Mar 13

From the letter:

“Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.”


- 1984 v. Brave New World (Letters Of Note, Mar 6, 2012):

In October of 1949, a few months after the release of George Orwell‘s dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, he received a fascinating letter from fellow author Aldous Huxley — a man who, 17 years previous, had seen his own nightmarish vision of society published, in the form of Brave New World. What begins as a letter of praise soon becomes a brief comparison of the two novels, and an explanation as to why Huxley believes his own, earlier work to be a more realistic prediction.

Fantastic.

Trivia: In 1917, long before he wrote this letter, Aldous Huxley briefly taught Orwell French at Eton.

(Source: Letters of Aldous Huxley; Image: George Orwell (via) & Aldous Huxley (via).)

Wrightwood. Cal.
21 October, 1949

Dear Mr. Orwell,

It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals — the ultimate revolution? The first hints of a philosophy of the ultimate revolution — the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology — are to be found in the Marquis de Sade, who regarded himself as the continuator, the consummator, of Robespierre and Babeuf. The philosophy of the ruling minority in Nineteen Eighty-Four is a sadism which has been carried to its logical conclusion by going beyond sex and denying it. Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. I have had occasion recently to look into the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, and have been greatly struck by the way in which, for a hundred and fifty years, the world has refused to take serious cognizance of the discoveries of Mesmer, Braid, Esdaile, and the rest.

Partly because of the prevailing materialism and partly because of prevailing respectability, nineteenth-century philosophers and men of science were not willing to investigate the odder facts of psychology for practical men, such as politicians, soldiers and policemen, to apply in the field of government. Thanks to the voluntary ignorance of our fathers, the advent of the ultimate revolution was delayed for five or six generations. Another lucky accident was Freud’s inability to hypnotize successfully and his consequent disparagement of hypnotism. This delayed the general application of hypnotism to psychiatry for at least forty years. But now psycho-analysis is being combined with hypnosis; and hypnosis has been made easy and indefinitely extensible through the use of barbiturates, which induce a hypnoid and suggestible state in even the most recalcitrant subjects.

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency. Meanwhile, of course, there may be a large scale biological and atomic war — in which case we shall have nightmares of other and scarcely imaginable kinds.

Thank you once again for the book.

Yours sincerely,

Aldous Huxley

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One Response to “Letter From Aldous Huxley To George Orwell – ’1984 v. Brave New World’”

  1. Uncle B Says:

    Center Of The Universe
    Dystopian novels notwithstanding, dark humor abounds in America today, much as it did in the days before the fall of the U.S.S.R.
    Many comments for articles here on the net, show a desperation for lack of a real message and although they appear nonsensical, they belay a tragic futility in the general population.
    Current encouragements on the net, and by the media, suggesting legalizing marijuana, and “curing” depression with LSD and “magic mushrooms’ show a desperation by the governments to allow stupification of the masses to prevent outright riots in the streets. As we speak, doctors provide massive amounts of tranquillizing, stupefying, even additive, solace medicines to the people, who are really suffering the demise of America, the transfer of Capital to the Pan Eurasian Empire, and with it the wealth and prosperity Americans once enjoyed.
    We witness now the very genocide of an entire working class, once the backbone of a successful U.S.A. They are now fallen into disuse and replacement by the people of the Pan Eurasian Empire as it towers above the U.S.A. in all fields of human endeavor, the Arts, certainly Science, heavy industry, manufacturing, and now joining in the ‘Space Race’, and proving this far, very effective there too.
    An America stuck on oil, refusing to confess its largest “hidden deficit”, the disposal costs for humanocidal Waste from its Uranium fissioning reactors, and their decommissioning, these costs rapidly approaching criticality, is losing its market place to the vast array of Pan Eurasian Empire participants, even Vietnam a major manufacturing concern there today.
    Dystopian American novels are a witness to the blinkered, xenophobic, American ego! Time now for America and Americans to stop drinking their own cool-aid, and admit that they really are not at the center of all life on this planet!

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