2014: A Brave New Dystopian "1984" World

Tyler Durden's picture

While many have pointed out that the Middle-East/Far-East are drifting to a more "Orwellian" world and the West is a more "Huxleyan" environ, the merger of the two dystopias is seemingly growing each day. As The Guardian previously noted, Huxley's dystopia is a totalitarian society, ruled by a supposedly benevolent dictatorship whose subjects have been programmed to enjoy their subjugation through conditioning and the use of a narcotic drug - the rulers of Brave New World have solved the problem of making people love their servitude. On the Orwellian front, we are doing rather well – as the revelations of Edward Snowden have recently underlined. We have constructed an architecture of state surveillance that would make Orwell gasp.

The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free.

Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privileges.



We discussed this a year ago but it seems an opportune time - with the world's brainwashing and control accelerating - to revisit the two


Decades ago they saw it all coming...

As The Guardian so appropriately summed up,

Huxley's dystopia is a totalitarian society, ruled by a supposedly benevolent dictatorship whose subjects have been programmed to enjoy their subjugation through conditioning and the use of a narcotic drug – soma – that is less damaging and more pleasurable than any narcotic known to us. The rulers of Brave New World have solved the problem of making people love their servitude.


Which brings us back to the two Etonian bookends of our future. On the Orwellian front, we are doing rather well – as the revelations of Edward Snowden have recently underlined. We have constructed an architecture of state surveillance that would make Orwell gasp. And indeed for a long time, for those of us who worry about such things, it was the internet's capability to facilitate such comprehensive surveillance that attracted most attention.


In the process, however, we forgot about Huxley's intuition. We failed to notice that our runaway infatuation with the sleek toys produced by the likes of Apple and Samsung – allied to our apparently insatiable appetite for Facebook, Google and other companies that provide us with "free" services in exchange for the intimate details of our daily lives – might well turn out to be as powerful a narcotic as soma was for the inhabitants of Brave New World. So even as we remember CS Lewis, let us spare a thought for the writer who perceived the future in which we would come to love our digital servitude.

And Chris Hedges' infamous comparison of the two frightening visions of the future...

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.


We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 




The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”


The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”


Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.




The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.




The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.




“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

Watching Aldous Huxley describe the world we have now a stunning 60 years ago is horrific...

h/t Kirk

Though, in our view, Emmet Scott summed up the present in relation to Huxley and Orwell's prophecies best:

The most striking parallel of course is that both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather than democratic and free. Neither presumably believed their vision of the future to be inevitable, though it is equally clear that each saw aspects of mid-twentieth century life which clearly pointed in the totalitarian direction. Thus 1984 and Brave New World may be seen as warnings against what might be if the trends identified by the two authors persisted. What these trends were and why the authors saw them leading towards totalitarianism is an important question and one that will be addressed presently.


The totalitarian states described by Orwell and Huxley differed in most details, though there were also many correspondences. Both Big Brother’s world and the Brave New World are ruled by authoritarian elites of a basically socialist/communist nature, whose only real purpose is the maintenance of their own power and privileges.

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tony bonn's picture

the reason huxley and orwell knew 60-70 years ago what was coming is not because they were good clairvoyants but because they were connected to the groups planning the take over. anyone who is not a conspiracy theorist is a stupid fuck.

Anusocracy's picture

"both men foresaw the future as totalitarian rather the democratic and free."

We have democratic and totalitarian.

In spite of all the talk, freedom is just a concept in the modern world.

cossack55's picture

Are they any better than the H G Wells version?  Hmmmmm

Abi Normal's picture

It is a combination of the two worlds my friends, that they both knew it, was to be somewhat in on it...simple really.

As to the conclusion, that has yet to be written, has it not?  Anyone can guess, and say this or that is the truth, and absolutley believe it, yet it is a lie.

Soothsayers, politicians and bankers, one thing is true, if their lips are moving, they are lying!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it people, we have all been duped, Edward Bernaise (Sp?), was a geniius, it is still alive and well too!

Molon Labe!

Pool Shark's picture



By consistently fearing Orwell's vision, the West has unwittingly fallen into Huxley's dystopia:



Skateboarder's picture

SO MUCH.... so much better than the article's picture.

Skateboarder's picture

Geddaddahere! That's not yer real shemail. ;-)

svayambhu108's picture

North Korea (Orwell) and South Korea(Huxley)

StandardDeviant's picture

Definitely -- though the Neil Postman-based picture is clearly pre-Snowden, arguing for Huxley's future.

I love the line in the original article's picture,though, about "Time.com, the reputable news site..."  Time is for children.

A Nanny Moose's picture

We've become both. The latter is merely Bread and Circuses, distracting us the fact that we have become the former. We stand in line to buy, and walk around with the latest revision to the perfect surveillance device, in our pockets. There is no more clear example to demonstrate the lack of any dichotomy whatsoever.

weburke's picture

the EU treaty, the lisbon treaty, refers to people as SUBJECTS. not citizens. not a typo.

Offthebeach's picture

.......hat under this historical process, “law is replaced by administrative decree, federalism is replaced by executive autocracy, and a limited government replaced by an unlimited state.”[4] It acts in the name of abstract goals, such as equality or positive rights, and uses its claim of moral superiority, power of taxation and wealth redistribution to keep itself in power.


holdbuysell's picture

The sheople scored and got the best of both worlds.

SafelyGraze's picture

my bracket is doing pretty well 

I had both wisconsin (NYSE:WISC) and michigan (NYSE:MICH) moving forward to the next round

am currently leading my pool

admittedly though, I didn't project oculus (NYSE:OVTZ) advancing

TheReplacement's picture

Freedom has only ever been a concept.  It cannot be given.  It cannot be measured.  You have to take the concept and live by it.  Nobody is going to do it for you.

