Dystopian Media – Why an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth’ is the Least of Our Worries

With the big market move of Elon Musk purchasing Twitter, those on the Left are concerned about an oligarchy while those on the Right see this as a win for liberty and freedom. Despite the hypocritical claims of the Left (Jeff Bezos’s purchase of the Washington Post being the most glaring example) and the market consequences that suppressing ideas causes—perceived or real—all of this led to Musk’s acquisition of the blue-bird social platform and the creation of other platforms like Parler and Truth Social.

Fear of censorship is what led to these market shifts.

As terrifying as a “Disinformation Governance Board” is, an Orwellian Totalitarian State is the least of our worries and not the root cause. In fact, it is Huxleyan desensitization and the pleasure-seeking culture that is creating the state of the State we are seeing. 

Our Brave New World

“If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the illusions of pleasure.”

Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley, author of the dystopian classic Brave New World, did not fear the banning, burning, or censoring of books, but rather feared that no one would want to read books. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance, not suppressed by an Oligarchy or Totalitarian State.

Pleasure, not fear was the tool with which he saw society crumble.

First published in 1932, Brave New World was written in a time where modernity, the profound cultural transformation of the rise of representative democracies, the age of science and reason over superstition, and the established liberties and values of the individual were all coming into full fruition. This age of enlightenment forced Huxley to ask himself if a human being—for their own good—could be designed and controlled from the womb to the grave. If so, could this kind of ideology bring real happiness?

With only chemical, mechanical, and sexual comforts, both of Huxley’s key characters find themselves deficient in Nature, Religion, and Literature even though they cannot put a name to these concepts. From a lack of understanding of the cosmos and its grandeur to the sensory overload of entertainment and minutiae, the protagonists are unable to stand in awe and have little appreciation for philosophy, theology, and literature all the way down to the words they use daily. 

Through sex, drugs, and social conditioning the young are malleable as these symptoms of “un-freedom” are the foundations for alienating the individual through social instability and the erosion of standards and values. 

Does any of this ring a bell with the current culture?

Social Media is Destroying Society

“Infant-conditioning and narco-hypnosis are far 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.”

Aldous Huxley

There are 3.78 billion users of social media worldwide and roughly $181 billion is spent on social media advertising, with the United States being the leading nation in this effort.* That is a lot of money and market incentive to keep people engaged and focused on what is happening on their screens. Interestingly enough, in a 2019 study in Finland, while 84% of the youth 13-29 years old stated that they used social media to communicate with their friends, 74% of those surveyed stated that they use social media because it’s a habit.

In other words, they’re addicted.

This is not an unintended consequence of the structuring of social media in our lives, but a deliberate design element because of the return on investment companies see within the system. The father of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, knew the importance of manipulating and shaping public opinion when he helped pioneer a scientific process for the dissemination of information in what he called the “engineering of consent.” When you create a social incentive, people are more prone to participation, and when that incentivizing behavior encourages mediocrity, escapism, distorts reality, and makes an individual dependent on likes, comments, and shares, there are several negative consequences that will result.

From the picture-perfect toxic nature of Instagram to the overwhelming challenges of child pornography and online video harassment and abuse of TikTok, if people just opened their damn eyes we’d recognize and acknowledge the dangers these applications have on the malleable brains of our youth. YouTube, Gettr, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, are just a handful of platforms that have access to our minds, lives, and wallets.

Despite the growing popularity of being the cool, anti-social kid, people are meant to be social. If that wasn’t the case why did a spike in suicides occur during the Covid Lockdowns? Why is solitary confinement a harsh form of punishment? Despite the double-speak term, social media is far from normal social behavior and in fact, takes us away from the reality which surrounds us.

It makes me wonder if people don’t see or don’t care about the parallels between Ready Player One and the Oculus-Metaverse.

*See a November 15, 2021 study by Statista

Unseen Dangers

The entire blueprint of Mao Zedong was targeted at the youth when he launched the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, in 1966 Mao shut down the nation’s schools in order to mobilize the nation’s youth to attack leaders Mao thought were a threat to him and his vision of Communism. In the months that followed, the movement escalated quickly as the Chinese youth formed paramilitary groups called the Red Guards that quickly created a personality cult around Mao Zedong that urged the population to rid itself of the “Four Olds”: Old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas.

This destruction of the old culture made way for a new one and was done simple by destabilizing the identity of the youth and creating a cult-like chasm between the young and elderly.

Hitler used it with his Hitler Youth Program and Lenin with The All-Union Leninist Communist League of Youth. These political activists understood that such a program was necessary in dismantling the “old culture” and replacing it with their socialistic and tyrannical version of a new society.

“Set your house in order before you criticize the world.”

Jordan B. Peterson – “12 Rules for Life”: An Antidote to Choas

When we as adults can’t control our own pleasures and constantly get sucked into the marketing propaganda of consumerism, our youth stand no chance and will be shaped accordingly. The Huxleyan state of society of constantly being sucked into these distractions and escapes from reality is what ultimately leads to Orwellian Totalitarianism. After all, how can we recognize the state of the State if we can’t even figure our own shit out?

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