Friday, February 27, 2015

mike wallace interviews aldous huxley

Here is the interview with Mike Wallace (of eventual "60 Minutes" fame) and Aldous Huxley.

In an essay-let (essayito?) of 1-3 paragraphs, please comment to this post and cite 3-5 ideas from the talk to support your validation or refutation of the following claim:

We are living in the Brave New World.


  1. As our world advances we find ourselves discovering new technology that is leading us to a world that could be as impersonal as the one Huxley writes about. What is the price of this brave new world? The costs of these new advancements involve losses of freedom. Through overpopulation individuals receive less and the must work more to compete. One would just have to look at college applications. Each year, more students apply to a limited number of spots and once they're in they will have to claw at the throats of others to get the classes they need. Huxley also warns of the dangers of subordination from over-organization. Today, any profitable corporation has is divided into departments which in turn is divided into different sub-departments which then proceeds to have a hierarchy over workers. Few make it to the top of the pyramid and those that do aren't willing to give up that spot.
    The competition among fortune 500 companies such as Apple and Samsung have brought great changes though. In a span of 30 years communication became portable and instantaneous. The world is now smaller than ever before. Despite these amazing feats, these companies keep striving towards a profitable future which will always involve competition. To outcompete, companies use advertising which subconsciously make us want to buy their products. The effects these ads have is incredible, but what if this form of mind control--I mean communication--were taken advantage of. The propaganda of the Hitler regime would be minor to what would happen today. Most people assume that what happened in history will never be repeated. But the hunger for power is ravenous and this passion may cause people to use our technological advances to build a world that mirrors the one Huxley describes.

  2. Aldous Huxley does not explicitly state whether or not the near future will become like the Brave New World. I believe that we are on the brink of the Brave New World. That we are closer to it than ever before and certain things must change to avoid this undesirable outcome.
    For example, the first reference to a cause of possible loss of freedom is over population. Over population has become more evident with time and instead of affecting our government it is effecting our environment. At the point our government is forced to act on sustainability with control, it will become like the government of Brave New World. Although, if we take more free actions now we could prevent this sudden change.
    Another idea that Huxley references is the effect of campaigns on politicians and government. We tend to think that the people control the government but just like in Brave New World we don't. This is because politicians are put into their positions by rich companies that wish to influence the decisions of a politician by giving them campaign money(lobbying). Huxley realized in this time that around after Nixon this would happen and it did and has been increasing every year.
    I agree with Huxley in that the biggest factor of becoming a society like Brave New World, is how we use our technology. Huxley argues that it will be used in the wrong way. He says this because the passion for power is always fueled with the newest technology. He was right in some ways. Propaganda and advertisements flood the internet and television, but do not yet have a full grasp. Technology is the biggest factor in "brain washing".
    I believe that Huxley thought the world would become either like the controlled utopia of "Brave New World" or a free utopia like his other book "Island". Although, whether or not Huxley knew, we have chose neither and gone down an even darker path where instead of fixing our problems we just let them sit. As of now we pollute and destroy ourselves and one day it may be to late to recover whether it is in a controlled or free way.

  3. Aldous Huxley said that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship and that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner. 57 years later, we are now living in his "Brave New World". He claims that there is a number of impersonal forces that are lessening our freedom, including a variety of technological devices that anyone can use to accelerate this process.
    The population of the world is rising so rapidly that the pressing on existing resources is leading to less and less freedom. Overpopulation distributed in underdeveloped countries has decreased and continues to decrease the standard of living, thus forcing the government to take more control. The economic position of these countries is left insecure and unpredictable. These patterns are pushing towards a totalitarian regime.
    With the growing rate of technological advancements, the world strives to keep up by overorganization. Things become more elaborate and complicated. Because of these hierarchical systems, people live as subordinates to bureaucracy.
    Methods of communication, such as propaganda, diminish our freedom. People find themselves doing things that they never would've imagined doing. Television may seem harmless but it is used to distract people from corruption and control. Technology and advertisements can be used well or it can be misused to appeal to a man's subconscious and make him believe that he's happy with his lack of control. People aren't making rational and intelligent choices anymore; the crave for power is consuming mankind. This world of a new regime is happening now and is dangerously threatening the individual freedom of a productive society.

  4. A Brave New World is an extreme. Huxley is however correct in saying that we aren't far from it. There are more parallels between A Brave New World and today's society than most people would care to admit. From drugs, to social classes, to control of the many by the few; today's society is not far from the totalitarian utopia of A Brave New World.

