Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brave New World... free will... etc.

As I sit and drink my coffee because I woke up around 3.5 hours before I planned, I figured I would post about the book I'm reading now, Brave New World, and my thoughts on how it actually relates or doesn't relate to the real world.  You may or may not agree with what I post... and it's mostly opinion.  But hey, I'm entitled to that!   I've wanted to read this book for quite some time, as I blogged in another post, and since I finally finished my last book, I've started on it.  I really enjoy these types of books for some reason.  I'm almost a third of the way through (not bad since I just started yesterday, but then, it's not exactly a long/difficult book at the moment).  

  For those who don't know, it's a futuristic book where people are socially/biologically/psychologically engineered to fit into certain classes in society.  There isn't really any free will because the people are basically hypnotized in their sleep to think a certain way.  You can see the characters mindlessly making statements that were repeated to them over and over again in their sleep while they were infants.  Anyways, it got me to thinking.  This is probably going to go in a direction very different from what people are expecting.  No, I'm not going to say that people are going to be socially engineered into becoming passive so the ruling class can completely control them.  No... I think it's actually going the opposite direction and I get frustrated when people assume the government is just controlling us into thinking what they want us to think.  Sure, there is an element of that.... and like my sister pointed out, that is what advertising, consumerism, etc. is all about - making people think they want/need something they don't really want or need so a business can make money.  But there is a difference between people thinking they want to buy something, and people mindlessly doing what the government tells them to do.

I suppose if the world really were the way the book describes it, then yes, people would be completely mindlessly controlled by the government.. Because these people really have no choice because they were born into thinking this way (though at this point in the book you can kind of see where people are starting to question their thoughts a little).  And in a way, the world IS like that.   You are born into a certain class/culture, and you accept what that is.  But it's ALWAYS been that way - there's no new government conspiracy to control our thoughts (and if there is, I guess I don't know about it, which means it must be working).  At least in western cultures we have WAY more access to knowledge than people did hundreds of years ago when they were in their small towns.  Back then the ruling class really DID have complete control over what the peasants/lower classes thought.  And I suppose in less developed countries, it is still this way where people have no access to education, and the government bans books/research/etc. that doesn't support the state goals.  But I get so frustrated when I hear AMERICANS saying the government is brainwashing us.  We have SO MUCH access to information these days and in this country.  Sure, the media tells us what it wants us to think, what sells, yeah, that's true, and of course we aren't going to know everything at the state/national level.  It's called NATIONAL SECURITY.  You have no way of knowing the absolute truth unless you are actually there - this much is true.  It's true that school teaches us what the government wants us to learn - someone determined what they thought we should know in order to be successful, and if you're into conspiracies and stuff, what will help indoctrinate us into serving the "ruling class" (if you haven't noticed, I don't feel this way at all).  But unlike the past, we CAN learn beyond what someone is telling us.  We have so many resources that it's very unlikely we'll be "brainwashed" anytime soon, unless someone actually takes away all of our resources.  I think this rings especially true to me because I have had people tell me that I must be brainwashed (yes, someone told me this) because I'm in the Army.  Really?  How uneducated is that?  I see the same news as everyone else.  I have access to everything everyone else has, except the key difference:  I actually KNOW what the military is like beyond what someone else tells me.  I have friends who have actually BEEN to the Middle East, I have FAMILY in the Middle East - I'm not merely going off of what the media is telling me.  Yes, I have to take orders, but we also learn you don't take unlawful orders.  The people who order those things, and the people who mindlessly follow orders are NOT the norm.  Soldiers still have consciences, despite what so many people think.

OKAY, so... that is my rant.  Feel free to disagree/agree with me.  I know it had flaws, but I'm not trying to turn in an essay with a perfect argument - these are mostly my thoughts provoked by reading this book and things that I have heard other people say, especially in reaction to my being in the military.  Oh, and by the way, the book is quite good!  I recommend it :)


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