Guest Post: Are You Loving Your Servitude Yet?

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Are You Loving Your Servitude Yet?

Aldous Huxley imagined a world in which the Status Quo satisfies its lust for power by "suggesting people into loving their servitude."

Yesterday I discussed the Convergence of Marx, Orwell and Kafka as a means of understanding the global crisis. It's not just financial fraud on a vast scale, or debt or leverage or derivatives or a hundred other arcane mechanisms of parasitic predation; it's the partnership of a mindlessly expansive Central State with Monopoly Capital and the media machine that serves them.

I considered including Aldous Huxley in the convergence, as he too anticipated the essential nature of modern life. But perhaps his insights are more complementary than convergent, for he understood the media and State's capacity to not only present a deranged and destructive Status Quo as "normal" but to persuade the serfs to embrace it.

Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to “love their servitude” via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion.

He outlined this in a letter to George Orwell:

"My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World.


Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."

As prescient as he was, Huxley could not have foreseen the power of electronic media hypnosis/addiction as a conditioning mechanism for passivity and self-absorption. We are only beginning to understand the immense addictive/conditioning powers of 24/7 social and "news" media. What would we say about a drug that caused people to forego sex to check their Facebook page? What would we say about a drug that caused young men to stay glued to a computer for 40+ hours straight, an obsession so acute that some actually die? We would declare that drug to be far too powerful and dangerous to be widely available, yet the Web is now ubiquitous.

Servitude comes in many gradations and forms. Relying on the Federal Reserve to constantly prop up our pension and mutual funds lest reality cause them to collapse is a form of servitude; we end up worshipping the Fed's every word and act as mendicants worship their financial saviors.

That the Fed is unelected and impervious to democracy or the will of the people is forgotten; all that matters is that we love our servitude to it.

I have discussed the atomizing nature of social media and the way it conditions self-absorption in 800 Million Channels of Me (February 21, 2011), and the way that the consumerist ethos generates insecurity, alienation and social defeat. The only "cure" for social defeat is to love the servitude of consumption, convenience and the resulting debt-serfdom: The Last Refuge of Wall Street: Marketing To Increasingly Insolvent Consumers (December 12, 2011).

I have covered these topics in depth in my books Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change and Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation.

The Central State has the power via welfare (individual and corporate) and bailouts to buy complicity. Since the human mind rebels against hypocrisy and insincerity--we can all spot a phony--we subconsciously persuade ourselves of the rightness and inevitability of servitude and self-absorption.

And that is how we come to love our servitude; we persuade ourselves to believe it's acceptable and normal rather than deranged and destructive.

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Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:20 | 2653524 mrktwtch2
mrktwtch2's picture

when do they invent soma for the masses?? (if you havent read the book brave new was the drug that the populace was allowed to use)

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:24 | 2653541 EnglishMajor
EnglishMajor's picture

They have.  It's called "debt".

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:32 | 2653574 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

They have.  It's called 'debt' with a TV chaser.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:39 | 2653602 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



Ya gotta serve somebody.


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:40 | 2653608 Mark Carney
Mark Carney's picture

-" you didn't make love to your wife....someone else did that for you.  Those kids of yours, you didn't build those, they were made with the help of your neighbours"

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:58 | 2653675 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

Yeah! And can you believe what this moron said? Skip to the 1:45 mark for the good stuff.

Some of you are just too gullible. Let me guess. Libertarians again? Why is it always you?

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:29 | 2653775 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

Of course other people help you achieve great or small things, that's not the point.  The point is, Obama wants to make a fetish out of your inability to do anything without others, so that when you are successful, he can tax the crap out of you -because it isn't really YOUR success/money/achievement; it belongs to the state, the people (as marxists are fond of saying).  


If Obama is right, then I guess I really didn't have to do anything to become a neurosurgeon/truck driver, etc. -I could have just stayed in bed and collected my check.  

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:39 | 2653808 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

Romney said exactly the same thing, but that's okay? No, you want to find fault with Obama no matter how hard you have to contort yoursef to do it, and you hope it convinces others to think the same way you do, that's all.

It's just like his health care plan, ths scourge of the nation, except when a conservative think tank dreamed it up, it was wonderful.

Anyone who is truly successful, if he's honest, will admit that luck and other people's help made a big difference.

Even your hypothetical surgeon, who was taught by someone else, in a school built by someone else, and works in a hospital built by someone else, supported by staff educated at someone else's expense.

Hey, did you see the Romney ad in response to what Obama said, featuring that guy who objected as he and his kid built their business with ther own two hands? As it turns out, it was their hands, and an $800,000 loan from...the government!

Like I said, you people are just too gullible. But fun as shit to dump on!

