Are We Amusing Ourselves to Death or Just Being Told We Are?

In: Social Issues

Submitted By iloveme
Words 2232
Pages 9
After the year 1984 passed the world breathed a sigh of relief that Orwell’s prophecy of oppression by government or a “big brother” did not come true. In 1985 Neil Postman published Amusing Ourselves to Death in which he describes a takeover of a passive society using Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World as the prophecy. Postman describes imminent death by comparing Orwellian fears to those of Huxley’s:
“We had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing…What Orwell feared were those who ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy…In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World they are controlled by inflicting pleasure” (vii).

With entertainment and technology surrounding the population everyday is it possible the world is passively floating along, unaware of a hostile takeover that is anything but hostile? It could be considered important to point out the definition of technology according to John Street: “What determines status as ‘technology’ is the deliberate and conscious use by human agents” (8). Information could be considered either an inescapable captivity or a road to…...

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