In 1949, George Orwell acquired a curious letter from his former highschool French instructor.
Orwell had simply revealed his groundbreaking guide Nineteen Eighty-4, which acquired glowing opinions from nearly each nook of the English-speaking world. His French instructor, because it occurs, was none aside from Aldous Huxley who taught at Eton for a spell earlier than writing Courageous New World (1931), the opposite nice twentieth century dystopian novel.
Huxley begins off the letter praising the guide, describing it as “profoundly vital.” He continues, “The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-4 is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going past intercourse and denying it.”
Then Huxley switches gears and criticizes the guide, writing, “Whether or not in precise reality the coverage of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely appears uncertain. My very own perception is that the ruling oligarchy will discover much less arduous and wasteful methods of governing and of satisfying its lust for energy, and these methods will resemble these which I described in Courageous New World.” (Hearken to him learn a dramatized model of the guide right here.)
Mainly whereas praising Nineteen Eighty-4, Huxley argues that his model of the longer term was extra more likely to come to cross.
In Huxley’s seemingly dystopic World State, the elite amuse the plenty into submission with a mind-numbing drug referred to as Soma and an countless buffet of informal intercourse. Orwell’s Oceania, alternatively, retains the plenty in verify with worry because of an countless battle and a hyper-competent surveillance state. At first blush, they may seem to be they’re diametrically opposed however, actually, an Orwellian world and a Huxleyan one are merely two completely different modes of oppression.
Clearly we’re nowhere close to both dystopic imaginative and prescient however the energy of each books is that they faucet into our fears of the state. Whereas Huxley may make you look askance at The Bachelor or Fb, Orwell makes you recoil in horror on the authorities throwing round phrases like “enhanced interrogation” and “surgical drone strikes.”
You may learn Huxley’s full letter under.
21 October, 1949
Pricey Mr. Orwell,
It was very form of you to inform your publishers to ship me a replica of your guide. It arrived as I used to be within the midst of a chunk of labor that required a lot studying and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it vital for me to ration my studying, I needed to wait a very long time earlier than with the ability to embark on Nineteen Eighty-4.
Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I needn’t let you know, but as soon as extra, how nice and the way profoundly vital the guide is. Could I converse as an alternative of the factor with which the guide offers — the last word revolution? The primary hints of a philosophy of the last word revolution — the revolution which lies past politics and economics, and which goals at whole subversion of the person’s psychology and physiology — are to be discovered within the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself because the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-4 is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going past intercourse and denying it. Whether or not in precise reality the coverage of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely appears uncertain. My very own perception is that the ruling oligarchy will discover much less arduous and wasteful methods of governing and of satisfying its lust for energy, and these methods will resemble these which I described in Courageous New World. I’ve had event not too long ago to look into the historical past of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been tremendously struck by the best way by which, for 100 and fifty years, the world has refused to take severe cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the remainder.
Partly due to the prevailing materialism and partly due to prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and males of science weren’t prepared to research the odder information of psychology for sensible males, reminiscent of politicians, troopers and policemen, to use within the discipline of presidency. Due to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the appearance of the last word revolution was delayed for 5 – 6 generations. One other fortunate accident was Freud’s incapacity to hypnotize efficiently and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the overall utility of hypnotism to psychiatry for no less than forty years. However now psycho-analysis is being mixed with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made simple and indefinitely extensible by means of using barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even essentially the most recalcitrant topics.
Inside the subsequent era I consider that the world’s rulers will uncover that toddler conditioning and narco-hypnosis are extra environment friendly, as devices of presidency, than golf equipment and prisons, and that the lust for energy might be simply as fully happy by suggesting folks into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In different phrases, I really feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-4 is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having extra resemblance to that which I imagined in Courageous New World. The change shall be caused because of a felt want for elevated effectivity. In the meantime, in fact, there could also be a big scale organic and atomic battle — by which case we will have nightmares of different and scarcely possible varieties.
Thanks as soon as once more for the guide.
Word: An earlier model of this put up appeared on our web site in March, 2015.
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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based author and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and different publications. You may comply with him at @jonccrow. And take a look at his weblog Veeptopus, that includes a number of photos of badgers and much more photos of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads. The Veeptopus retailer is right here.