Saturday, 4 February 2017

Huxley vs Orwell: Dystopian Truth in Post-truth era

Literature, they say, is mirror reflection of not only the time in which it is written but the time that is hidden in future. Some literary texts are so profound that it takes decades to realize the truth captured by the visionary writers. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1931) and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) are such literary texts. The recent developments in England (BrExit), USA (Donald Trump), France and India (Right Majority coming to power) in 21st century is challenging Globalization. Some see these democratically accepted changes quite critically. But we should not forget that there are backlashes to these challenges also. These backlashes are  signs of more matured form of Democracy. It is this maturity that stands up to question the rise of majoritarianism, religion-ism, region-ism and nationalism.
Neil Postman in the Forward to his book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) compares these two literary texts to conclude that '. . . Huxley and not Orwell, was right'. See below given infographic to understand how Postman believed that Huxley's prophecy seems to be happening thing rather than that of Orwell's.
However, it seems that the prophetic observation made in 1985 by Neil Postman also seems to be limited, if not untrue. There is no possibility of denying the fact that in the year 2017, we are amusing ourselves to stupidity, celebrating dumbness and feeling sensible in nonsense stuff. The kind of lived life shared on social media is living example of it.
Moreover, the Orwellian truth that the Big Brother is watching - under the garb of surveillance and security, grabbed (disguised) control over the subjects seems equally profound. Without inflicting pain, people like docile animals are chained through technology. The power will support the spread of inter'NET' and the hi-bandwidth which, ultimately, will help them to trap and capture citizens and each and every move they make. The Think Police is near than we can ever imagine - and they have a battalion of trolls with them. The trolls do something significant. They instigate. They press the right nerve. They make person express/write/post/tweet something really nasty, really blasphemous, really anti-national. This makes it easy for the Ideological State Apparatus to function smoothly against the voice of dissent.
Huxley and Orwell, together, makes an interesting sense to understand our post-truth era.
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