Brave New World – Aldous Huxley and Eric Bernes – Games People Play

I have talked about George Orwell’s 1984 in a previous blog, it presents us  with a world were people are controlled by fear. Well Huxley’s book talks similarly however instead of being controlled by fear they are controlled by pleasure and distraction.

Brief Overview of “Brave New World”

Babies are born incubated in large jars and given nutrients or having nutrients withheld depending on what was to be their predefinition into adult hood. Once born they are sent to conditioning nurseries were the children are exposed to mind altering procedures, brainwashing techniques some of which are quite barbaric. From there they would then move into their predefined career. Manual labourers tended to be larger, and less intelligent, they had little or no speech. Whereas the higher ranking humans are slighter with keener intelligence. They are also conditioned never mix outside their classes, this was the natural order of things. The natural way of having a child was illegal, in fact people were conditioned to consider the “mother” to be a dangerous, irrational and corruptible thing. Questioning the ways of life was also heavily frowned upon. It was all done in a very civilised manner. It was this “Frowning upon” attitude and the lack of social bond that seemed to gel the ideals in place.

Marriage is a thing of the past, and people are encouraged to have muti-relationships but never ever staying with one person for too long. So forming bonds and relationships is considered immoral. From early childhood this sort of bonding is highly encouraged. Pleasures of the flesh are considered fundamental to wellbeing.

They are expected to live a life of frivolity, doing their specified job (not thinking about them too much) then spending their spare time in orgies, (Orgy Progy, Orgy Porgy) watching the ‘Feelies’, (nonsensical tactile plays), and taking a legal drug when their serenity seems to be slipping or if their lives feel fraction of stress.


My Thoughts

I found the subtlety in the manner of control scarily familiar to our own world today. We seem to be surrounded by distraction, entertainment is everywhere. A lot of it is frivolous, such as (unreal) reality TV shows where we remove ourselves from our humanity and cast votes on others we do not really know or are badly represented (Represented how the media wish) I see tv shows designed to create a “them and us” attitude amongst society. A prime example of this is a show called “Benefit Street”. In a time when the government want to cut welfare substantially isn’t is ironic that shows that seem to demonise poverty and lack of education become primetime viewing.

I see the social bonds being discouraged by the loss of communities as gentrification takes hold. Social media platforms and online gaming are corralling people in their own homes, they are the legal drug of choice. We are becoming less inclined to embrace the natural world despite all the science that suggests we would be healthier and happier in a more natural environment. We become detached from the natural order that was once an integral part of how we lived our lives.  As a result, I would suggest that that is why we do so little to prevent the cataclysm that is climate change. We don’t need to think about such things as there is a cute dancing cat on my smart device that I must share with my “Friends” (using the term friend lightly) so as to receive “Likes” or “Shares”.

Eric Bernes – Games People Play

To coin the phrase “Social Strokes” from Eric Berne’s book “Games People Play” to interpret “Likes”. According to Bernes all humans crave these social strokes, and we will go out of our way to have them. Before it could have been a handshake, a pat on the back , a smile, a hug or acceptance into a group, all positive reinforcements. However, nowadays it is received and given in fake environments. Any attention be it good or bad is attention. The worst punishment is alienation, Bernes also talks about this in his book, that is why solitary confinement is used in prisons and feared most by its inmates. However, we are deep down aware that these ‘Likes’ can be fake and unfulfilling, so we continue to seek more and more and so the dependance and some might conclude addiction continues. All of this is a worrying trend. Are we too distracted, too immersed….too addicted to immersive tech?

I asked my teenagers about why they prefer to stay indoors on their devices, they told me that they want to go out but that there is no one else out there to interact with. This sadly is true, gone are the bicycles strewn about the pavements, the sounds of children playing ball, or just the general chitter chatter is hardly heard even on a sunny day. I miss that sound, it is the sound of my youth. That is why I love when it snows, people can’t go to work, and the snow is such a novelty that we want to play in it. Humans, even as adults have a great desire to play. On a snow day you can hear laughter coming from all the green areas as people interact and play together. I particularly enjoy a fast paced game of snow frisbee.



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