Discussion of Brave New World

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Discussion of Brave New World

Post Number:#1  Postby Scott » March 22nd, 2010, 3:07 pm

Please use this thread to discuss the February book of the month Brave New World by by Aldous Huxley. Please do not read this thread unless you have read the book because this thread will contain spoilers.

What do you think of the book? What philosophical questions does it raise? Did reading it change your philosophical beliefs or thoughts? If so, which ones and how?
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Discussion of Brave New World



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Where is The Thread?

Post Number:#2  Postby RonPrice » March 23rd, 2010, 7:47 pm

Where is The Thread?....Perhaps this is the first response....if so...here it is...Ron in Australia
--------------------------
I fit my comment on this book into a prose-poem I wrote.
-----------------------------------
FAKE

Orsen Wells faked an invasion by Martians in a radio drama anthology series entitled Mercury Theatre on the Air. The episode The War of the Worlds was aired on October 30, 1938 over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network to an estimated audience of 30 million. The first Bahá'í teaching Plan had just begun in North America. Fake news made its debut on TV in 1962 with That Was the Week That Was--a weekly comedy review. This review included a fake news segment and was anchored by David Frost who went on to host The Frost Report in 1966/67 which parodied a current events show. I began my pioneer-travelling life in the Canadian Bahá'í community in 1962 and, by 1967, I was living among the Inuit on Baffin Island which had no TV at that time.

In 1968 Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In became a weekly series which also featured a fake news segment usually anchored by Dick Martin. The fake news was introduced by a song that began: “What’s the news across the nation? / We have got the information / In a way we hope will amuse you.” By the time the program went off the air in 1973 I had become an international pioneer, teaching high school and living in South Australia.

Although Laugh-In went off the air in 1973, it took a mere two years for another weekly-sketch comedy to hit the screen: Saturday Night Live which debuted on 11 October 1975 just ten weeks before my second marriage. Both that program and my second marriage have been going for the last thirty-five years. -Ron Price with thanks to Ana Kothe, “When Fake Is More Real: Of Fools, Parody, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Americana: Journal of Popular American Culture, Volume 6, No.2, Fall, 2007.

Can things like this which
we spend so much time on
be so very unimportant???

Is this entertainment permeation,
this spurious gratification, part of
our disillusionment over the lack
of a definition of culture and moral
solutions......this preference for fun
over edification........and part of the
very complexity of issues we face,
part of a new public discourse of
amusing ourselves to our death!(1)

Had we forgotten that alongside-of
Orwell's dark 1984 vision there was
another, slightly older, slightly less
well-known equally chilling vision:
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.(2)


A different kind of Big Brother was
required to deprive people of their
autonomy, maturity and their history.
Huxley saw people as coming to love,
not even aware of oppression and adore
a technology that simply undoes their
capacities to think. He feared we would
be reduced to passivity & drown in seas
of utter triviality and total irrelevance!!!

(1) Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, 1985.
(2) Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932.

Ron Price
11/2/’10
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on: 24/3/10
married for 46 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 14, and a Baha'i for 54(in 2013)
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Post Number:#3  Postby Stirling » June 15th, 2010, 12:59 am

The most important part of the book is the last few chapters. Mond, the Savage, Bernard and Helmholtz have an argument over the moralities of the distopia they've had the privilege to live in. Eventually Bernard and Helmholtz leave, and in haste by Bernard's worry that he may be taken out of their little distopia to Iceland, an island where freethinkers are allowed to live, and where they don't cause trouble on the mainlands.

On the American continent, a leper land, and a resort holding all of those natives, the "Savages" (may we extol Huxley's early 20th century word choice) - those who have refused to live in the distopic fantasy world where everyone looks as generically perfect as possible, and they look like disgusting, animalistic demons (though there is no real religion in this society).

In the North American continent, Bernard and his girlfriend - through some odd mishap - meet a young savage boy, who they later call Mr. Savage. As it would turn out, the boy is the son of high official's ex who in a previous expedition to the continent was left there to fend for herself because of the unwanted pregnancy.

