So Aldous writes this as a follow up essay to his prophetic fable of a utopian world called a brave new world. He scrutinizes threats to humanity, such as overpopulation, propaganda, and chemical persuasion, and explains why we have found it virtually impossible to avoid them. The most captivating part for me is the analysis on how many are likely to lost their power to individualistic thought without even knowing. He explains this with the difference between a crowd and a group:
“Groups are capable of being as moral and intelligent as the individuals who form them; crowd is chaotic, has no purpose of its own, and is capable of anything except intelligent action and realistic thinking. Assembled in a crowd, people lose their powers of reasoning and their capacity of moral choice. Their suggestibility is increased to the point where they cease to have any judgment or will of their own. They become very excitable, they lose all sense of individual or collective responsibility, they are subject to sudden accesses of rage, enthusiasm and panic. In a word, a man in a crowd behaves as though he had swallowed a large dose of some powerful intoxicants. He is a victim of what I have called ‘herd-poisoning’. Like alcohol, herd-poison is an active, extraverted drug. The crowd-intoxicated individual escapes from responsibility, intelligence and morality into a kind of frantic, animal mindlessness”
Where there has been herd-poisoning? Can the people ever take charge of their lives? From these thoughts, I believe successful nations are built by groups with focus on nations transformation not by crowds that could be cajoled by any dictator for his purpose. This strategy of herd-poisoning and causing division among the people is still actively used by political parties today. It calls for sober reflections for us to consider if we have lost our rights to individualistic thoughts, do we evaluate our decisions on an individual levels before joining crowds in campaign or protest. This made me even consider too, are the political parties in my country Nigeria a group or a crowd?
Another thing that struck me in reading this was on subconscious persuasion, persuasion to act in a particular way through information passed passively into our subconscious from the environment, it is a sought of programming by the information or situation in our environment. Today, the media, music, books, movies, adverts are being used for subconscious persuasion, but are we conscious enough to take back our lives? For example, sexual immorality is rampant today because all of our media has become sexualized. Another practical example for me is what we face in my country Nigeria today, only few know that the environment has programmed them. Majority hardly believe in starting new things, they hardly believe in leaving their comfort zones, because the environment has failed us again and again, governments have failed us again and again, there is little hope for tomorrow because today doesn’t look like the hope we had yesterday. What should the average Nigerian do knowing this? He has to take back his “life” and take responsibility for his failures.
Aldoux also predicted a substance known as “soma” to be used for chemical persuasion to keep the populace weakened too. Lots of substances have come close to this though, chief of which is marijuana and cigarettes. Does it not bother anyone in the world today that cigarette is silent killer but yet it is still being sold across the world? Well, we’d see where the world goes from here.
In conclusion, let us be more observant, check well if you have been “programmed” in this brave new world, change your thoughts and take charge of your life and I’d gladly recommend this beautiful piece by Aldoux Huxley to anyone.
*Book for the month of January*