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:52 | 2653845 pods
pods's picture

Step outside the false left-right paradigm for a moment there bob.  I know it is scary, but you can get used to it.


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:58 | 2653860 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

More of that horseshit from you again?

There's no left/right paradigm, with every Supreme Court decision split along party lines? With every vote in Congress split along party, and left/right lines? Fox noise and MSNBC and the people who watch one or the other?

Very large political donors, millionaires and billionaires, giving loads to either party, along left/right thinking? I wonder what you know and understand that none of the above does?

Give it up already.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 18:40 | 2654921 trichotil
trichotil's picture

one of my kids does resemble the fedex guy.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:40 | 2653611 Mark Carney
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-" you didn't make love to your wife....someone else did that for you.  Those kids of yours, you didn't build those, they were made with the help of your neighbours"

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:12 | 2653627 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



And then if U could make love 2 her twice in a row it was called a honeymoon.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:45 | 2653626 mr_T
mr_T's picture

He forgot to mention the excessive use of pharmaceutical happy pills, the equivalent to SOMA in our society.

We have turned into a society of sheep grazing on the pasture of mass media LCD devices...

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:09 | 2653661 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



Net's really nothing more than brain viagra.  See a psychiatrist after 4 hrs of hard thought.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 23:15 | 2655483 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Thinking is HARD work, which is why so few engage in it. :>(

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 14:45 | 2654007 AcidRastaHead
AcidRastaHead's picture

Coupled with iProducts.  iPhone 5 should be renamed iServitude.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:35 | 2653585 escargot
escargot's picture

Think pharmaceuticals in general; anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-confront your own emotions, etc....


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:25 | 2653538 Tippoo Sultan
Tippoo Sultan's picture

"Delicious Soma" has been synthesized into a virtual state, whilst retaining its potency: "American Idol;" "Dancing With the Stars;" "The View," et al.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:24 | 2653539 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

I just love it when they increase my chocolate ration from 30 grams to 20 grams!!  Thats so nice of them!!!

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:17 | 2653734 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Are you tired of getting only zero point five percent returns?  Come on down to Fast Timmy's Treasury and you can get zero point TWENTY-FIVE percent returns!

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:26 | 2653546 Wjunk
Wjunk's picture many here at ZH are likewise glued to the screen, refresh, refresh, refresh...heh.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:34 | 2653581 Itch
Itch's picture

I just come for the junk.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:40 | 2653612 pods
pods's picture

A very salient point.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:04 | 2653615 The Big Ching-aso
The Big Ching-aso's picture



That's because most t.v., newspaper, & radio sucks.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:22 | 2653745 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Well... this is one of the last bastions of hope in getting more truthful news and analysis of wtf is going on in the world. If not for ZH and a couple of other sites, I might as well be living under a rock. I don't mind living under a rock, but it would break my heart a millionfold if I was to find out the truth after all is said and done and I didn't have a moment's time to prepare for anything, physically or psychologically.

So yeah, I'll take the refresh option for now, because the discourse on the threads here is invaluable. When the web is long gone and inaccessible, I won't miss it one bit. I will, however, be glad that I spent a bunch of my valuable time learning about what is to come.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 14:14 | 2653905 1100-TACTICAL-12
1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

Just came in for dinner thought i'd check ZH to see what's up. Now back to canning green beans & tomatoes.So kindly  fuck off Wjunk :)

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:28 | 2653555 Lost Wages
Lost Wages's picture

I just had the sudden realization that I should log out and stop reading this crap.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:29 | 2653558 libertus
libertus's picture

Soma is TV,prozac, computer games, corn syrup, porn, motocycles, sex with young hotties, movies, fashion, radio, the sports culture and all the bullshit things that the sheeple love to spend their time on rather than improving themselves or their familes culture, economic circumstances or humanity as a whole.

Brave New World is not a book, it is a reality that I live in everyday of my life. Nice post and right on the money. 

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:07 | 2653705 juangrande
juangrande's picture

The self is the problem. All of those things are designed to engage the self ( the egoic mind ). Self improvement is just masturbation. Self dissolution is the key. Learn to be still and observe is all that is required.

The technology is new, but the game is the same as it ever was. Distract, distract, distract. The common denominator is we are still easily distracted.
Distracted so we can not realize the lies we tell ourselves.

I gave you a thumbs up, because I get what yur saying. I just think the problem is deeper than what most want to admit.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:19 | 2653739 blunderdog
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As the real master pointed out long before Jeebus was even a twinkle in God's eye:

Life is suffering, then you die.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:27 | 2653771 juangrande
juangrande's picture

Pain is intrinsic to life. Suffering is optional....suffering comes from not totally accepting what is....another egoic mind trick! In my experience/opinion.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:25 | 2653760 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Agree with you Juangrand, very Buddhist flavor to your post. It takes a great amount of discipline and mindfulness to negotiate the world today though it can be done even with the incredible noise of this modern life. I practise daily meditation and yoga just to try and keep some of the world at bay and I still struggle not to be hooked in. Of course here I am typing this on my iPad!