Bernard brought the child back, along with the deserted mother, to hold them as evidence that the official - who had earlier threatened to send him to Iceland, a much-hated place for those who don't know what it really is - committed a crime, and would hopefully have him fired before he was sent away.

The mother got sick and was sent to a health institution to die. Young Mr. Savage went out to find her. When he got there, he found her in a bed where she was being left to die - in all her savageness. He became infuriated and tried to start riots against the state for the mindset they had put their people in (read the first few chapters).

Eventually all of the main figures still living were sent to see one Mustapha Mund, a Controller for the region, one who keeps things in order, on the path of the distopic intention. Mustapha Mund offers arguments for why the world is the way it is. The ultimate intention of the state, he would propose, is to make sure that everyone is happy. They regulate just the correct number of hours to work each day, and who works where and why, and why only certain things can be let out into the culture. The Savage offers his argument for the Right to Unhappiness. The savage leaves to wander about the countryside in search of his... whatever.

And in the end of the book, the Savage hangs himself. He felt contaminated by the unending sight of peacefulness, of sheer gaiety, amongst the rolling hills of Britten where he roamed, and the people who lived there; he detested the utter and complete control of life, the lack of struggle; he felt so sickened by this progressed settlement in human history – he of course living in the old ways to begin with – that he had to make his own struggle, an unnecessary struggle, an artificial struggle, by which he could work and give an “individual” meaning to his life, whatever that might be. He lived hence to break away from what is wholly civilized – the naturally social etiquette of nature, that is, the natural progression of those fully conscious subjects in nature – to his own self-indulgent, self-admonished, lifeless and greedy existence which has no purpose in accordance of the structure of civilization as such, of the new humanity. He was inhumane in his practices hence.

Mr. Savage accepted the notion that he had a right to all the pleasures and pains capable of a creature; he, in his irrational masque, held that it is better to suffer the old romanticisms of human development than to take in with a deep breath that there is no need for struggle when the modern capabilities of man negate them (let us have sympahty for the devil). The savage killed himself because he couldn’t handle his own angst; as a matter of fact, he reveled over it – he created it. Savage couldn’t have imagined – what in his lack of imagination, he could hardly see the difference from a mountain and the things that grew upon it – a nobler ending than death; he admired such tragedies and dramas. He read Shakespeare (who is banned in the distopia), that old philosopher, and found in him the right to kill himself, because that is what the great nobles of old did.

He, in the end, held that it is a right of man to stay as primitive as he may want, notwithstanding the fact that he was indeed primitive, as that was his inheritance. Nevertheless, as a primitive man, he found it his duty, and right aforesaid, to stay old, to stay wrinkled and broken, and to, in the end, justify such actions as to diminish the joyous capacities of the modern age.

It can only be thought that if there were more like him, indeed enough to hold a majority to alter the rule of civilization in such ways as to hold onto the old ways, or resolve back to them – from what frustration as there are none in the manufactured way of life hitherto – destruction would henceforth be inevitable; they would destroy themselves in the search for the superfluous struggle by which they could all place “meanings” to their respective lives. What an abomination to lead with such pitiful intentions! Indeed, what an embarrassing belief to live for! However, the civilization, dystopia as it is, continued in its gleeful yet factory-like setting: everybody stayed happy; everybody stayed in decent health; they were all sexually satisfied – every human need was met, and this thanks to the ability to overcome the standing of all “high-art” which came before: to overcome unnecessary, unproductive, destructive, emotions; to overcome the smoldering of irrational living – which the Savage loved, or rather, was confused by.

