Brave New World

I recently completed Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. Good little book, difficult to get past the first five chapters as there are all sorts of made-up words and it’s all background information helping bring the reader into the world Huxley has imagined… no real plot to the story yet. Once that is out of the way though, main characters emerge and the plot moves quickly. It’s an easy read from there on out. I don’t want give you a review of the whole story. The Internet has that information in spades. I actually just want to share some of the author’s words from a letter he wrote to George Orwell regarding that gentleman’s novel 1984. Huxley saw the future as one where the populace is lulled into submission with overwhelming pleasure where Orwell imagined a draconian police state complete with Thought Police.

“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.”

There is much debate about who is most correct and that’s all well and good. I tend to think our fate lies somewhere in the middle and we can see glimmers of each philosophy today. Orwell saw an omniscient surveillance machine, resemblant of the NSA and its now famous PRISM program. Huxley saw a world of ecstasy-like drugs and ever-present entertainment. Both are proving to be correct.

Anyway. Good book. Give it some consideration if you find yourself looking for a thought-provoking read.

Who Is John Galt?

After months and months of a start-stop relationship with Ayn Rand’s 1,000-page novel Atlas Shrugged, I no longer have to say that I’m reading it. Nay, I have trudged slowly and surely towards its climax and can now state that I have finished it. Though pedantic at times, the story was a good medium for Rand to present her libertarian socio-political ideal of Objectivism to the world despite the significant time and mental faculties required to digest a book as heavy, both in weight and verse, as Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas was published in 1957 to mostly negative reviews. The political right lambasted it for its “godlessness” and the political left attacked it for its apparent celebration of greed. It is claimed that Ayn Rand cried everyday reading the reviews… perhaps because the pinnacle of her life’s work was being treated so poorly, perhaps because she felt it had been largely misunderstood. It’s too bad she couldn’t live to see its popularity soar in recent years. Amidst the charged partisan atmosphere of modern American politics, the book is experiencing a resurgence. Even if wrongly so, a growing number of people identifying themselves as libertarians, like the Tea Partiers and more traditional Republicans, are contributing to an increase in sales, seemingly drawn in by its pro-business, anti-government message, while the more secular political left is attracted to the book’s renunciation of religion and glorification of reason. Funny how that works out, eh? (more…)