Brave New World’s endless race with Orwell’s 1984

Coined a ‘negative utopia’ by Huxley, Brave New World explores existentialism and authenticity in a novel scathing of chemical and material ‘progress’, the social class system, authority and new attitudes toward individual thinking.                                                     Although named a dystopia with such authority it’s as ironic as its title, one could argue its innocence – the endless question ‘Is the pen mightier than the sword?’ can be answered in three words – Yes We Can – to acquit Brave New World – through clever use of embryo manipulation, brainwashing (or eloquence, whatever), prejudices, white supremacy, globalisation, recreational sex without need for procreation (these blind sheep have made Freud messianic), and the mysterious drug-anti-depressant soma to keep a comfortable level of blissful ignorance, all citizens are content with the society (with no hypothetical questions, and therefore dystopia or utopia) they live in.

This explores an increasingly relevant topic in our society. The paradox of truth in impersonality is as brightly portrayed in our political mirrors and outlets as ever, our self-centered social outlook isn’t even vilified, our ignorance is portrayed as freedom in compliance of a greater being likened to the mediaeval church.                                                        In this sense, 1984 and Brave New World pertain to the same social issue: communal truth.

1984 doesn’t belong to the elusive group of social exhibition like Brave New World, the essays hidden amongst a well-woven story provide the greatest politically philosophical texts in the first half of the twentieth century. Truth reimagined holds its authority in a fist with which to change itself.

And in a world of advertisement and propaganda this utopia mirrors ours – if we were living in Soviet Russia, our views would perhaps be more in tune towards 1984, although censored -, our world in which shopping centres line the streets, our world of contraception, our world of state-provided television, and our world of so-called free speech.

Will 1984, with its harsh regime of terror likened to Stalin’s Soviet Russia, overtake Brave New World once more? Post-truth is raging established all thought. The gullible self-consuming ‘Tumblr generation’ is a living travesty of the ‘self’. The question is as useless as a utopia.

 

 

Looking back at Fitzgerald’s cautionary satire of ‘The Great Gatsby’

Behind the sumptuous splendour of the Jazz Age comes an honest tale of revenge, the excesses of the rich, and a materialistic desire for the so-called American Dream, wrapped in a rich delicacy of prose love-warfare. 

One might say to achieve the American Dream, a nightmare has to fuse with reality. And certainly Fitzgerald paints a grim downside to all that are forgotten on the road of recklessness and self-authenticity to social superiority, white supremacy and dishonesty. Fitzgerald is holding a heavily embellished mirror, full of beautiful subtleties of writing, and a pounding rhythm of jazz, dance and alcohol toward the death of Gatsby upon a society plagued by post-Prohibition excess and self-trickery in the young, mysterious apparition of Jay Gatsby, each character totemic of a factor Fitzgerald is scathing of.

Even the road from New York to the nouveau riche of the utopic and prosperous, yet shallow, self-absorbed, deplorable and proclaimed as dystopic by Fitzgerald West Egg, an ironic play on the River Styx, is a soft march to death and a warning to all who pursue this ideal of greed, which leaves a trail of suffering, misery and oppression.

This was Fitzgerald’s sardonic view of upper class America – it was written as a warning, and it should be treated as such. It leaves a profound reverberation even today in our self-centered communal callousness in the death of the ‘self’.