By Michael Blain
A predetermined and prefabricated society under complete surveillance has been a fear of intellectuals and the socially conscious for eons, yet the majority of first world citizens across the Earth do not realize that this is already happening. Brave New World had a government that determined your future possibilities before your life was created scientifically in a dish by relegating a person as an alpha, beta or gamma. This was how it worked in the normal, acceptable society akin to our current first world economies, and on the savage reservations, humans could be born naturally but were forced to live in extremely dangerous conditions for survival, like our current third world economies. In our present day, the creation of humans still relies mostly on individual free will, with the exception of child restrictions that exist within China, for example, although this just causes the inhabitants of rural areas of their country to neglect to report the creation of child that exceeds the limitations for fear that the child may be taken away from them.
The distinctive ideas that are already in full swing from the predictions of Brave New World are the aspects of predetermination. People are being endlessly put on one way tracks in their lives and careers before they even notice what has truly happened to them. A gifted student gets separated from the rest of the pack and put into advanced and challenging curriculum courses, whilst a student that may be struggling early on in their education may easily be bogged down in remedial courses for the duration of their schooling without even the slightest option to excel. McDonald’s, one of the largest corporations on the globe, also does their best to keep workers as specifically deskilled to advancement as possible, meaning someone hired as a fry cook has a zero percent chance of ever becoming a manager regardless of the potential they may exude. And the worst part is that people seem comfortable with it. To quote the novel, “All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.”
The most negative aspects and warnings of Brave New World may still be yet to come, but the most fearful ideas in 1984, a novel written by George Orwell in 1949, already surround us each and every day. It is terrifying that if you have an idea that could make life in this world better and it conflicts with the already established societal norms put in place by governments and the media, you are instantly deemed a criminal. 1984 had Thought Police, who could arrest you for even thinking about something revolutionary, and we are only a few baby steps away from that. The revolutionaries in Egypt, in America with Occupy Wall Street and countless other nations are considered criminals by the powers that be for non-violently voicing their opinions about grave injustices. Governments and militaries would rather see them dead than have them assembled in the streets resisting corrupt ideals that have already been in place for far too long. As the book says: “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death.”
In 1984, citizens were under surveillance at all times through endless cameras, microchips and even monitoring of individual brains themselves. Although we do not currently possess the technology to monitor thoughts, we are already filming and tracking a vast amount of the world’s population. London has cameras watching people literally everywhere, and new parents are asking for microchips to be put into their babies for what they think is an intelligent safety precaution. No one seems to be consistently protesting the cameras in London, and people are actually asking for the microchips without being pressured. That is how the dire warnings of these two novels are coming true. People think they can’t possibly be forced into a society that they want no part of whatsoever, but they are not being forced; they are being manipulated into begging for it. The governmental entity that controlled everything in 1984 was referred to as Big Brother, so I guess the most poignant question is: Do you really love Big Brother?