Thursday, January 5, 2012


"The Ultimate Revolution"
by Aldous Huxley

(source: Internet Archive)

March 20, 1962 Berkeley Language Center - Speech Archive SA 0269

"And here I would like briefly to compare the parable of Brave New World with another parable which was put forth more recently in George Orwell's book, Nineteen Eighty- Four. Orwell wrote his book between, I think between 45 and 48 at the time when the Stalinist terror regime was still in Full swing and just after the collapse of the Hitlerian terror regime. And his book which I admire greatly, it's a book of very great talent and extraordinary ingenuity, shows, so to say, a projection into the future of the immediate past, of what for him was the immediate past, and the immediate present, it was a projection into the future of a society where control was exercised wholly by terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals.

Whereas my own book which was written in 1932 when there was only a mild dictatorship in the form of Mussolini in existence, was not overshadowed by the idea of terrorism, and I was therefore free in a way in which Orwell was not free, to think about these other methods of control, these non-violent methods and my, I'm inclined to think that the scientific dictatorships of the future, and I think there are going to be scientific dictatorships in many parts of the world, will be probably a good deal nearer to the brave new world pattern than to the 1984 pattern, they will a good deal nearer not because of any humanitarian qualms of the scientific dictators but simply because the BNW pattern is probably a good deal more efficient than the other."

(excerpt from the transcript)

"It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely this, that we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy, who have always existed and presumably always will exist, to get people actually to love their servitude. This seems to me the ultimate malevolent revolution... This is a problem which has interested me for many years and about which I wrote, 30 years ago, a fable Brave New World which is essentially the account of a society making use of all the devices at that time available and some of the devices which I imagined to be possible, making use of them in order to, first of all, to standardize the population, to iron out inconvenient human differences, to create, so to say, mass produced models of human beings arranged in some kind of a scientific caste system. Since then I have continued to be extremely interested in this problem and I have noticed with increasing dismay that a number of the predictions which were purely fantastic when I made them 30 years ago have come true or seem in process of coming true. A number of techniques about which I talked seem to be here already, and that there seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of ultimate revolution, this method of control by which people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs which by any decent standard they ought not to enjoy. I mean the enjoyment of servitude."