1984 in “2019…29…39?
Where are we headed? During the last century two very famous dystopian books were published: A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley published in 1931, and 1984 by George Orwell published in 1949. Very recently, because I had written on the subject, the idea of buying both books came into my mind. The impulse was strong and I bought them both the same day. At the present time neither have been read, although I checked out the very different but weirdly aligned visions of the future in online reviews. Orwell’s story is a grim version of totalitarian life whereas Huxley’s is more of absolute control fostered by a society engineered as a pleasure dome. The following thoughts of mine were written a year or more before I had any knowledge of these two great books, apart from their titles and subject matter.
“Gradually it dawned on me, a long life gives you perspective. I formed the impression that we were being subtly coerced to conform and give way obediently to the demands of officials in whatever guise they presented themselves. If you want to create a society that is run by the state at every level of existence then you must gain a degree of instinctive compliance, conditioned responses: yes sir, no sir. How to do that without raising the hackles of the masses? Train them, but do not let them know what you are doing. Make it sound and feel as if it is for the greater good, set ideals before them, make them feel we are making a real change to the way we interact with the world and those around us. We can do better if we make the effort, humankind can evolve a way of life that will benefit the whole rather than the few. Forget that religious mumbo-jumbo which taught us that there is an inherent evil of original sin dragging us down. Persuading us that we need the sacrifice of a Christ figure to make us fit for purpose. It was a myth and we can rise above it, we can move forward without the negativity of religion dogging our footsteps. We can then develop new commandments which will constrain the bad and release the good. In other words, we know better than the one who supposedly created us. In fact, do not concern yourself with this creator because he, she or it does not really exist, and we only permit religion because for the moment it is too embedded in our culture to safely remove without chaos arising.
But a start has been made, the softest target Christianity is feeling the squeeze. It is slowly being throttled by low level persecutions, weak leadership and natural wastage. People are enjoying the lives they have, what need therefore of a future afterlife that is probably just a myth devised by priests to entrap us all. The new order will provide, giving us other things to focus on, such as entertainment on tap twenty-four hours a day. Sunday becomes just another day. Why believe a Creator God who made everything in six days when Darwinism and evolutionary theory has killed off the myth and replaced it with pure science and cold, hard facts?
Time to think about beginning again. If the old has lost its appeal why not knock it down and rebuild from scratch. If you have a building site with plans for its renewal, but its old buildings are still standing then the first job is obvious: bulldoze the old and lay out the ground plan for whatever its replacement may be. If the area is of sufficient size then both operations can run concurrently. That is I believe what’s happening in our country, in our continent and to some extent globally: a transformation, a new world order. To accomplish this entire populations need converting. The first lesson army instructors teach new recruits is to conform to a very different life. The old life as a civilian has gone, the new has come. Many of your old rights are voluntarily laid down for the sake of the new reality. Every scrap of self will with regard to what you will do and when is systematically knocked out of you. It is a process designed to make every single person move or stop on a shouted order.
To melt something as hard as iron and shape it into something new takes extremes of heat. If your objective is to remake society then something similar is required. Many things must change, be twisted out of shape and reformed before the new creation is fit for purpose: an example of this process are language conventions; these can change and have changed radically. Compare the English of Chaucer or Shakespeare to that used in messaging via iPhone, emojis etc. and try to unravel the multiple differences in the use of these conventions, especially when trying to convey meaning. You may categorise modern novelties as improvements, simplifying the language for ease of communication. Or you could call it vandalism: a race to the bottom of the sink. And as if kept in waiting for this moment in time, there has arrived a generation prepared for the unveiling of a new reality, one capable of overwriting the once stable, normal, and oh so boring old reality. Did we really live for centuries thinking that binary was a word descriptive of sex and gender? Change it, change it all without thought of the consequences. Let’s follow the Gadarene swine and head for the cliff edge. You might recall that in this gospel account the pigs had become infested with the evil spirits cast out of a madman by Jesus.
Jesus made reference to a wide and easy road that led to destruction and added that many people were choosing it in preference to a much tougher route that led to salvation. We are I believe set fixedly on this wide road and are thoroughly enjoying the experience. At the time of the early church Rome was a code name for Babylon, the seat of power and evil representing everything opposed to God. To the early church Rome and all its attractions and vices was the epitome of the wide road leading to damnation. In our society this highway has manifested itself in many ways, some of which have been referred to already. There is more to come, but as to specific causes, they are not so easy to identify. However, I do believe there is one particular aspect of our current society which may have initiated the drift away from our historic foundations. A strange culprit, seemingly innocuous and harmless: I believe it to be the entertainment industry! A phenomenon well known to the peoples of Ancient Rome. In our times it slowly developed following the traumas of the Second World War. The nineteen fifties saw the growing influence of American culture and materialism. The nineteen sixties saw the full flowering and the Great Escape from the harsh structures and conformity to rules and ways of conduct that held us fast for so long. The changes were meteoric, dismantling the old order and supplanting it with the new. Seemingly in a moment we moved from a grey world to one filled with colour: the buzz word at the time, fuelled by purple heart drugs and hippie culture was psychedelic. The sixties was birthed, and with it change became a way of life.
