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Full Version: Goethe: None Are More Helplessly Enslaved Than Those Who Believe They Are Free
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These words were written by Goethe nearly 200 years ago, but are perhaps more relevant in our time than they were in his.  For many people assume we live in a free society simply because the West has not morphed into a dystopian hell like the one depicted in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Tyranny, most people believe, would be overt in nature, it would be obvious, and all would recognize it. But is this really the case? Or could we be living in a society analogous to the one depicted by Aldous Huxley in his dystopian novel Brave New World. Could it be that technology, drugs, pornography, and other pleasurable diversions have created a citizenry too distracted to notice the chains which bind them?
When Brave New World was first published in 1931 Huxley did not consider the dystopian world he depicted to be an imminent threat. Thirty years later however, following the Second World War, the spread of totalitarianism, and the great strides made in science and technology, Huxley changed his opinion and in a speech given in 1961, he put forth the following warning:
“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.” (Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961)
In the future, according to Huxley, ruling classes would learn that control of a populace could be achieved not only with the explicit use of force, but also with the more covert method of drowning the masses in an endless supply of pleasurable diversions.
“In 1984”, Huxley explains, “the lust for power is satisfied by inflicting pain; in Brave New World, by inflicting a hardly less humiliating pleasure.” (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited)
How, one may ask, can pleasure be used to deprive people of their freedom? To answer this question, we must discuss operant conditioning, which is a method of modifying an organism’s behavior.
In the 20th century, the Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner performed a famous set of experiments in which he tested different methods of introducing new behaviours in rats. These experiments brought to light how “the powers that be” can condition humans to love their servitude. In one set of experiments, Skinner attempted to cultivate new behaviours via positive reinforcement; he provided the rat with food anytime it performed the desirable behavior. In another set of experiments, he attempted to weaken or eliminate certain behaviours via punishment; he triggered a painful stimulus when the rat performed the behavior Skinner wished to eliminate.
Skinner discovered that punishment temporarily put an end to undesirable behaviours, but it did not remove the animal’s motivation to engage in such behaviors in the future. “Punished behavior”, writes Skinner, “is likely to reappear after the punitive consequences are withdrawn.” (B.F. Skinner, About Behaviorism) Behaviors that were conditioned via positive reinforcement, on the other hand, were more enduring and led to long-term changes in the animal’s behavioural patterns.
Huxley was familiar with Skinner’s experiments and understood their socio-political ramifications. In Brave New World and his subsequent works, Huxley predicted the emergence of a “controlling oligarchy” (Huxley) who would conduct similar experiments on human beings to condition docility and minimize the potential for civil unrest. Skinner, like Huxley, also understood the social implications of his experiments, but he believed, contrary to Huxley, that operant conditioning could be used by social engineers for the greater good, leading to the development of a scientifically managed utopia. The following passage from Skinner’s book Walden Two, however, reveals that such mass-conditioning would in reality make possible a pernicious form of tyranny – one in which the masses would be enslaved, yet feel themselves to be free.
“Now that we know how positive reinforcement works, and why negative doesn’t, we can be more deliberate and hence more successful, in our cultural design. We can achieve a sort of control under which the controlled…nevertheless feel free. They are doing what they want to do, not what they are forced to do. That’s the source of the tremendous power of positive reinforcement—there’s no restraint and no revolt. By a careful design, we control not the final behavior, but the inclination to behave—the motives, the desires, the wishes. The curious thing is that in that case the question of freedom never arises.” (B.F. Skinner, Walden Two)
In Brave New World, the main “reward” used to condition subservience via positive reinforcement was a super-drug called Soma. “The World Controllers”, writes Huxley, “encouraged the systematic drugging of their own citizens for the benefit of the state.” (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) Soma was ingested daily by the citizens of Brave New World as it offered what Huxley called a “holiday from reality” (Aldous Huxley). Depending on the dosage, it stimulated feelings of euphoria, pleasant hallucinations, or acted as a powerful sleep-aid. It also served to heighten suggestibility, thus increasing the effectiveness of the propaganda which the citizens were continuously subjected to.
“In Brave New World the soma habit was not a private vice; it was a political institution…” writes Huxley. “The daily Soma ration was an insurance against personal maladjustment, social unrest and the spread of subversive ideas. Religion, Karl Marx declared, is the opium of the people. In the Brave New World this situation was reversed. Opium, or rather Soma, was the people’s religion.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited)
But the World Controllers of Brave New World did not rely on Soma alone. Sexual promiscuity was promoted by the State as another tactic to ensure everyone enjoyed their servitude. The slogan “Everyone belongs to everyone else” was drilled into the minds of the citizens from a young age, and with the institutions of monogamy and the family abolished, everyone was able to indulge their sexual impulses without hindrance. The constant access to sexual gratification served to help ensure the citizens were too distracted to pay attention to the reality of their situation.
State-sanctioned entertainment also played an important role in creating the “painless concentration camp” of Brave New World. What Huxley called “non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature” were used by the state as instruments of policy to drown the minds of its citizens in a “sea of irrelevance”.
The parallels which exist between Brave New World and societies of the modern day are undeniable. In Brave New World Revisited, published in 1958, Huxley asked himself how future social engineers could convince their subjects to take drugs “that will make them think, feel, and behave in the ways [they] find desirable.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) He concluded: “In all probability it will be enough merely to make the pills available.”(Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited) Today, an estimated one in six Americans are on some form of psychotropic drug. An opioid crisis has spread across the West. The ability to gratify sexual impulses online has led many into the clutches of pornography addiction; and smart phones and other technologies provide mindless and pleasurable distractions which consume the attention of most people, most of the day.  To what extent these diversions are intentionally pushed upon us and to what extent they are spontaneous responses to consumer demand, is unclear. But whatever the answer, the reality is that a distracted and dumbed down population simply lacks the mental resources to resist their enslavement.


