You’ve probably heard of the book “1984”, even if you haven’t read it. Same with “Brave New World”. You probably had to (or were supposed to…) read one (or both) in high school. Maybe you went the Coles Notes route…
In any event, the two books are similar in that they talk about a dystopian future.
In the 1984 version, the future is an ugly place because the government controls everything, right down to reading your thoughts. Books are banned, free speech is banned, and society is captive to those that control it and “create” the truth, which they then jam down everyone’s throats.
In the Brave New World version, the world is a prettier place, and there’s no need for any of that because the world is happy in its ignorance. There is no need to ban books if nobody ever wants to read one. People are happy to be spoon-fed whatever keeps them happy, and do whatever they like to keep themselves entertained… hedonistically documenting their selfies, their incredible lives, their tasty food… while the world crumbles around them.
OK, that last sentence was a little retro-fitted to relate to the present, because as visionary as Aldous Huxley was when he wrote it, he probably couldn’t have conceived of that specific example.
I used to think this was very much a “1984” sort of world. After 9/11, even more so. Government over-reach is nothing new in times of crisis… the issue is getting some of those compromised freedoms back in due course. Twenty years later, the U.S. is still dealing with Homeland Security and TSA and so on. But it seems we’re pretty complacent when allowing the government to impose things on us “temporarily” because, well… it’s temporary, and it’s… well, whatever.
You know what else is temporary? Income tax… here in Canada, it came into existence in 1917 to fund The Great War for a couple of years. To quote Sir Thomas White, the Minister of Finance at the time, “I have placed no time limit upon this measure… a year or two after the war is over, the measure should be reviewed.” Yeah, if you could let us know how that review is going… that would be great.
You know what else is temporary? The power lines that run all the way up and down Boundary St… also put there just during WWII. An eyesore to be sure, but don’t worry – they’ll be gone soon.
This list goes on, and it’s why whenever the government goes for a grab, be weary on getting it back. It’s not so easy.
But that’s not what this is about… because as “1984” as it appeared the world may be heading, it’s entirely shifted course, especially when the temporarily-imposed government directives are killing people.
We’ve very-much been heading in a “Brave New World” direction. Big Brother is watching, and nobody seems to care. Ostensibly through concerns of security, a lot of personal freedoms are gone… but nobody cares enough to change things back. The hedonistic MeMeMe attitudes of people basing decisions purely on short-sighted self-interest have led us to a place of complacency… which works well-enough when times are good, but falters quickly, abruptly and, as we’re now seeing, tragically… when things go downhill.
Brutal to see that as opposite as those two dystopias are, we’ve managed to acquire parts of both of them. But it’s also interesting to see that when people finally start realizing that the great leaders above don’t have their best interests at heart… well, that’s when real change starts happening.
As usual, I’ll close this out by repeating my endless mantra: How lucky we are to be here. As bad as you might imagine things are here (and they’re not, far from it), they’re far worse elsewhere.
Imagine if Dr. Henry suggested one thing, but John Horgan ignored it and made up whatever he wanted… which was also contrary to the wishes of the local mayors… and in the midst of that arguing, Trudeau would parachute in a useless, contradictory directive. And throw into that mix… all local hospitals filled to capacity, and case numbers growing exponentially.
Yes, around here, it could be a lot worse. Let’s just keep doing what we’ve been doing, shall we?
Relevant to note… one final thing: Aldous Huxley also said… “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Wise words… that unfortunately go unheard by those who need to hear them the most.