Sunday Preview: Brave New Technology

In the 20th century, two popular dystopian novels were written: 1984 (by George Orwell) and Brave New World (by Aldous Huxley). Neil Postman, in the foreword to his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, said the following about these books:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture….In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

Postman notes that American culture has become much more like Brave New World than 1984, and perhaps he is right. There is currently a narrative in our society of what human flourishing looks like, and increasingly it resembles the dysfunction described in Brave New World. In contrast, the Scriptures paint a narrative of what human flourishing looks like, and it is in direct opposition to the current view. In this series, we will take a fresh look at our society’s narrative of human flourishing and critique it in light of what Jesus and the Scriptures say.