Plot Overview
The novel opens in the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre, where the Director of the Hatchery and one of his assistants, Henry Foster, are giving a tour to a group of boys. The boys learn about the Bokanovsky and Podsnap Processes that allow the Hatchery to produce thousands of nearly identical human embryos. During the gestation period the embryos travel in bottles along a conveyor belt through a factorylike building, and are conditioned to belong to one of five castes: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon. The Alpha embryos are destined to become the leaders and thinkers of the World State. Each of the succeeding castes is conditioned to be slightly less physically and intellectually impressive. The Epsilons, stunted and stupefied by oxygen deprivation and chemical treatments, are destined to perform menial labor. Lenina Crowne, an employee at the factory, describes to the boys how she vaccinates embryos destined for tropical climates.

The Director then leads the boys to the Nursery, where they observe a group of Delta infants being reprogrammed to dislike books and flowers. The Director explains that this conditioning helps to make Deltas docile and eager consumers. He then tells the boys about the “hypnopaedic” (sleep-teaching) methods used to teach children the morals of the World State. In a room where older children are napping, a whispering voice is heard repeating a lesson in “Elementary Class Consciousness.”
Outside, the Director shows the boys hundreds of naked children engaged in sexual play and games like “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.” Mustapha Mond, one of the ten World Controllers, introduces himself to the boys and begins to explain the history of the World State, focusing on the State’s successful efforts to remove strong emotions, desires, and human relationships from society. Meanwhile, inside the Hatchery, Lenina chats in the bathroom with Fanny Crowne about her relationship with Henry Foster. Fanny chides Lenina for going out with Henry almost exclusively for four months, and Lenina admits she is attracted to the strange, somewhat funny-looking Bernard Marx. In another part of the Hatchery, Bernard is enraged when he overhears a conversation between Henry and the Assistant Predestinator about “having” Lenina.

