Brave New World And 1984
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    Not long after the publication of George Orwell’s wildly famous novel 1984, Orwell received a brief missive from his former teacher Aldous Huxley. Seventeen years before that, Huxley’s semi-similar novel Brave New World electrified the world.

    The letter is a fascinating read, and that is why I reprint it here in full:

    Wrightwood. Cal.
    21 October, 1949

    Dear Mr. Orwell,

    It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution? The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it. Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. I have had occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.

    Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of government. Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations. Another lucky accident was Freud’s inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the general application of hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years. But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.

    Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.

    In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

    Thank you once again for the book.

    Yours sincerely,

    Aldous Huxley

    You may note that Aldous Huxley believes his book the more realistic of the two, but time has shown that not to be true.

About The Author

Ray Harvey

I was born and raised in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. I've worked as a short-order cook, construction laborer, crab fisherman, janitor, bartender, pedi-cab driver, copyeditor, and more. I've written and ghostwritten several published books and articles, but no matter where I've gone or what I've done to earn my living, there's always been literature and learning at the core of my life.

9 Responses and Counting...

  • Elvin Foehammer 03.19.2015

    I was gonna pick your brain about Orwell at some point. I read “1984” and “Animal Farm” during the same month a few years back. I am curious what other books of his you might recommend? I have “Down and Out in Paris and London,” “Keep the Aspidistra Flying” and “Wigan Pier.”

    Really enjoyed reading this letter.

  • Thank you, Mr. Foehammer! Thank you very, very, very much indeed. Pick my brain, you say? I’m afraid you’ll find only slim pickings there, but, for whatever it’s worth, I did sort of like Down and Out in Paris and London, despite it’s obvious Marxism, which gets so tedious and trite, so very cliche, so common, so kitschy. I mean, you know?

    Thank you for your exceptionally kind comment and thank you for dropping by.

    Now who the fuck are you?

  • Why this is your loyal customer and fan, Elvin. Foehammer is an online name I’ve been going by from back in my online video gaming days.

    “1984” and “Animal Farm” really shaped the way I view the role of government and the danger of the passive plebian crowd – all too ready to give up anything under the guise of “patriotism”, “safety”, or just mere momentary convenience.

  • Oh, I was only screwing around, Mr. Foehammer. How could I not know who you of all people are?

    If you liked 1984, you should read the book that even George Orwell admitted influenced him most:


    (That’s a hyper-link)

  • L

    Thank you Ray. A fascinating piece of literary correspondence…

    I am not so sure that one or the other is more true, but my thoughts go to hypnotism… and its relationship to television. <3

  • Thank you, L, for hypnotizing me with your words, and for dropping by.

  • Hi there, Sparky.

    Small Orwell trivia for you: The building that now houses my kid’s school used to be the sanitarium where Orwell recuperated after almost having his head blown off during the Spanish Civil War.

    Hasta la cerveza!

  • Hiya, Nicky!

    Thanks for the Orwell trivia, and thank you for dropping by.

    Viva de la France, mon frère!

  • Viva de la what? I can only try to learn one shitty European language at a time. And don’t even get me started on Catalan.

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