Re: virus: Brave New World

Eric Boyd (
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 15:41:38 -0500


Reed Konsler <> writes: <<
:-) I agree. I deduced that you took Huxley's vision to be scary based upon our conversation. Me, I think it really is a _Brave New World_. What do you think?


(this wasn't directed at me, but I couldn't help overhearing...)

I think that the BNW is scary precisely becuase the ideology which underlies it does seem attractive. Ultimatly, BNW is a trade off -- society trades progress (in the extropian sense) for the happiness of it's members.

I would like to think (in a Utopia sorta sense) that a compromise is possible; that the vast majority of people who *are* willing to trade progress for happiness could live in the BNW, while those of us who want to *stamp our name in the history books*, who want to *make payments on our debts[1]*, could go and live on the island mentioned, possibly benefiting not only residents of the island, but also ensuring the contiuned existence of BNW (ala Mond, the World Controller). I was disappointed not to see further discussion of what transpires on that island in the book.

However, the pessimist in me tends towards the realization that *individuals who will choose to forfeit the BNW* in favour of the island will be *very* rare, to the point that the minimum necessary to support humanities collective knowledge would not be available. Perhaps this could be remedied by raising some children outside of the BNW (i.e. on the island), and thus into the island culture as a default, instead of into the BNW as a default?


[1] John Steinbeck, Sweet Thursday @ 23, on discontent:

Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the bastard Time. The end of life is now not so terribly far away--you can see it the way you see the finish line when you come into the stretch--and your mind says, "Have I worked enough? Have I eaten enough? Have I loved enough?" All of these, of course, are the foundation of man's greatest curse, and perhaps his greatest glory. "What has my life meant so far, and what can it mean in the time left to me?" And now we're coming to the wicked, poisoned dart: "What have I contributed in the Great Ledger? What am I worth?" And this isn't vanity or ambition. Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay no matter how hard they try. It piles up ahead of them. Man owes something to man. If he ignores the debt it poisons him, and if he tries to make payments the debt only increases, and the quality of his gift is the measure of the man.