Dystopic QOTD: Huxley to Orwell on Hypnosis and Governance

Dan Hirschman
A Sociologist

Letters of Note is a fantastic blog that posts fascinating, inspiring and sometimes frightening bits of correspondence, often between famous writers. Today’s offering is a letter from Aldous Huxley to George Orwell following the publication of 1984. Huxley praises Orwell’s book, but argues that government will not need to use such forceful means (“boot-on-the-face”) to maintain order. Rather, Huxley argues that hypnosis and drugs will solve the problem of creating an subservient public:

Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience. In other words, I feel that the nightmare of Nineteen Eighty-Four is destined to modulate into the nightmare of a world having more resemblance to that which I imagined in Brave New World. The change will be brought about as a result of a felt need for increased efficiency.

Read More: Dystopic QOTD: Huxley to Orwell on Hypnosis and Governance

[ Letter from Huxley to Orwell] in PDF format.

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