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Brave New World Revisited (1958)

by Aldous Huxley

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2,657234,790 (3.63)9
When the novel Brave New World first appeared in 1932, its shocking analysis of a scientific dictatorship seemed a projection into the remote future. Here, in one of the most important and fascinating books of his career, Aldous Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fantasy. He scrutinizes threats to humanity, such as overpopulation, propaganda, and chemical persuasion, and explains why we have found it virtually impossible to avoid them. Brave New World Revisited is a trenchant plea that humankind should educate itself for freedom before it is too late.… (more)
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English (20)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1989)
  sharibillops | May 20, 2022 |
Brave New World Revisited (Perennial Classics) by Aldous Huxley (2000)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
In July it will have been two years since I read Huxley's [b:Brave New World|3180338|Brave New World|Aldous Huxley|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1389777917s/3180338.jpg|3204877] (see my review here). Like Orwell's classic dystopian book (1984), Huxley's was a real eye-opener. And it seems that both authors were clairvoyant, as we're currently living in an age where both principles are applied.

Big Brother (via smartphones, cctv, Windows, etc.) is watching our every move. Not only for so-called security measures, but also for commercial reasons (Big Data), which is what Brave New World was about, to a certain extent. Keep the masses happy through consumption of goods, instead of punishing them for not following the rules. Hence, a.o., the smartphones, the gazillion apps, the sh*t that's played on the radio and television (numb the minds instead of stimulating them).

So many years after BNW, Huxley wrote a non-fiction book on certain themes that were used in his fable. My edition has a foreword, about Huxley's life and works, by David Bradshaw. In the introduction, Huxley wrote that one should read his commentary - and I quote - "against a background of thoughts about the Hungarian uprising and its repression, about the H-bombs, about the cost of what every nation refers to as 'defence', about those endless columns of uniformed boys, white, black, brown, yellow, marching obdiently towards the common grave."

The chapters are to be read in order, as Huxley sometimes referred to a previous chapter when talking about a next theme. Discussed themes:
1) Overpopulation
2) Quantity, Quality, Morality
3) Over-organization
4) Propaganda in a Democratic Society
5) Propaganda under a Dictatorship
6) The Arts of Selling (also discussed in Philippe Breton's [b:La parole manipulée|1935976|La parole manipulée|Philippe Breton|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1377878709s/1935976.jpg|1938492])
7) Brainwashing
8) Chemical Persuasion
9) Subconscious Persuasion
10) Hypnopaedia
11) Education for Freedom
12) What Can Be Done?

No matter when Huxley wrote his afterthoughts, each subject is still of importance today, perhaps more than ever. Overpopulation (now there are x-times mores people on the planet than several decades ago, thank to better hygiene, better nutrition, better medicine, ...), but this also has its consequences (both positive and negative). Depending on who's in power, each discussed item can be handled for good or for worse. However, one can't deny that in today's day and age, there's manipulation everywhere; in the food industry, in the media, in marketing, ... We are constantly bombarded with (flashy) ads, news, bright colours, loud sounds, censoring, and more, which makes it hard to think critically and not accept everything blindly. But in some regions, the situation is improving for the better, little by little.

To cut things short, whether you liked Brave New World (the story) or not, read Huxley's afterthoughts and compare them with how we're living today and have been living for the last x-years. For some, it may confirm what they've been thinking for so long, for other it may indeed be an eye-opener. Orwell and Huxley were visionaries, that's a fact. Heavily recommended! ( )
  TechThing | Jan 22, 2021 |
I am not impressed by the book, but as the author's intent was a revision of an earlier triumph, I'm not surprised. Some of the criticism leveled at Huxley's first pass at prediction were legitimate, but only in hindsight. the book is primarily valuable as point from which to compare the extent to which the critics' strictures were borne out by further experience. it is readable, but unlikely to be read nowadays by anyone uninterested in the original novel as an artifact. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Feb 28, 2020 |
I didn't enjoy this much but I suppose I wasn't meant to. I assume it was Aldous Huxley's attempt to warn us about the consequences of using technology to hide from the truth about what we are and our nature. ( )
  MarkKeeffe | Apr 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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In 1931, when Brave New World was being written, I was convinced that there was still plenty of time.
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But liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of the central government.
Meanwhile we find ourselves confronted by a most disturbing moral problem. We know that the pursuit of good ends does not justify the employment of bad means. But what about those situations, now of such frequent occurrence, in which good means have end results which turn out to be bad?
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When the novel Brave New World first appeared in 1932, its shocking analysis of a scientific dictatorship seemed a projection into the remote future. Here, in one of the most important and fascinating books of his career, Aldous Huxley uses his tremendous knowledge of human relations to compare the modern-day world with his prophetic fantasy. He scrutinizes threats to humanity, such as overpopulation, propaganda, and chemical persuasion, and explains why we have found it virtually impossible to avoid them. Brave New World Revisited is a trenchant plea that humankind should educate itself for freedom before it is too late.

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