Franklin Veaux (tacit) wrote,
Franklin Veaux
tacit

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Quote of the Day: 1984

You were so busy worrying about 1984 you didn't notice you were living Brave New World.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

--Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

Though I must say it isn't necessarily either/or. We have created a culture that has spawned both an unprecedented attack on civil liberties from on high, particularly under the last administration, along with a reactionary anti-intellectualism that openly scorns the quest for knowledge, giving us the worst of both.
Tags: credulity, quotes
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