All human beings operate within particular social frameworks. In an explicit
attempt to broaden the understanding of social contexts in the contemporary societies,
people have varying opinions and views on the social fundamentals that take part in
shaping individuals’ lives. Neil Postman, a contemporary social critic, analyzes the
prophesies on the future vision poised by George Orwell and Aldous Huxley in their
novels “1984” and “Brave New World” respectively. His basic assertion is that the
Huxley’s vision has more relevance in the today’s world compared to Orwell’s. Although
that is debatable, the Huxley’s views present a reflection of the today’s society.
Orwell argues that in the future people will be engulfed by the oppression from
external sources. However, that is not the case in the present society. The widespread
literacy and information access has increased human interconnection making it difficult
for oppression to thrive. This is in support for the Huxley’s argument that the future
generation will love oppression rather than hating it. He adds that people will love
technologies to an extent that their individual thinking capacities will be narrowed. This
is true as the present man relies on technology so much that even simple tasks that
require less thinking are viewed as nightmares. For instance, the introduction of
scientific calculators in schools has greatly affected the mental development and
intellectual growth of students. The simple mathematical problems that require ones wit
to unravel the answer are often done using calculators. This has generated a breed of
kids that are shallow thinkers and less creative compared to the past generations. The
Orwell’s argument that the future generation will be composed of people who would ban
books does not reflect the current situation. The introduction of e-learning is a perfect
NEIL POSTMAN 2
example of people’s unwillingness to read books. The society is undergoing a rapid
transformation from paper to paperless transaction. In this regard, the views of Huxley
are more applicable today.
The world has become a global village where there is free flow of information
and resources. The technological innovation has undeniably been the foundation of
globalization. Human beings are increasingly becoming the channels through which
information flow is highly activated. According to Huxley, the current generation suffers
from passivity and egoism. These are the outcomes of society that exhibit an immense
freedom of access of information. Thus, the Orwell’s assertion that there would be
deprivation of information is not premised on any valid explanation. Similarly, there are
many methods and channels for which one can obtain any kind of information that he or
she requires. The Orwell prophesy that the truth will be cancelled from people by the
government or any other authority is not true. The freedom mass media have played a
pivotal role in creating awareness to the public. Civil rights activities have successfully
eradicated the challenge of censorship that most government use against media
houses. In addition, the emergence of social media and the internet have proved to be
effective in ensuring that the public gets the necessary information without restrictions.
Huxley supports this by claiming that there would be no need for anyone to attempt
hiding of any kind of truth because it would be irrelevant.
Orwell predicted that the future society would suffer from the captivity of culture.
He suggested that people would unanimously adore the cultural doctrines of their
respective societies. He continued that there would be a widespread manipulation of
people as a result of the distorted perceptions of the reality. However, this unrealistic in
NEIL POSTMAN 3
the present world. This is because the challenges facing the humanity in the modern
world require new and modest perspectives to ensure that the society and individual
levels of cultural pluralism are maintained. In order to safeguard specific human traits
and aspirations, there have been an overwhelming pressure on those cultures that
lower the dignity of humankind. For instance, many organizations have come out to
oppose the female genital mutilation that is practiced by certain communities.
Furthermore, the society has become of age in that the increased civilization has been a
major boost towards cultural liberation. In his analysis, Huxley noted that the
contemporary society would achieve cultural neutrality as a result of recognition of
universal individual rights. Additionally, Huxley differs with Orwell who argues that the
society will be ruined by what it considers evil and immoral. Huxley observed that a
society was more vulnerable to the negativity of what it considers to be good. Given that
the many sufferings encountered human beings are self-inflicted, Aldous Huxley is right.
A good example is lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and liver cirrhosis.
In conclusion, we can note that the George Orwell’s prophecies of the future
were not accurate and were completely irrelevant with the contemporary society. Unlike
Orwell’s, the Huxley’s prophecies give an accurate picture of the modern society. Thus,
I strongly affirm Neil Postman’s assertion that Huxley’s vision is more relevant in the
today’s world compared to the one for Orwell.