virus: BNW revisited

Eric Boyd (
Fri, 26 Mar 1999 21:00:07 -0500


Reed Konsler <> writes: <<
Agreed. We live in a world where some people have learned to behave violently. I wish we could teach them all, but many are adults with strongly fixed patterns of behavior. These people are dangerous. I don't think we should exagerate our fear, but if they learn to cooperate by trial and error their errors may involve massacres. If they learn to cooperate within small groups they may use this solidarity to strike out at other groups.

"strongly fixed patterns of behaviour" = "entrentched theories" = "dogmatism". Funny how that virian sin comes up again and again, eh?

To be honest, I have no real idea about what can be done for foreign relations. It seems equally obvious that doing nothing and bombing are both wrong, that a "happy medium" must exist, but I don't know where it lies or of what it consists.

Just before we get back to the BNW below, I'd like to recommend Huxley's _Brave New World Revisited_. It covers a remarkable amount of material in a slim amount of words (filling on 150 pages), but even better than is the eloquence and clear forthright style that he uses. Especially of interest is his chapter on "Education for Freedom", and his remarkable point about human societies not being "organisms", in the sense that ants and bees have a social organism, but rather "organizations" (which, of course, flows against what Bloom said). It is good enough that I'll even type it out for all Virians to read:

"For the individual termite, service to the termitary is perfect freedom. But human beings are not completely social; they are only moderatly gregarious. Their societies are not organisms, like the hive or anthill; they are organizations, in other words ad hoc machines for collective living."

He talks about this point and it's relationship to the BNW and tyranny at great length.

Back to BNW...those people are also programmed...but they never *crave* anything. They never have to...they don't need to consciously ignore their addictions, in the sense a Buddhist learns to, becuase they never experience separation. Isn't that more efficient? Or is there some value in complexity?

Efficiency is not a good goal for ones life -- the most "efficient" life would probably be over before it began! It reminds me of something I read a long time ago... Rifkin. A real fanatic, and usually wrong, but he did have a very good point about focussing to closely on efficiency.

Maybe simplicity shouldn't always be our goal? Becuase, perhaps, the void before the universe pregnant with instability. Maybe the innocence of BNW, the innocence before conception, is too unstable to survive reality.

On this point, Huxley mentions The Grand Inquisitor. "In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us 'make us your slaves, but feed us'." He talks about cycles between attitudes... those without freedom demand it, while those who have it slowly let it go...

It would be interesting to find out if you could us that as an explaination of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I need more knowledge of history!!!