After work, Lenina tells Bernard that she would be happy to accompany him on the trip to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico to which he had invited her. Bernard, overjoyed but embarrassed, flies a helicopter to meet a friend of his, Helmholtz Watson. He and Helmholtz discuss their dissatisfaction with the World State. Bernard is primarily disgruntled because he is too small and weak for his caste; Helmholtz is unhappy because he is too intelligent for his job writing hypnopaedic phrases. In the next few days, Bernard asks his superior, the Director, for permission to visit the Reservation. The Director launches into a story about a visit to the Reservation he had made with a woman twenty years earlier. During a storm, he tells Bernard, the woman was lost and never recovered. Finally, he gives Bernard the permit, and Bernard and Lenina depart for the Reservation, where they get another permit from the Warden. Before heading into the Reservation, Bernard calls Helmholtz and learns that the Director has grown weary of what he sees as Bernard’s difficult and unsocial behavior and is planning to exile Bernard to Iceland when he returns. Bernard is angry and distraught, but decides to head into the Reservation anyway.

On the Reservation, Lenina and Bernard are shocked to see its aged and ill residents; no one in the World State has visible signs of aging. They witness a religious ritual in which a young man is whipped, and find it abhorrent. After the ritual they meet John, a fair-skinned young man who is isolated from the rest of the village. John tells Bernard about his childhood as the son of a woman named Linda who was rescued by the villagers some twenty years ago. Bernard realizes that Linda is almost certainly the woman mentioned by the Director. Talking to John, he learns that Linda was ostracized because of her willingness to sleep with all the men in the village, and that as a result John was raised in isolation from the rest of the village. John explains that he learned to read using a book called The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo and The Complete Works of Shakespeare, the latter given to Linda by one of her lovers, Popé. John tells Bernard that he is eager to see the “Other Place”—the “brave new world” that his mother has told him so much about. Bernard invites him to return to the World State with him. John agrees but insists that Linda be allowed to come as well.
While Lenina, disgusted with the Reservation, takes enough soma to knock her out for eighteen hours, Bernard flies to Santa Fe where he calls Mustapha Mond and receives permission to bring John and Linda back to the World State. Meanwhile, John breaks into the house where Lenina is lying intoxicated and unconscious, and barely suppresses his desire to touch her. Bernard, Lenina, John, and Linda fly to the World State, where the Director is waiting to exile Bernard in front of his Alpha coworkers. But Bernard turns the tables by introducing John and Linda. The shame of being a “father”—the very word makes the onlookers laugh nervously—causes the Director to resign, leaving Bernard free to remain in London.


I find it interesting how this book written in 1931 suits the times.  -Sivil
If the slave cuffs are invisible and do not chafe, the menial workers do not fight them. Then, when it does becomes uncomfortable, there is mere bewilderment about the dissatisfaction with their lives, and not revolt. Instead, pleasure seeking behavior increases.

- my own analysis.

I used to make, sell, and wear large leather cuff bracelets when I was still working, as a physical reminder to GET MY ASS OUT OF THERE!
☯ * Challenging The Old Order And Paradigm:
Dare I overstep what shouldn't be said and say that there is a division amongst the Order and within their ranks? Some see a need for change, while still others prefer the old paradigm of rule by forced control and power. However, the new guard is challenging the old guard.

Here's why: A happy slave will always produce much more than an unhappy slave simply because they have no idea that they are a slave in the first place! ~ cm
Compliance will be rewarded.
I am free for I say that I am. Any man that say otherwise shall meet my boot and the barrel of a gun.

Freedom is a born right for all men and women. All races and all religions. Though there may be those who say otherwise your freedom can never be taken unless you allow it to be taken.
This reminds me of antifa........
(06-22-2019, 09:59 PM)Thedudeabides Wrote: [ -> ]I am free for I say that I am. Any man that say otherwise shall meet my boot and the barrel of a gun.

Freedom is a born right for all men and women. All races and all religions. Though there may be those who say otherwise your freedom can never be taken unless you allow it to be taken.

Hey, Dude, miss your presence here and even on facebook.

Are you going dark or are you in hiding or both?!?! Chuckle
There are going to be enormous changes for mankind, but ...

almost assuredly, we'll all be dead by the time they occur.


You fill in the rest.
(06-23-2019, 08:19 AM)Treebeard Wrote: [ -> ]almost assuredly, we'll all be dead by the time they occur.

Not so Friend @Treebeard !

We are about to Witness the Most Spectacular!

Hang On !

It Will Be Glorious!

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