There is nothing more important than happiness; that sentiment reaches to the heart of every human. It is on their minds from the birth of childhood friendships to the discovery of their romances, through the process of becoming and the satisfaction of a self-imposed purpose – from a great overture to yet a final repose. But this again has such little significance if it has no part in the sustaining of the civilization that birthed them in such “perfect” ways, or offers them such things that they may live in good health and stay as happy as can be possible. Man needs to get over its subjected nausea. But – laugh at it sorrowfully – may we renounce our humanity; that is, renounce our human greatness: our stupidity, our rigidity, our sarcasm, our great embarrassment – in the process.
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Post Number:#4  Postby whitetrshsoldier » June 16th, 2010, 4:59 pm

Funny. I always thought it was a satire of Communism/Collectivism !!!


The Controller, Ch. 16 wrote:It's curious," he went on after a little pause, "to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress. They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered. Still, in spite of everything, unrestricted scientific research was still permitted. People still went on talking about truth and beauty as though they were the sovereign goods. Right up to the time of the Nine Years' War. That made them change their tune all right. What's the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you? That was when science first began to be controlled–after the Nine Years' War. People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We've gone on controlling ever since. It hasn't been very good for truth, of course. But it's been very good for happiness. One can't have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You're paying for it, Mr. Watson–paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too"


I think Mr. Huxley was pointing out here that people, in their ignorant futility as a collective [as opposed to as individuals], would sacrifice the things they knew they truly wanted [such as truth] for contentment.

"Ignorance is bliss", the saying goes. And Mr. Huxley imagined that, if the masses were to usurp the individual's rights, they would choose ignorance solely in order to find some bliss.
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Post Number:#5  Postby Stirling » June 16th, 2010, 5:41 pm

“But value dwells not in particular will,” said the Savage. “It holds his estimate and dignity as well wherein ‘tis precious of itself as in the prizer.”

“Come, come,” protested Mustapha Mond, “that’s going rather far, isn’t it?”

“If you allowed yourself to think of God, you wouldn’t allow yourself to be degraded by pleasant vices. You’d have a reason for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage. I’ve seen it with the Indians.”

“I’m sure you have,” said Mustapha Mond. “But then we aren’t Indians. There isn’t any need for a civilized man to bear anything that’s seriously unpleasant. And as for doing things – Ford forbid that he should get the idea into his head. It would upset the whole social order if men started doing things on their own.”

“What about self-denial, then? If you had a God, you’d have a reason for self-denial.”

“But industrial civilization is only possible when there’s no self-denial. Self-indulgence up to the very limits imposed by hygiene and economics. Otherwise the wheels stop turning.”

“You’d have reason for chastity!” said the Savage, blushing a little as he spoke the words.

“But chastity means passion, chastity means neurasthenia. And passion and neurasthenia means instability. And instability means the end of civilization. You can’t have a lasting civilization without plenty of pleasant vices.”

“But God’s the reason for everything noble and fine and heroic. If you had a God…”

“My dear young friend,” said Mustapha Mond, “civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. Where there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended – there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren’t any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving any one too much. There’s no such thing as a divided allegiance; you’re so conditioned that you can’t help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren’t any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gram tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears – that’s what soma is.”

“But the tears are necessary. Don’t you remember what Othello said? ‘If after every tempest came such calms, may the winds blow till they have wakened death.’ There’s a story one of the old Indians used to tell us, about the Girl of Mataski. The young men who wanted to marry her had to do a morning’s hoeing in her garden. It seemed easy; but there were flies and mosquitoes, magic ones. Most of the young men simply couldn’t stand the biting and stinging. But the one that could – he got the girl.”

“Charming! But in civilized countries,” said the Controller, “you can have the girls without hoeing for them; and there aren’t any flies or mosquitoes to sting you. We got rid of them all centuries ago.”

The Savage nodded, frowning. “You got rid of them. Yes, that’s just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ‘tis better in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them… But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s
too easy.”…

“What you need,” the Savage went on, “is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here.”…

“Exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Isn’t there something in that?” he asked, looking up at Mustapha Mond. “Quite apart from God – though of course God would be a reason for it. Isn’t there something in living dangerously?”

“There’s a great deal in it,” the Controller replied. “Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.”

“What?” questioned the Savage, uncomprehendingly.

“It’s one of the conditions of perfect health. That’s why we’ve made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.”