Be still and know that I am.


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:31 | 2653782 juangrande
juangrande's picture

Yep, we're still on the wheel aren't we!

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:09 | 2653712 GlomarHabu
GlomarHabu's picture

I instituted a NO TV policy for 2012 and have stuck to it. So far my IQ has increase significantly,my health has improved, and I haven't subjected myself to the mind pablum it is ..... get out and enjoy life. Life isn't 5-6 hours of TV a day.

Libertus you're (wait for it) THE MAN.

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 05:48 | 2655709 Adahy
Adahy's picture

Isn't it nice?  But be careful, you tend to become incresingly frustrated with those who flock to the telescreen every waking moment to be told what to think; you know, "watch their program".  Gotta' remember to keep that in check and turn that frustration into pity.  At least, that's what works for me.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:39 | 2653568 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

It is impossible for our fake system to end in anything other than starvation and scarcity.  When the government and its cronies set prices via interventions, buisnesses and farms close.  It is that simple.  It is just like the Law of The Maximum.  You don't have to kill the beast.  Just stock up and watch it die by itself.  The US was given an expiration date the day that the Fed was created.  Nixon's ponzi scheme, that the government spends every iota of energy and wealth it has to sustain, just set the date in stone. 

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:33 | 2653577 Itch
Itch's picture

I got 99 problems but servitude aint one...

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:34 | 2653583 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Bradbury nailed it better in Farenheit 451, in my opinion, because it wasn't exactly a government-run operation. "The cousins" were probably Viacom or somesuch.

We're a lot closer to a state/corporate merger than a simple government control-system.  You can't really blame the State for the fact that many people WANT to be pacified with meaningless drivel.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:17 | 2653733 RichardENixon
RichardENixon's picture

Everyone should read Farenheit 451 before it's burned.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 18:41 | 2654926 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

"You can't really blame the State for the fact that many people WANT to be pacified with meaningless drivel."

I'm afraid you're right.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:35 | 2653587 surf0766
surf0766's picture

Well we know why johnnie isn't going anywhere..

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:36 | 2653592 pods
pods's picture

Self slavery is the in thing now.  Everyone advocates it.

"Women who shop to win shop at Kohl's."

I shit you not, that is their new tagline for radio ads.

We will never learn.


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 19:11 | 2654951 trichotil
trichotil's picture

I thought this was their new slogan:


"Kohl's Staples Dick's"


Actually it's the same thing when you think about it.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:37 | 2653596 LMAOLORI
LMAOLORI's picture


The left wants Socialism for the poor the right for corporations.


Until we get to a point where everyone agree's SOCIALISM is bad irregardless of whether it's for the Corporations or the People things will stay the way they are.


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:45 | 2653605 Mercury
Mercury's picture

What would we say about a drug that caused people to forego sex to check their Facebook page?

Like Richard Pryor says: you know you have a drug problem when you have the [slang for female genitalia] here and you have the drugs over here and you say: "Just a minute baby..."

What would we say about a drug that caused young men to stay glued to a computer for 40+ hours straight, an obsession so acute that some actually die?

Love you guys but hopefully we'll all live in a world some day where we won't have to read Zero Hedge!

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:39 | 2653607 Martin Silenus
Martin Silenus's picture

Just re-read BNW and the final conversation between Mustapha and John was so topical it's scary.  John (the Savage) was right: "I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin."  Great novel.

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 13:00 | 2653646 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."

After single payer healthcare is the law of the land the government will be in a position to pathologize and "treat" all kinds of behavior it deems "unhealthy" or likely to drive up future medical costs.  Outlawing 16.9oz. sodas is just the beginning.

Ritalin is basically Huxley's Soma and is prescribed for formally "normal" childhood behavior.

Update:  Holy crap! Soma is Soma

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:42 | 2653621 AlamoJack
AlamoJack's picture

It's hilarious that "SOMA" is actually the brand name of an often prescribed MUSCLE RELAXER medication.  Try it the next time you strain yourself and you won't give a GeitnerDAMN about anything.  It's the "LEARNED HELPLESSNESS" that is driving people to depression.  Check this out:


Thu, 07/26/2012 - 12:45 | 2653628 VonManstein
VonManstein's picture

it was Bertrand Russell who talked of loving servitude.

Ref : Impact of science on society By Bertrand Russell

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