Both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley wrote dystopian books in the first half of the 20th century. Orwell’s 1984 envisioned a totalitarian government, suppressing free speech and enforcing control from the top down. Huxley’s Brave New World showed us a world where people choose unending pleasure that keeps them in check. You can find lots of articles that compare their two visions for the future (one here).
For my money, at least in the United States, Huxley got it more right. Orwell has made a come back lately, apparently sales of 1984 skyrocketed after the last election. But if we’re ripe for a dominant government, its because we’ve been lulled to sleep by all our comforts. Overall, all that aside, Brave New World is a brilliant and chilling book.
I especially love the exchange near the end between the Savage and Mustapha Mond:
“But all the same,” insisted the Savage, “it is natural to believe in God when you’re alone – quite alone, in the night, thinking about death…”
“But people are never alone now,” said Mustapha Mond, “We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that is almost impossible for them ever to have it.”
Is it possible to silence the cacophony of our phones, Netflix, Youtube, television, laptops and everything else? Yes, Huxley was on to something about the future.