George Orwell’s 1984 pictures Big Brother as suppressing free thought. In his world, a fascist regime discourages reading books, free thought and education. The resultant society is completely jejune. And so through fascism, the world falls into meaninglessness and irrelevancy. Truth becomes reticent in a society ruled by fear.
Arguing for the same results but by entirely different means, Aldous Huxley penned Brave New World. In this universe, pleasure, leisure and technology freely avail themselves. Because of humanity’s fondness for pleasure, life becomes trivial. When one can pop a soma, why think?
Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death insightfully comments, “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 run us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us” (xx).
According to Postman, Huxley prophesied rightly. We live in world ruined by our propensity for pleasure. Entertainment tyrannizes our time, media dominates our thoughts, and a sound-bite culture cripples our ability to relate facts to life. We hear of wars and rumors of wars and we shrug it off, like any other piece of information that comes our way. We are blinded to any sort of imperative on our life to act on what we hear.
God cares about how we live, use technology, and take leisure. As we begin to explore the Bible’s teaching on these matters, we need to open our mind up to seeing the big picture, to seeing how facts relate to one another, to seeing the unity of the message of Scripture. We will see how God created us in his image and how that dramatically affects how we live our life.
So don’t pop a soma, but start think hardly (not hardly thinking!)