Among the most insightful books of the current American culture is Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World along with its companion book, Brave New World Revisited, the latter books errors on overpopulation notwithstanding. The former was published in 1932, two years following the Lambeth Conference of 1930.
The Lambeth Conference is an assembly of bishops of the Anglican Church that takes place every ten years. This meeting often results in agreed on statements by resolution on matters of social concern. These statements or resolutions are without legal force but have proven to be very influential in the Anglican Church and on culture.
The 1930 Conference was of particular significance as it was the first time a Christian Church indicated a permissive attitude toward contraceptive use. Included in their resolution expressing sanction to the use of contraception within a marriage were several caveats suggesting abstinence to be a better choice, and was followed by a resolution condemning abortion. Yet, before this Conference, Christian churches universally condemned the use of contraception.
Aldous Huxley, born and raised in England, had parents who were atheists. Huxley, thirty-six years old at the time of the Conference, apparently responded, to the endorsement of contraceptive use within marriage, in his writing of Brave New World. The book recognizes nearly the full human significance of this change in Christian church thinking.
Brave New World begins quickly with the projection of this seemingly minor acceptance and limited acceptance of contraception to its logical consequences of bio-engineering of all human persons in the world’s human population. Each person is conceived in the laboratory and gestated in artificial wombs with efforts to program a child’s thinking with audio recordings of what are called “truths” played to the child throughout the nine months in the womb. The process of brainwashing through such recordings was labelled by Huxley as ‘ Hypnopaedia.’ After birth, the person continues in the bio-engineering center growing from infancy through adolescence while being brainwashed by education, play, sports, and socialization programs.
Later we learn this dystopia operates with a caste system where all parties are given free drugs – known as Soma – to keep people numbed from their personal feelings of reality and instead to revel in an induced satisfaction with life.
An interesting scene to the story is when someone who is resisting drugs for himself starts a small riot when trying to convince others not to take the freely distributed Soma drugs. The dependency the others had on the drug never allowed the others any thought of their resisting it. They were all addicted to the drug.
It is a sad story that Huxley foresees as a logical outcome of accepting contraception, but he expands on his views following World War II in his companion book, Brave New World Revisited. This book was originally published in 1958, and he was interviewed by Mike Wallace of CBS to explain this new book.
Brave New World Revisited gave a framework to explain our culture of 1950 where the control by the state that was described in his earlier work had been erected in the United States. Huxley extracted whole sections from Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kempf to demonstrate how Hitler’s powerful tactics were now employed in the United States.
He described how control in the United States was not exerted by coercion as in the Soviet Union, but rather it was by seduction. The population was to be given the false context of having a nominal number of choices for any situation or circumstance. Within this narrow set of options, one alternative is an obviously better choice than the others. This better choice seduces the masses to choose it over the other given choices, and the featured qualities of the selection are designed to make the masses feel good about themselves in and because of their choice. But choose the Soviet coercion or the United States’ ‘choice by seduction,’ control is the goal.
The false context is the key and is effective when people are overwhelmed with information; they prefer to be given a limited number of choices. People can go into overload and shut down when confronted with Thomas Paine’s counter from his pamphlet, Common Sense, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” This echoes what we read in the Bible’s Psalm 104:30, “Send forth your spirit, they are created and you renew the face of the earth.”
Just A Start With Huxley
There is so much more to write about Huxley and his works, this will be revisited in subsequent blog postings. His life and works will also be referred to in this blog enough, that it is encouraged you read these works, Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited. Each book is short in length, about 150 pages each. The two works are consequential in understanding that the culture war is far more intentional than a mere clash of idea in search of truth.
Peace of Jesus in the womb of Mary be with you.
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