Deist's picture

Correct, true freedom isn't buying 100 pairs of shoes or owning a bunch of houses, it's controlling your own mind, thinking for yourself and being independent

Freddie's picture

I would bet 75% of the ZH posters still watch TV and pay for the corporate TV crap like idiots.   I bet the percentage on other web sites like Huff Po and Free Republic is even higher.  Stupid f**king sheep.

Huxley was right.

cifo's picture

watch TV

don't watch TV

Let's test that.

cossack55's picture

Whats TV. Anything like tuberculosis?

Pool Shark's picture



No cable or broadcast TV in my home for the last 11 years and counting...


ConfederateH's picture

I don't watch tv but I love snarfing things like breaking bad...

chumbawamba's picture



Freddie's picture


I was one of the votes.  I went to small party at a relatives house a few nights ago.  The subject came up and someone mentioned that I do not watch TV and the TV's were disconnected years ago.  People could not fathom why.  TV is like drugs for drug addicts.  The elites are not scared because they know they can control us with TV and they spew their lies on the net too.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

+1 on the thread

 I took one step further: dont't listen to radio and quit reading corporate newspapers/websites about a year ago. Nowadays, everytime I try reading a newspaper (usually during breaks at work) I'm literally LMAO at the utter crap that's been printed on the poor dead tree.

No real informations, just an endless blabber about trivialities, colorful commercial ads and eventually some propaganda 2-liners about world happenings, which I've usually read and digested at least 3 or 4 days ago.

Cap Matifou's picture

Newspaper: last week's news written the day before yesterday and printed yesterday.

Freddie's picture

Newspapers are a joke.  It is like the movie The Matrix where once you stop listening to radio crap and stop newspapers that you laugh and almost weep because of the crap and mind control.  The only decent papers in English were UK Daily Telegraph, they are crap now.  So that just leave Investors Business Daily but the non financial stuff is thin and they are not that great but the rest are a joke.

401K of Dooom's picture

You forgot to mention that most of the articles are from the Associated Press, Reuters or UPI.  None of the major chain papers have any bureaus or reporters in the hotspots around the world.  Even the major dailies do not have the resources they once had.  Seems that the executives at the papers need more money to maintain their life styles than they used to.  Stinking J************!!!!!!!!

Deist's picture

Samuel Clemens said " if you don't read the paper your uninformed, if you read the paper your misinformed" I couldn't agree more

StandardDeviant's picture

He probably wrote "you're"; but it's a great line, anyway.

Harbanger's picture

He who runs the information, runs the show...
Joseph Goebbels

It's more about not watching the broadcast channels/networks which TPTB control and use for disinformation. 
You can now have a Television that's connected to the internet.  This is the information age, what we do with it is up to us, I see an opportunity for awakening and revival.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

"Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards."  -  Aldous Huxley


Damn, I love that quote 'cause it's so true.

Harbanger's picture

I don't know.  I've always held that information/technology is a double edged sword.  Information is a very powerful tool which can cause fundamental change.  That's why controlling information has always been the goal of sociopaths.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

I agree with you on the importance of information; it's neither good nor bad per se, but it's powerful.

Technology, on the contrary, is the sword of Damocles hanging above humanity's collective head. I don't argue that it should be observed through the glasses of duality (yin-yang, like everything else), but in general technology has made us generally lazy/non-agile and got us to lose touch with our natural surroundings. Something we are reminded of every time we experience power/water cuts. Not to speak about technology's dumbing-down potential, something TPTB are definitely taking advantage of.

Pool Shark's picture



TPTB don't need to censor anything, all they need to do is drown-out the important information by broadcasting vast piles of innanities and,... oh, look,... something shiny...


Offthebeach's picture

You Budy, are talk'n to get a Homeland Security talkn to with your anti public value conditioning resistance? Do you have any idea of what would happen with out mass desrraction? Do you? People, lots of people would get hurt. People night get ideas, crazy individual ideas. Just think if people, Amerken people bailed on being consumers like feedlot cattle quit eating. Chaos. World. Economic. Collapse. War. Hundreds of millions dead. Is that what you want, Larry? See what happens Larry?

Be good, get with the team, be a loyal Ameriken. But a TV. Come back to your family, your state. Be free, watch TV.


CrashisOptimistic's picture

Haven't had it on since I rented a film from redbox.  And the time before that same reason.

Months between rentals.

PacOps's picture

Haven't owned a TV since '66. Rarely listen to the car radio and if I do, it goes off at the first commercial!

RafterManFMJ's picture

Cannot stand commercial radio; hell they even TELL you they are going to force feed you ****.

And switch stations - but wait! They ALL are also on a commercial. How the fuck is that even possible?

So I called XM 2 weeks ago and negotiated the cheapest package I couldn't for their music package. Dave with the oddest accent hooked me up at about 8.00 per month for a year.

Must say I am enjoying it.

Svendblaaskaeg's picture

TV in house

No TV in house

Let's test that for real

RafterManFMJ's picture

--Have cable and/or over the air box
--Don't have either

Let's see a real poll.

Skateboarder's picture

I like programming silicon - not the other way around. ;-)

TheReplacement's picture

I hate paying for TV but there is a certain person in the house who just doesn't believe.  I get the eye roll if I try to convince her.  Life is hard like that sometimes.

drendebe10's picture

If mama aint happy, nobody happy.

mc225's picture

you don't watch continuum with rachel nichols and lexa doig?