Thursday, January 22, 2009

Brave New World

Did you have to read Aldous Huxley in high school? I had to read 'Brave New World'. It was disturbing and not well covered by my not so great Junior year English teacher. Over the last 20 years, I have thought about all those babies in jars being acclimatized to future lives in mines or deserts. The ultimate in social engineering. Combined with '1984' and 'Animal Farm', Huxley and Orwell provided me with a distrust of technology, authority, ignorance and fear of the hell that is created when those things combine.

So here we are, and maybe there really is a brave, new world that we have come to that I don't have to distrust and worry over. Yes, there is much that points to us being in the proverbial hand basket. There is a whole blog of examples I could wrote about that (although I think 'No Impact Man' does that quite well enough.) but from my perspective, there is so much out there that points to the flowering of a society that 'gets it'. There are so many people who are questioning technology, authority and ignorance to make small but profound changes in their lives- growing their own food, choosing neighborhood public schools, listening to music from other countries (never under estimate the power of that, it is where rock and roll came from and the Beatles changed the world), riding bikes to get to work, writing blogs ....

Most importantly, voting for leaders based on the content of their characters, and not the colour of their skins (or shape of their genitalia, for that matter). The world is on the cusp of something, and those who fear it the most are the ones who fight the hardest to stop it (what else could explain the Middle East?). We are racing forward at a sickening pace, I call it accelerated evolution, but sometimes it feels more like the sickness that came from too much spinning as a child (I am going to throw up! Let's do it again!). That feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you the roller coaster is about to start the 5G descent that you would stop if given the chance but really want to do through with. The edges are starting to blur, and the wind is starting to howl in our ears- do we shut our eyes and pray for deliverance or do we throw our hands in the air and hope the camera catches us screaming with joy at the scariest part?

Do we close our fists or hold them open in welcome to this brave, new world?


Robert Anderson said...

Adrienne, I could also recommend Eugene (Evgeny) Zamiatin's "We" as another good example of the "dystopian novel". It's right up there with Orwell.

As for where we are.. hm. As a society, we're all over the f**king map. There are good things (some very good) going on, and a lot of bad things.

Most of our worst problems stem from the fact that, largely as a result of watered-down science in our public educational system, we've lost much critical thinking ability, and respect for both the Socratic and Scientific Methods.

Keep riding your bike. And visit a Practical Cyclist....


Kat said...

I might add watered-down arts and music education as well. cuts to public education closing a school in my area, but that's another story

really wonderful writing, Adrienne, thank you!

Adrienne Johnson said...

Thank you, Kat! It is lovely to have you here again.

It will be interesting to see the next few years. The shake up that is occuring world wide will bring out all kinds of people from all ends of the spectrum. Not all of those people will be out for the greater good, or any good at all. How will we deal with them as our own individual patience and logic start to be more and more challenged by the economy and a world that is changing at a speed beyond understanding?

I wonder if I will come out of this a better person, or if I will eventually succumb to irrational hatred or lethargy fostered by the knowledge that all of it is beyond my control? I like to think no, but everyone has their breaking point, and collectively that point is much lower than individually.

Look out people, I am waxing philosophic!

Anonymous said...

A lot of people in the early 20th century felt that humanity was entering a new age, accelerated evolution etc. In some ways they were right, but 100 years later the planet is scattered with their failed utopias.

Evolution is a natural process that cannot be hurried. It seems that due to climate change and peak oil and financial crises there are some 'apocalyptic' events due though, I don't expect any change never mind improvement, in human nature.

Adrienne Johnson said...

'Human nature' is a very large thing. Improvement.... I think I hope for balance vs betterment.