“V.P.S.?”

“Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It’s the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences.”

“But I like the inconveniences.”

“We don’t,” said the Controller, “We prefer to do things comfortably.”

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.... Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” There was a long silence.

“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.

Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. “You’re welcome,” he said.

---

Well, how would you have it: happiness or truth?
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Post Number:#6  Postby whitetrshsoldier » June 16th, 2010, 7:17 pm

Lenina, Ch. 6 wrote:"Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?"
"I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays."


But is she? Does her happiness not disguise her natural curiosities?

Lenina, Ch. 6 wrote:"I only said it was lovely here because … well, because progress is lovely, isn't it?"


The natural desires and urges are still there. She still seems to wonder subconsciously about the indoctrinated "truth" that she has been forced to see in the world.

But when the questions begin arising and start to bother her, she turns yet again to ignorance ...

Lenina, Ch. 6 wrote:Lenina shook her head. "Was and will make me ill," she quoted, "I take a gramme and only am."


So the world goes by, along with her true understanding, desires, thoughts, and will. But she ignores it yet again, swallowing it away with another gramme .....

Bernard Marx, Ch 6 wrote:"I'd rather be myself. Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly,"


I'm with Bernard.
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Post Number:#7  Postby Stirling » June 18th, 2010, 4:10 am

I'm with Mustapha.

In the typical non-dystopian world, there is war, poverty, an overabundance of illness - people are unhappy. And you would perhaps agree that people would want something better; they would want a happiness apart from the world that has so simply offered diseases and poverties of all kinds. And maybe you would also agree that not everyone is equal; we don't all have the ability to stay healthy on our own, and we don't all have the wont to not kill people.

The ignorance offered allows the general populace to get through their days without having any interest in rebelling against the world - without the interest to want to fight back. And for those select few who begin to see the world as it is; they have the option to continue to live amongst the stable peoples of ignorance, or work in places like Iceland where they can do research - or whatever a profession would suggest in doing - and help the noble humanity as it is: to keep things stable; to advance further in technology - to all-in-all progress huamnity's need to be happy.

Why would anyone want to be something other than happy? To be informed to such lengths that one's frustration becomes detrimental to the rest of society, happy they all are? That's hardly something to leave anyone with a good conscience. And if it does, what a selfish person that would be. Society deserves happiness; if the good right to knowledge is in question, let us offer it to the few who know what to do with it, in good manners, and not to the common pig who would start a war over a facial expression or the greed toward unnecessary things. Give it to those who have been created and trained that the moral right is only in question to good progress.
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Post Number:#8  Postby whitetrshsoldier » June 18th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Stirling wrote:Why would anyone want to be something other than happy? To be informed to such lengths that one's frustration becomes detrimental to the rest of society, happy they all are? That's hardly something to leave anyone with a good conscience. And if it does, what a selfish person that would be. Society deserves happiness; if the good right to knowledge is in question, let us offer it to the few who know what to do with it, in good manners, and not to the common pig who would start a war over a facial expression or the greed toward unnecessary things. Give it to those who have been created and trained that the moral right is only in question to good progress.


I agree that people should have the opportunity to be happy and ignorant if they wish, but beyond that I disagree with you.

What kind of selfishness must one possess to compel the will of an unknowing mass of children who don't yet have faculties that would allow them to chose for themselves? How do you know which they would prefer; which "happiness" they would choose?

And who are you to guarantee me that somebody is so "good" as to know what direction 'social progress' should be driven?

As Huxley pointed out,

Aldous Huxley wrote:Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying.


But even if such a utopia could exist ....

Aldous Huxley wrote:Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

............
Aldous Huxley wrote:Like every other good thing in this world, leisure and culture have to be paid for. Fortunately, however, it is not the leisured and the cultured who have to pay.


Who do you plan on having pay for such a world?
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Post Number:#9  Postby Alun » July 26th, 2010, 12:32 pm

I'm bored, so I'm resurrecting this thread.

