By Isaac Davis
In a televised interview with ABC’s Mike Wallace in 1958, author of the seminal classic Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, laid out his rather grim vision for the future of the human race in a prescient and timeless warning for us to wake up. After having lived through the bloodbaths of World War I and II and in the early stages of the nuclear cold war, he discussed the problems of freedom and survival in America, making a number of predictions more relevant today, nearly 60 years later, than ever before.
Huxley, as introduced by Wallace:
A man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. A searing social critic, Mr. Huxley 27 years ago wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that someday the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us. ~Mike Wallace
As the world now sleepwalks into a third world war which will certain bring about a nuclear holocaust, Huxley’s message is more important than ever because it serves as a reminder that a critically thinking individual is the truest and most formidable weapon against the destructive and psychopathic tendencies of tyrants.
The following 6 predictions taken from this interview were exceptionally farsighted at the time, and are presented here as an amplification of Huxley’s imperative that we all must wake up to the truth of how power is misused in our world.
1.) Technology, Bureaucracy and Television Would be Used to Enslave Us
HUXLEY: As technology becomes more and more complicated, it becomes necessary to have more and more elaborate organizations, more hierarchical organizations, and incidentally the advance of technology is being accompanied by an advance in the science of organization.
It’s now possible to make organizations on a larger scale than it was ever possible before, and so that you have more and more people living their lives out as subordinates in these hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracy, either the bureaucracies of big businesses or the bureaucracies of big government.
HUXLEY: Hitler used terror on the one kind, brute force on the one hand, but he also used a very efficient form of propaganda, which er…he was using every modern device at that time. He didn’t have TV, but he had the radio which he used to the fullest extent, and was able to impose his will on an immense mass of people. I mean, the Germans were a highly educated people.
WALLACE: Well, we’re aware of all this, but how do we equate Hitler’s use of propaganda with the way that propaganda, if you will, is used let us say here in the United States. Are you suggesting that there is a parallel?
HUXLEY: Needless to say it is not being used this way now, but, er…the point is, it seems to me, that there are methods at present available, methods superior in some respects to Hitler’s method, which could be used in a bad situation. I mean, what I feel very strongly is that we mustn’t be caught by surprise by our own advancing technology.
This has happened again and again in history with technology’s advance and this changes social condition, and suddenly people have found themselves in a situation which they didn’t foresee and doing all sorts of things they really didn’t want to do.
WALLACE: And well, what…what do you mean? Do you mean that we develop our television but we don’t know how to use it correctly, is that the point that you’re making?
HUXLEY: Well, at the present the television, I think, is being used quite harmlessly; it’s being used, I think, I would feel, it’s being used too much to distract everybody all the time. But, I mean, imagine which must be the situation in all communist countries where the television, where it exists, is always saying the same things the whole time; it’s always driving along.
It’s not creating a wide front of distraction it’s creating a one-pointed, er…drumming in of a single idea, all the time. It’s obviously an immensely powerful instrument.