Huxley's Brave New World is often compared to Orwell's 1984 as more accurate. Orwell saw a world of repression and restriction, of utter slavery and ignorance universally imposed; Huxley wrote of self-subjugated people ignorant by choice and deadened to reality through endless consumption of synthetic stimulants and entertainment.
See? readers will say. Huxley's predictions came true, while Orwell's turned out to be just dystopian fantasy.
It's not a fair comparison. Orwell's predictions did come true, just not in the West. The conditions of 1984 are chillingly similar to those of Communist bloc nations, while Huxley's vision has come true in Western Europe and America. Our society is coming apart at the seams, and we've done it to ourselves because we're hopelessly addicted to entertainment and mindlessness.
Many readers see the Shakespeare-quoting Savage as the novel's hero. This is true, and it reveals the author's secular humanism; the Savage (or, Noble Savage) is a romantic soul, a free spirit, and only by remaining "true to himself" and to the Western tradition does he overcome the evil around him.
Christian readers know this is a pipe dream. Being true to ourselves means more sin and evil; only by submitting to Christ can we hope to improve the world or anyone in it. Yet Huxley's vision of the future is as accurate today as when he first published the novel in 1932, and Brave New World is just as enjoyable and creepy as its initial audience found it.
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Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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