Access was gained to a world of previously unimagined freedom: drugs, sex and rock and roll. The entertainment industry, which has never stopped growing and now includes among its many delights, the Internet. Access at any hour of day and night to anything you wanted, including every imaginable vice: all available instantly, anywhere and anytime in any form, real or virtual. The one thing a provision of twenty-four hour a day access to information, entertainment, gambling, sex, shopping, the lives of others, etc., etc. gives, is to trivialise everything, including relationships. I can imagine a day when sex dolls will be much more attractive than the real thing. They will provide the thrills without the need to do anything about pleasing that which has pleased you. Human relationships may well be thought as a demanding, expensive and unnecessary chore. Virtual reality through AI may be preferred by many for all the above reasons. If you were more intellectually attracted, robots could be made able to converse while tapping into all the areas of knowledge that most fascinated you. A made to measure cyborg: always attentive, interested and switched on or off according to your mood. Sounds attractive, and that is exactly why it is so dangerous. Every drug gives a high, and this entire scenario is a drug with one purpose in mind, to distract us from everything that matters.
Today’s toddlers are using mobile phones, creating a world that will to some significant degree become a living experiential virtual reality. One which they may well choose to bed down with and make their inner home. The day may come when they prefer it to real life. This is no longer science fiction, some of it is here already. Teenagers disappear to their bedrooms and most parents know little or nothing about what they are doing on their iPhone’s or with whom they are communicating. We have yet to see what this future generation will do, but another quantum leap cannot be far distant. Even today sexual identity has become such an issue that it acts like a hub around which near everything revolves. As a subject it has become controlling, with your attitude to it a test and moral guide as to your fitness for modern life. Disapproval is not really an option if you want to advance your status in this transformed society.
The effect of this change in culture is that objective facts become far less influential. These are being replaced by appeals to emotion and personal beliefs which can only lead towards instability. The demands for ever increasing levels of choice are an inevitable result. Equality legislation has created the appearance of doing away with any hierarchy of beliefs and convictions. The best example of this is the sudden demise of Christianity as the faith of the UK. In a society such as ours one religion cannot be allowed to occupy a dominant position. The reason being it denies equality of religions. It does not stop there, since definitions of what is natural and normal have also been forced to adapt to the new reality. We can no longer say that is just the way things are. Long standing institutions have had to give ground in order to accommodate this brave new world where anything goes providing it meets standards imposed by the State. And this is the strange part, British Values have become a set of Commandments, in essence just a rigid as the ten God gave to Moses. And these new commandments, scarcely ten years old have been meekly accepted.
( It is about here that Huxley’s world begins to edge towards or morph into something pre-Orwellian.)
It is nearly as dangerous for you or me to challenge modern commandments, (British Values), as it was for those who rebelled against the ten given by God. The old certainties have passed away and the new have been imposed. One burdensome yoke cast off and another less burdensome to most placed on our shoulders instead. The advantage for those forming whatever is coming is that objective facts are somewhere between sidelined and departed. Any concept of religious truth is close to gone now that the Christian God has authorised competitors. Meta narratives are gone; enter the bright new dawn of emotive convictions popping up like crowd-funding events, repetitive mantras and a refusal to face fact-based points of view. Post truth, an expression tailor made for an age governed by a new prospectus. This post truth world is generated by the appearance of things, the look and feel is everything; the truth and facts are secondary. A gender is felt rather than known through genetics or biology. To achieve such an outlook on life facts of nature have to be sidelined. This takes some doing, social engineering is required. A new language must be created in order to avoid the obvious, which is that every human naturally born is the result of sexual union between a male and a female. To avoid this fact it is necessary to build a society which is willing to deny nature. To use abnormalities to sponsor your argument and propaganda to square the circle. This reminds me of an astute comment by Joseph Goebbels. One which can be paraphrased as follows: the best propaganda works invisibly, penetrating all of public life without that public being aware that it is thinly disguised propaganda.
All societies impose rules and we accept them as a necessary fact of life. The problem is that PC rules do not make any allowance for criticism or the non-conforming, nor do they see any humour in a perceived offence. Which makes it perfect for children at a strict school but hopeless for adults in an adult environment. And as far as Britain is concerned, non-conformity is precisely what made it so successful and inventive and enjoyable to live in. Even in the military non-conformity works. Drake with the invasion by the Spanish Armada and Nelson at Trafalgar broke the usual rules of naval combat. The SAS was formed by a non-conformist. Dunkirk was a crazy idea, with civilians getting involved in a military operation. Lawrence of Arabia was another maverick. Churchill used to search out off the wall ideas and encouraged many of them. Almost every heroic act has involved breaking or stretching guidelines and rules. Encouraging the self-confidence to question legislators should be the first rule of a free society. As much as we loved good order and conformity we also used to love and cherish eccentricity. None of the above actions would have survived the tick box mentality of modern officialdom. We are trading these former freedoms and a rather beautiful eccentric past for a society with the potential to spawn a monster, not just petty minded and brittle but also vicious and unjust. It is cowering people, making us frightened to speak out, even joke, and that is I believe exactly what is intended. Shut down any form of dissent. There is a famous quote from the philosopher / statesman Edmund Burke.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
The above refers to people who do know what is going on, see the threat but refuse to speak or act against it out of fear. I am thinking of those in high positions of influence. Below is a less well-known quote by Burke and is one I do apply to myself.
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
This article has only appeared because I came across the following video. It kind of wrapped the unfolding ideas into a satisfyingly complete story. It could be titled The Endgame.