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Who Are We?
GT1013-CD $5.00 + $2.00 SHIPPING
Running Time 70 minutes
DISC ONLY in paper sleeve.
About Who Are We?
“It wasn’t Huxley’s wit alone, of course, that powered his talk—he was a master conversationalist generally. His imposing height, magnificent profile and sonorous voice all contributed, but it was the way he used words to shape ideas that accounted for the magic… I seldom left his presence without feeling recharged, as if some new corner of the world—if not new vistas of being—had opened before me.”
In Who Are We?
Aldous Huxley explores the human “mindbody” from the empirical to
the transcendent, beginning with the workings of human physiognomy,
touching on the function of the brain, commenting on both the importance
and limitations of language, and ultimately advising that we
“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.
But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”. In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.”
Cover & Disc Art:
Aldous Huxley, portrait by Don
Bachardy (1962, ink on paper, 73.7 cm X 58 cm, copyright Don
Bachardy, all rights reserved). Collection of the Huntington Library,
San Marino, California. Special thanks to both. Bachardy's work can also
be seen online (by clicking the links below) and live in Santa Monica at
Krull Gallery and in New York at Cheim