I think an underlying issue in Brave New World is what happiness actually means. Happiness should mean fulfillment, not just living in a perpetual state of leisure. People devote themselves to backbreaking, horrible endeavors for the greater good, and knowing that they're accomplishing so much can make them happy despite their hardship, pain, and discomfort.

While I think society should allow for those sorts of people who pursue happiness in mindless, or at least pointless, pleasure, I think there is reason to make oneself into a person who will only be happy when one is really doing something worthwhile.
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Post Number:#10  Postby Belinda » July 28th, 2010, 5:29 am

RonPrice #2

Religions use fun as sweeteners to make people attend to their core values. Always have done so, except perhaps for the really sincere puritans, but they tend not to last as organisations. Remote tribes use drums, myths and dancing and other religious paraphernalia as sweeteners for social control.I don't think that fun is intrinsically evil.

However, I do agree with you and I think that the media are so permeated by the idea of entertainment fun as a good in iteself that many people have lost sight of values, and any need to think about values, and any need to reason and feel about values except vicariously through some facile personality in the media.If public education in reason, feelings and values fails then the barbarians will have won using the seduction of fun as one of their weapons.
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Post Number:#11  Postby Dune » December 14th, 2010, 4:51 pm

I think that Huxley shows fallacies within both ideologies presented within the book. I find the falsity and pretense within the BNW (forgotten names havnt read it for a while) personally quite frightening, who can judge that one end or purpose should serve all, and base the automated running of a society and procreation on that decision? Who is to judge if that end or purpose is correct?

While i do not think much of the savages (cant remember his name, was it John?) position either. While his compassion and appreciation for subtleties and all things emotional is touching, it moves into the opposite extreme of the other position, and highlights the great challenge there is in living life conscientiously.

I think it is all hinged on what we regard as the purpose of life.

One of the dialogues that really stands out for me in the story is in the later parts when we get to see Mond's personal thoughts and judgments in response to a science paper he has been given:

"A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly peice of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose - well, you didnt know what the result might be. In was the sort of idea that might easily recondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes - make them lose their faith in happyness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstances, admissible." (Chapter xii)

Beautiful!
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Re: Discussion of Brave New World

Post Number:#12  Postby RonPrice » March 4th, 2012, 8:44 am

It has been some time since I was at this thread....more thoughts on Brave New World.-Ron---------------------- If I learned anything from the experience of teaching politics it was the essential irrelevance of politics to a great many people in the public domain. Not only is it irrelevant to nearly every student I had: it was plain boring. At best it seemed to play a part in daily chit-chat. The demise of communism in the Soviet Union in the last 25 years I think only foretells the eventual demise of western parliamentary democracy. Sorokin was a sociologist I used to read with some interest. He always took the view both systems were essentially the same. I won’t go into all his arguement because they take too long—and obviously Stalin’s great purges were never duplicated in the west. But the attraction of many intellectuals to the Soviet experiment was partly due to a massive disillusionment with the West and its values. I always liked Huxley’s Brave New World as a partial indictment of our society.. If I had to put the whole exercise of analysing the two systems in a perspective, I might say it would be like a number of prominent citizens in Rome, in say 470 AD, discussing the future of the empire in the West. I really think these discussions are like some kind of patch-up, tinkering with a system while the vast majority watch movies, go fishing and are immensely alienated from politics. The Brave new World is quite apt in its description of our times.

-- Updated Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:46 pm to add the following --

And more:
------------------
SELF-PORTRAITURE AND SANITY?

In a period of history, not dissimilar to our own in terms of conflict and social change, 65 to 8 BC, the life of the poet Horace, the foundation of an institution which claimed a certain divine afflatus was laid. They were years, for Horace, of another Wasteland, another age of another brave new world shot through with strange unrealities. Horace wrote his poetry in an autobiographical mode, in what might be called "the poetics of presence."1 This poetry brings us many Horaces. Personalities are not fixed but are, "in the process of becoming." The self is always provisional, being self-fashioned. Each poem is part of "a construction of the present."-Ron Price with thanks to C. Martindale and D. Hopkins, editors, Horace Made new: Horatian Influences on British Writing From the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century, Cambridge UP, 1993.

