Richard K. Moore
We are able to see the architecture – the structural patterns – of each kind of mind-control regime. This can help us recognize precursors – signs that such a future is coming our way.
Dystopian predictions — In 1984, George Orwell paints a picture of a dark, gray world. People are afraid to say anything contrary to the official party line, and surveillance is universal. Even thinking contrary to the party is a crime, and thoughtcrimes may be treated by radical psychological intervention. Information is closely controlled by the party media, and the historical record is routinely edited, so as to conform to the latest party statements.
By contrast, in Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a colorful, superficially pleasant world. Personal freedom of all kinds is encouraged, even to the point of being a cultural imperative. In the book a young boy is referred to a therapist, because he doesn’t want to play sex games with a girl classmate. An adult character is considered aberrant, because he is drawn toward a monogamous relationship. Drugs and distractions are readily available for mood enhancement.
Central to Huxley’s world is the abolition of the family. Sex never results in pregnancy, and embryos are grown in a production process, based on selected seed material. As part of the production process, an embryo can be fed or starved, at various stages of its development, so as to create classes of people (alphas, betas, etc) with differing levels of intelligence and skills. Quotas are set, regarding how many people of each class are going to be needed, and should therefore be produced.
Various kinds of conditioning are then used on infants in order to get them to accept their class, along with its prerogatives and restrictions, as being best for them. Children are raised on a communal basis, with no concept of parents, siblings, or family. From embryo to adulthood, the state has fine-tuned control over the development of the person, and of their thinking. In the resulting society, people behave as they were programmed to behave, and can’t imagine things being any different.
In Orwell’s world, wrong-thought (thought crime) is detected and suppressed. In Huxley’s, wrong-thought is unlikely to arise. Orwell’s world suppresses the individual; Huxley’s manufactures the individual. Orwell explores a brute-force approach to mind control, while Huxley explores a scientific approach. In both cases, mind control, control over what people are able to think, is the strategy of the regime, as its means of social control generally.