Brave New World: a 1931 and 1958 Coincidence

Brave New World Revisited, 1958

A very cool coincidence is Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931 (same year the National SW-3 was first sold) and Brave New World Revisited was written in 1958, (the year my Collins KWS-1 was sold). The reason that this is important to me is because Huxley was a “channel-er” and “chronicler” of his time. I have read some reviews of Brave New World where they thought Huxley disapproved of this or that and that is why he wrote the book – but what I am learning is that there were technological advances as early as 1929 nuclear fusion and fission were being discussed, to be figured out in detail in the 1930’s. There were so many things changing – in some ways it makes our world today look relatively tame – because while we have technological innovation and innovation in the arts as well – today it could be argued that our problems (i.e. Trumpism and Brexit) are self inflicted local / moronic wounds – where back then the world was in between WWI and WWII – with things building and leading up to WWII – where the entire world would become very volatile and unstable.

In this book, Huxley explains that he is mostly an observer who took in all that was going on at the time:

  1. Great Depression
  2. Population growth
  3. Assembly line process
  4. Fascism, totalitarianism, isolationism, fanaticism and other forms of political control
  5. Rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, Stalin, etc
  6. Personal freedoms as exhibited in various countries – sex being mostly a metaphor for personal freedom
  7. Many technological innovations in many different scientific areas
  8. The institution of marriage – he seemed to be touched by what seemed like a high divorce rate
  9. Stability – politically and socially
  10. Indirectly – religion

To me, Huxley’s main tenet was that man has choices, and that some countries oppressed their people overtly, but others may not have been that much better – it seems the automation and assembly line and working conditions might have come across to Huxley as a corporate control mechanism – he talks about how people who work would work hard and have incentives to work even harder – sort of like “being on a treadmill” or being a “wage slave”. “Our Year of The Ford” instead of “Our Year of The Lord” is telling in many ways.

In fact, he was saying “Beware the industrial-military complex” 20 years before that phrase was coined by Eisenhower. AHA – Googling this pops up exactly the same conclusion I have reached – this is excellent:

America the Brave New World: The United States Is Realizing the Dystopian Nightmares of Our Best Science Fiction

 

I see Huxley as an observer and a philosopher who used a touch of science fiction to describe aspects of many different societies in the world – including what must have been a visit to New Mexico and even to Chimayo and the “penitente’s” – who are a New Mexico (and no doubt other areas) Spanish Christian group who make the march during the Easter time liturgy and where they act out Jesus carrying his cross and later being crucified – and who act out the struggle even to the point where they self flagellate as Jesus suffered the whip on his final march. This was the “Savage” aspect of the story. This aspect of the story seems the most odd to me – but it surely shows that he came to America, toured New Mexico – which would have been a pretty remote place at the time – maybe he was visiting Santa Fe (?). Later he would settle in Los Angeles. Coming from Britain – that must have had a real strong effect on him. I can only imagine that the “New World Order” in Europe was far different than visiting New Mexico at the time – night and day.

What is most attractive to me is that he gives a good idea of what times were like back then. Even though there were lots of challenges in the 30’s – I also think it was one of the best decades in terms of innovation – both in science and in the arts.

These books are great ways to “get inside of someone’s mind” who really studied what was going on as it happened.

 

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