There is self-portraiture here, too,
Horace: balding, pot-bellied,
underbred, sycophantic--yes
me too, Horace, me too.

So many me's in this age
of reconstruction, can't be
contained in these received
forms of poetry or any fixed
conception of personal identity.

You missed Him by a hair, Horace.
Would you have come to believe?
I think not. So few did, then--and
now--in a world with a different
nightmare--people miss Him again.

You had a sanity, though, in your work,
a sanity I hope can be found here
in this burgeoning poetic epic.
Out of the turmoil and confusion
of the tempest of your time
you forged a dynamic unity
and a hard, robust clarity.
Me too, Horace? Me, too?

Ron Price
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Re: Discussion of Brave New World

Post Number:#13  Postby Wowbagger » March 7th, 2012, 1:33 pm

I think it's unfortunate how BNW has become sort of a blanket "counterargument" against all kinds of transhumanist proposals, even though it is obvious that one can imagine scenarios without indoctrination / conditioning, a caste system, or without negative effects of soma. (And not to mention that it is a work of fiction, not some philosophical treatise with the aim of ultimately settling a big question.) BNW is a work that's supposed to make you think. Sometimes I feel that it has the opposite effect, people just say "oh gross! that's BNW!" and stop doing any further thinking.
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Re: Discussion of Brave New World

Post Number:#14  Postby RonPrice » March 7th, 2012, 8:28 pm

BNW is a work that's supposed to make you think. Amen.-Ron
married for 46 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 14, and a Baha'i for 54(in 2013)
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Re: Discussion of Brave New World

Post Number:#15  Postby RonPrice » June 18th, 2012, 1:02 am

More on the BNW.-Ron ------------------------------------ FAKE

ONE WORLD CULTURE: BEHOLD AND WONDER


The starting point for the building of one world culture for me is 1953. The world still had some two-thirds of its population in rural neolithic villages. A sacredness of life, a sense of awful limits stood in the way of rape, torture and murder. In the last half century a process that took place between 7000 and 2000 BC has been taking place in front of our eyes in these ancient, archaic communities. “I and mine” has been replacing “we and ours”. -Ron Price with thanks to Lewis Mumford, The Transformations of Man, Harper Torchbooks, NY, 1956.

Was it a wonder of the word that once filled our life while we identified ourselves by: scarification, body painting and tatooism, music and fire as gesture, word and formal acts defined our humanness. New tools shaped our consciousness as fate and artefacts were intertwined, with agriculture and continuity of human settlement in neolithic villages finally disappearing from the planet in front of our very eyes while those sacred inhibitions and sense of awful limits slowly disappeared and I and mine replaced we and ours and proverbial wisdom became out of touch with new realities. Slowly purpose had materialized eventually ending in some purposeless materialism.

And a new community that transcended all ties, that depended on conversion and by meekness and yieldingness imposed constraints on violence. And we found some special, ideal, types: hero, saint, sage and lover with a teeming vitality, an exhilarating inventiveness, a capacity for self-renewal and a richness of life who even now, percolate, drift into our lives often with a humility that lifts our souls and fulfils our highest destiny.

A one world culture, written into our destiny, a collective consciousness, with self-isolating dogmas lessening their theological particularity as world stability becomes equated with a new kind of personal centrality and rootedness, firm, inner, purposeful activity and a political imagination of the highest order.

And on our newest horizons so much has come to fill our lives: cyborgs, androids, robots, automata, artificial intelligence, engineered organisms dramatized, re-worked, re-interpreted in a brave new world of staggering, incredible, fantastic proportions as yet another wave of science comes upon our burgeoning world whose significance no man can probe, whose origin no man perceive: behold and wonder. Ron Price 5 January 1996
married for 46 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 14, and a Baha'i for 54(in 2013)
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