    There are at least 80 drug commercials on television every hour of every day. American society is bombarded with pharmaceutical related advertisements developing societal dependencies on drugs. You have a headache? Take a pill. You can't get it up? Take a pill. You can't sleep? Take a pill. Feeling down? Take a pill. Runny nose? Take a pill. While all these reasons may be medical, and all these pills and drugs are different for each symptom, there is still the reliance on them for comfort just like the society of A Brave New World's reliance on soma. In A Brave New World, people use soma to cure all their ailments. While A Brave New World may use one futuristic drug and America uses endless other drugs there is still a strong connection between A Brave New World and today's society around the basis of drug usage.

    In America today, the probability of a child born into the poorest quintile has around a 10% chance (depending on where he or she lives) of becoming part of the top quintile. While this is still 10% higher than the probability of an Epsilon becoming an Alpha in A Brave New World (0%), it shows a great parallel between A Brave New World and society today. Low social class mobility leads to strict castes correlating to the type of employment, housing, and education much like in A Brave New World, with Epsilons correlating to the poor and Alphas correlating to the rich. A Brave New World also demonstrates the population to wealth ratio we have in today's society with the top 1% controlling more wealth than the bottom 90% put together. There are very few rich people and a massive amount of poor. Much like the small amount of Alphas versus the enormous amounts of Epsilons.

    While today's society may not be as extreme as the society in A Brave New World, America defiantly had a lot of parallels to the totalitarian utopian society of Huxley's vision.

  5. Drugs chemically alter the inner workings of the brain by magnifying or inhibiting each electrical impulse between neurons. This is what creates vivid hallucinations, soothing disconnects from reality, or death. Soma itself recreates this idea, with a compound, that can eliminate all that is human. He/she disconnects from all that is real and has no worries or obligations to society. A Brave New World is the next step in evolution where people are nothing more than a mere unit. The lack of feeling is what makes for a cold world. Surely we are not in the Brave New World just yet, but like Aldous Huxley said, "It's right around the corner." Now we don't need a chemical to relieve us of our duties in the real world, a phone or computer does just the same. As I type "LOL" to a seemingly funny joke, I am straight-faced. I see the death of an influential individual and don't flinch. I mindlessly watch Netflix hours on end. Many see starving children in third-world countries and don't bat an eye. The touch that used to be human is now gone. It isn't the social classes that makes a Brave New World so scary and real, it is what is under our thumbs that makes it so unprecedented and truthful. We are the Brave New World.

  6. As we progress further and further with our divulge into a technology based era, it swings us into the route of becoming a Brave New World. Every day we work closer to becoming a sense of his foreseen New World. Technology is at the point where it is basically brainwashing its users to keep using them and getting the “newer and better model” instead of going out and seeing the real world, but instead be trapped in our own little virtual worlds. Huxley goes on to state that instruments of technology, in his case the television, are being misused. Overpopulation is becoming a big factor in this world, and as Huxley states, the government has to take control over the rising of the population because as we further indulge into the rapid increase of people, the standards for one to live are just depleting as well. It is not just affecting the people, but the environment itself too. We, as a human race, are slowly coming to the point where we are the Brave New World.

  7. We are living in the Brave New World.
    Huxley points out that there are two things that are leading us to have less and less freedom, overpopulation and organization. This is even truer now than back then. In some countries, there are more people than resources can sustain so the people are suffering. As the overseer of the country, a leader must step in to come up with some sort of plan to aid the people to help them survive. This is partially what can bring the nation to a brave new world. If people aren't able to fend for themselves and have to depend on others for basic needs, they are easily controlled by the hand that feeds them. Also Huxley warns about organization, and that as we get more organized, my interpretation is, we become robotic. Robots know where everything is and everything has a place. If we become so organized and society becomes so organized and the government becomes so organized, we are more like a machine than a specie.
    My last little thought is about technology and our dependence on it. A couple days ago, my brother was talking about a blind-spot mirror detector in a car commercial. If you go to switch lanes and didn't check if it was clear or not, the car will alert you of the hidden car. He said that you start to not even worry about looking to see if a car is there because you know the car will sense it. This brought me to the idea that as technology progresses, it seems to be taking away from us just as much as it is giving. Technology allows us more time in the day to do things, but it also takes tasks that used to be a brain workout away. Through technology we use our brain less. This may have been what Huxley was talking about with each creation bringing us closer to less freedom and maybe ultimately brainless.

