? Just a deafening silence.


isabel said...

no more silence. let's start screaming!
of course no one will listen, because enough people will never scream.
we tried in the 60's and 70's and look what all the blood, sweat and tears has accomplished! absolutely zilch.
the inhumanity goes on and increases by the day, on a person- to-person basis as well as between governments.
what's to be done?

Andres said...

I have some idea. How about we stop buying the stuff made by corporations we think are nuts? And if you are thinking about music or movies, I do not mean getting a pirated copy. I mean *do not consume anymore*.

All this ridiculous mess is financed with our purchases. But as long as consumption is not affected by the ethics of who we buy from... in that regard I feel as if we had a physical dependence on this crazy stuff.

How about having a more reasonable amount of belongings to begin with? When we die we do not get any luggage allowance.

By the way... your profile picture is that annular galaxy that appears in Cosmos, right?

tomas said...

Andres, Brave New World is a great novel, but keep in mind that Aldous wrote it in 1932. Along his life his views changed, and become perhaps more optimistic. In 1953 he tried mescaline and wrote The Doors of Perception. In 1958 he wrote Brave New World Revisited, where he rethinks the utopia. And in 1962 he published Island, his last novel, where he describes the perfect society (an anti-Brave New World). So he actually proposed an alternative.

I must also recommend "Moksha: Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (1931-1963)", which right now I'm re-reading. Aldous had a unique view of the psychedelic experience. Not many people share that view today, and not many people is even aware that such a point of view is possible. It is very sad that something sacred (and sacred in a secular way!) has turned into a commodity.

[Hehe, I just realized I wrote just "Aldous" instead of "Huxley". He's my greatest hero and I feel very familiar with him.]

Andres said...

Hey Tomas... the book has a preface in which Huxley explains that while the novel is not perfect, he doesn't feel like rewriting it and taking what's good from it in order to fix what's bad.

Apparently he did it anyway, but the original book remains.

But again... I have serious doubts about finishing reading it because it really pisses me off.

Question: why is it claimed that we need to take stuff like LSD in order to realize "oh shit, this sucks", or "here's how it could be better"? I don't get it.

isabel said...

my profile picture of the moment is Hoag's Object, an unusual galaxy, and i got it from the Hubble Telescope website. i just thought it was beautiful, and kind of like a zen 'enzo', a symbol of Emptiness.

well i agree with you about not supporting corporations and i may be one of the few people in the states who doesn't own anything! i hope that helps but still, it is not enough.

tomas said...

Hmm... I don't think we need to take LSD to realize that the world could be different, or that it sucks. I don't think Huxley said that either. I was just pointing out that at first Huxley had the idea that psychoactive drugs could be used to control people, or to make them feel comfortable in an otherwise unbearable world, and he wrote Brave New World. I think antidepressants and anxiolytics are functional to modern capitalist society in this sense, and in a more sane society the incidence of anxiety and depression would be much lower.

But later Huxley explored other uses of psychoactive drugs that are very different and more constructive (for example, for spiritual development and creativity), and he wrote Island. That could be the case with psychedelics like LSD, but today their use has degenerated in mere entretainment (as in Brave New World), and I think that's another symptom of a sick society.