In the novel Brave New World, writer Aldous Huxley warns that society will be conditioned to accept a new way of living and to blindly adapt to certain dysfunctional behaviors. Neil Postman, writer of Amusing Ourselves To Death, sees Aldous Huxley’s vision quite possibly coming true in today’s world. The process of conditioning people’s minds and thoughts to behave in a certain way is a major theme that Aldous Huxley illustrates in his novel. Similar to the people in the Brave New World society, we as humans are being conditioned by the effect of television’s portrayal of world issues and current events. The desensitizing and dehumanizing effect of television negatively attacks the minds of humans, allowing large business corporations and political parties to control all of society’s thoughts and actions.
Television harmfully affects the minds of humans, eliminating their feelings towards others. In the novel Brave New World, students are conditioned to hate other cultures and believe that their society is “normal”. An example of conditioning students is when John visits geography class filled with Beta-Minus students. It is here that one can clearly see the conditioning being conducted on the children when John illustrates what is happening.
“A click; the room was darkened; and suddenly, on the screen above the master’s head, there were the Penitentes of Acoma prostrating themselves before Our Lady, and wailing as John heard them wail, confessing their sins before Jesus on the cross, before the eagles image of Pookong. The young Etonians fairly shouted with laughter.” (Huxley 146)
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John wonders why the children laugh. What John does not know is that the television program the children are watching desensitizes them and, as a result, they are conditioned to respond in a cruel manner.
Another example of conditioning in the novel Brave New World is hypnopaedia. Children are desensitized by listening to sounds containing repeated words while they are sleeping. A similar method of hypnopaedia is watching your television at home. In today’s society children’s eyes are constantly glued to their television screen. Like hypnopaedia they are taught what is “in” and “out”, through advertisements and television programs.
Similar to the novel Brave New World, Neil Postman’s novel, Amusing Ourselves To Death illustrates that television is conditioning the minds of humans and that our society is unaware of this rising problem. Mr. Postman states,
“No matter what is depicted or from what point of view, the presumption is that it is there for our amusement. That is why even on news shows which provide us daily with fragments of tragedy and barbarism, we are urged by newscasters to “join them tomorrow”.” (Postman 87)
In our society, humans are able to watch tragedies and violence without questioning or feeling harmed by the type of information that is being conveyed.
“The Future: Will It Work?” is a MacLean’s magazine article by Chris Wood, which discusses how reality and fantasy will merge together and foster a state of confusion in people, whereby they do not know what is real or imaginary. People who have this technological power can basically sway the minds of everyone. This can lead to corporate growth and increased revenues for those large corporations who have the power to control or sway the human mind to buy a certain way or shop for a certain product. Similar to Brave New World, political parties and powerful business corporations can also control or sway human emotions and take away people’s emotions and thoughts. This could allow these organizations to make one think that other cultures and societies are wrong or harmful. In the novel Brave New World, what John cannot accept is the fact that everyone lacks feelings and emotions towards other societies and cultures. Neil Postman and Chris Wood both illustrate that the type of scenario John experiences in Brave New World is the problem we are experiencing in today’s world. The types of television programs and advertisements humans watch control how they feel towards other societies and other beings. As a result, the people who control what is to be put on television have the power to control minds and hence condition the function of society.
Effects of Evolution on Human Society The basic law of Darwinist concept of evolution is that ... to as dead ends of evolution. The same applies to humans.On one hand, we have a White race, which built ...
Similar to the novel Brave New World, Postman illustrates that the uncharacteristic way humans of the Brave New World act when they discover John beating up the girl could eventually happen to our society. He mentions that the way humans perceive what they are watching on television could eventually have a negative impact on the way they act. Like the novel Brave New World, society will become unaware of the meaning of hate and as a result not care or have any concern towards the feelings and actions of others.
In summary, it is obvious that the use of televisions, as Aldous Huxley and Neil Postman portray it, is a way of desensitizing and dehumanizing the minds of humans in order for an individual to control the world. In the 21st century, one can see in the newspapers and though observations, that the viewing of television is influencing the actions and feelings of humans. The corruption of all human minds can be a result of adopting negative thoughts and expressions by the politicians and stars on television, or the confusion in people whereby they will never know what is reality or imaginary. It is hard to say that our society will eventually be totally conditioned by television and operate under a certain ruler like in the novel Brave New World. It is becoming more and more obvious that it could ultimately happen, and in time we will, in fact, be living in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.