  8. Aldous couldn't have hit the nail on the head any better than he did in this interview. The points he stated were for the most part relatable to the modern era we are living in. Huxley starts off with saying that we are being opposed by a conglomerate of forces , and that there is no single person in charge of this "Brave New World" we are living in. He then goes on to name two of these forces: overpopulation and overorganization. Never before in history has the number of human beings been greater than it is now. Coupled with the increasing pace of technological advancement and ease of access to information , the number of, for lack of a better word, stupid individuals has also risen. Huxley then goes on to point out the use of propoganda to subconsciously sway an idividual to think one way or another. He compares the tactics Hitler used on the German people to make them believe that they were on the right side of the spectrum per se, and to blindly follow him. Huxley makes a connection to the amount of propoganda that is streamed through our television sets and radios, and how it bypasses the rational thought processes of humans. We aren't really thinking about the world around us, Huxley boldly declares, we are just living in it.

  9. We are not in a Brave New World. Yet, we are accelerating towards that direction. Today, technology has such a heavy influence in society that we as the community are starting to lose our senses. Right now, there are more than 3 billion internet users in the world. Big corporations and advertising agencies take advantage of this by bombarding us with endless amounts of commercials. We are slowly being trained by these big organizations to love their products and to keep buying them without much thought. The individual sense of human beings are being diminished, as this new norm is blindly accepted by society. The force of over-organization as Huxley calls it, is in fact resulting in more corporations to exert more influence on individuals by seemingly limiting our choices to buy certain brands.

    Even though the Brave New World can be seen "just around the corner", many people still have consciousness of this movement. We are not completely brainwashed by society, or controlled by a single dictator. We still have morals of what is right and wrong, and the power to make our own choices based on the analysis of our surroundings. Thought the flame may be going strong, it is slowly diminishing into the darker world of Brave New World. People are being educated to counteract this, but not enough. Too many people are falling into the traps of corporate influence. We are buying and doing whatever "trusted" brands tell us to do without giving it a second thought.

  10. Our society is in a way living in the Brave New World. The idea of mass production is all too familiar. Costco attracts a myriad of customers from everyday denizens to small business owners as the cheap, abundant quantities of a variety of products are not only convenient, but also financially more affordable in the long run. Huxley also claims that "impersonable forces" are pushing in the direction of less freedoms most visibly, overpopulation. For example, because of the "baby boom," there are currently more older people residing in the United States. Overtime, it is predicted that the social security act will have to be reformed as there would be more money being taken out to give to the elderly, over the money coming from the younger generation through taxes. Lastly, Huxley predicted the overwhelming power of technological advancements.
    Today, technology serves a very important role in our lives as society revolves around it's function. A common goal that our society shares is constantly advancing to becoming a "better" community. Aldous Huxley made several predictions of the future about limited freedoms and am overpowering dictatorship. The communist element is not shown in politics today but socially may be true with the ethical and social issue of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is becoming more popular and it manipulates different species to produce the "fittest."

  11. First of all, I don't know what about him that really irritated me, but it did. Maybe because it was that I didn't agree with him on many of the topics he touched on. Maybe, it was how he touched on the topics that bothered me, too. To me he seemed too overconfident in his responses. Okay, well there's that. I do not believe that we are living in the brave new world that Huxley predicted. I might be influenced by how much I was irked by the man.
    He spoke about enemies of freedom being two things: overpopulation and over-organization. I did not like the claim he made about the Catholics being against abortion to help the Communists. I don't think that overpopulation is so much of an enemy to freedom. I am not in favor of killing people off or not letting them be born. I understand that supply is not going to meet demand at one point or another, but I 'd hope that people will figure out how to help one another.
    The over-organization part I can see where he's coming from since he is in the fifties (?) and historically a lot of bad people were coming into power along with the end of the Second World War. He was experiencing these things first hand and had a good reason to believe that sometime the propaganda and dictatorship will take over so much that there's no turning back. He did say that it won't be a "who," but a "what." That being technological advancements.
    I would hope that the general population could be responsible enough with the technology that we're being brought up with. The idea of potential misuse was very accurate, I do agree with that. Maybe being someone who is more conscious about it, I like to believe that it won't turn out badly. I don't exactly think that the devices are going to grow legs and terrorize us, so I'm not too clear on the start of whatever harm occurs. Unfortunately I have noticed in my lifetime the dependency we have on technology.
    We are not living in the brave new world that Huxley was speaking about in his interview or the book, but there are glimpses and signs that what he was saying had validity. He still bothers me.