The Soft Restraints of Ignorance
Aldous Huxley Would Be Proud
By Kelley B. Vlahos
December 14, 2010 "Antiwar" -- Today, Julian Assange sits in a British jail while the United States government reportedly readies to indict him on charges of espionage. His story has taken a dramatic turn not unlike the rebels and revolutionaries of our literary canon, and in fact, he is imprisoned today in the native land of one of the greatest – Aldous Huxley.
British novelist Aldous Huxley was a social critic and futurist, who is best known for penning Brave New World, which, aside from being a nearly 80-year-old science fiction masterpiece, is both an allegory and prophecy for 21st Century western society.
Huxley’s finger was on the pulse of human freedom, and he warned us over 50 years ago that it was fading fast. In 1958, he predicted that when concentrated in the hands of the “Power Elite,” rapidly evolving “mass communication” like television would be a critical tool of social and political conformity. Technology is only the medium, and it is “neither good nor bad,” Huxley wrote, but when in the wrong hands it can be “among the most powerful weapons in the dictator’s armory.” Propaganda, the suppression of the truth, particularly in democratic societies, Huxley argued, would bring upon an age of human enslavement, where instead of yokes and chains, people in celebrated “free” societies like America would be bound by the soft restraints of ignorance, incuriousness, distraction and irrationality.
Check out the interview with Mike Wallace and Aldous Huxley back in 1958. What we see today is classic Huxley and the part about technological advance can be seen in painful detail in my blog on the book, The Matrix Deciphered.
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