Re: virus: Brave New World
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 18:44:42 -0500

Eric Boyd wrote:
> Hi,
> 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?

Yes, Reed. You deduced correctly. But also, the entire possibility is scary, as well as the manifestations of things BNW-like, as the blinking light which commands and is obeyed... These things spur the imagination to imagine the extreme/what Huxley feared. But, even without his incredible creative vision, I think I would fear it anyway. But I don't mind fearing it. Does that make sense?
> >>
> (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?

Eric, You gave us a fabulous quote below. Thanks! It also brings this to my mind: "It was also dangerous, and it is still the most vital and yet the most ticklish ethical problem of a civilization that has forgotten why man's life should be sacrificial, that is, offered up to an idea greater than himself. Man can live the most amazing things if they make sense to him. But the difficulty is CREATING THAT SENSE. (Ahem, Richard's cue to begin tap dancing...) It must be a conviction, naturally; but you find that the most convincing things man can invent are cheap and ready-made, and are never able to convince him against his personal desires and fears." From Psychology (gasp!) and Religion (Yow!) by C.G. Jung

Don't you think that as long as we try to talk about talking or think about how we think we will end up inevitably wading through psychology and, maybe, religion?

Anyway, we are already living in that compromise you mentioned before. Maybe there is no island and there is no BNW to inhabit. Only the space between, where we imagine them, but do not live in their extremes.

> ERiC
> [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.

Bad taste makes the day go by faster.
Andy Warhol