What ‘Brave New World’ gets right that ‘1984’ doesn’t

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I believe in exactly one conspiracy theory: There exists a class of all-powerful elites with an unknowable measure of control over each of our lives — more power, influence, and control than we could ever know.

I believe it because it is unequivocally true. It can be proven, easily, because it is happening right in front of us. It’s happening to us. We see it play out in the form of executive orders, media idolatry, and groupthink.

Let me tell you about the Oligarchy.

The Oligarchy is a snakes’ nest: global corporations bonded to the government in a twisted new religion — a religion, ironically, that is anti-religion. Because the Oligarchy can only exist if the masses disown God. If you take away a man’s God, he will only replace it with something that is not God.

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In place of God, they give us terror, burrowed inside convenience. Our unconsenting subordination to the Oligarchy is a form of worship. They tell us we enjoy subservience. They have convinced us. We have become a function of the Oligarchy. We depend on it for everything.

And by disowning God in favor of the Oligarchy, the individual disowns himself. He forgoes the chance of meaningful survival. As the psychologist Carl Jung put it, “Society is the sum total of individuals in need of redemption.”

The Oligarchy is a snakes’ nest: global corporations bonded to the government in a twisted new religion.

There are no individuals in the Oligarchy because it is just a shinier version of the Marxist idea of the State. And the State is just a high-minded attempt to hide corruption and to make evil men feel less bound for hell. It’s the same lineage.

But the Oligarchy is the worst iteration yet. It knows everything about you.

Think about that: The Oligarchy fuels itself on the death of your individuality. The Oligarchy wants you to consume endlessly. But it is a self-consumption. You’re being asked to sacrifice yourself.

Secretly, we all sense this. Sales of “1984” skyrocketed during the pandemic. We talk a lot about George Orwell and “1984.” For good reason: The dystopia Orwell predicted happened all around us and continues to. But that’s only half of it. The other half is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” which should be a required companion piece to “1984.”

In “1984,” citizens are forced to hold opposing and contradictory views in their heads at all times. Huxley depicts something worse than this cognitive dissonance. In “Brave New World,” the hapless citizens of the State embrace a blissful self-cannibalism. Obedience is the result of a parasitic propaganda campaign that began before the citizens were born.

There is plenty of censorship and lots of forbidden literature. But unlike “Fahrenheit451” and “1984,” people in “Brave New World” are excited to welcome the censorship. They become so inundated with useless and distracting information that they just stop processing any of it.

The book is just as full of slogans as “1984,” but the slogans are catchier, like ad copy: “History is bunk” and “Everyone works for everyone else. We can’t do without anyone.”

Their motto is “Community, Identity, Stability.” The same exact creepy vagueness and manufactured warmth that you have seen play out since the pandemic. Hypocrisy is so constant and obvious that it makes us question reality itself.

“Community, Identity, Stability” is a misnomer the same way that Antifa is an inaccurate representation of “anti-fascist.” And not by mistake.

In “Brave New World,” people live by the motto, “Everyone belongs to everyone else.”

Now there is a class of all-powerful elites with an unknowable measure of control over each of our lives.

Individuality doesn’t exist. Everything is shared.

Monogamy is taboo. Even solitude is framed as psychotic.

Nothing can be “intense or long-drawn.” Citizens are trained to avoid having “to live through a long-time-interval between the consciousness of a desire and its fulfillment,” an event which they refer to as an “insurmountable obstacle.”

“Take a holiday from reality whenever you like,” they’re told, “and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology.”

Which is code for “They want to take away collective human history.”

The State — the Oligarchy — holds all the control, and the workers serve as its unwitting slaves. Unwitting is the key. The citizens cannot realize that they’re being used.

It’s a complicated caste system that hides the real social ranking: a pyramid scheme that the elite are packaging as “Community, Identity, Stability.”

The State in “Brave New World” is a precursor to the Oligarchy of now. It’s an earlier version. You can probably trace it back to the separation of light from dark during the creation of the universe. From that moment, life had predators and prey. And humans took this dynamic and turned it into entertainment. Now we have a class of all-powerful elites with an unknowable measure of control over each of our lives — more power, influence, and control than we could ever know.

To understand the Oligarchy, we need to understand ourselves. We have to escape the pointless circling chaos of an oligarch class that resets our history and shames the act of remembering.

Otherwise, we drown in a ceaseless flood of information and propaganda and maybe never any truth. And without a sense of what’s true, without the belief that life holds the potential for meaning, we become toothpicks in some social experiment, some private game for the Oligarchy.

That’s the existence they demand of you. Your existence. Your individuality. Because individuality is an obstacle to them. You belong to everyone else. You belong to the Oligarchy. You’re more useful if you conform. But were you ever even given a choice?

Editor’s note: A version of this article was first published on January 28, 2021.

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