Which one?


  1. Simon Riley

    I read both of these at school in the mid 80s and, at the time of the Cold War, Threads etc, Orwell’s dystopia felt the more resonant. But now it feels like Orwell, fashionable though he has become, was all about the threat of a descent into totalitarianism which, in the West at least, has long since receded. For me, the rise of a kind of amoral scientism, a blind belief in “science as progress” is much more alarming, as the philosopher John Gray has described in books like Straw Dogs. So it’s Huxley just now.

  2. Andrew Braithwaite

    Even a cursory glance back through human history would demonstrate that as a race we will ultimately seek to escape fear even if that means confronting the source of it. Sadly this is not the case with things that delight us, as a race we seem unable to give up the things/habits we love even if we know they will lead to our own demise.

    Huxley all the way

  3. Puneet Pandey

    Fear and fascination are two different ways through which imagination escapes the boundaries of the immediate. running parallel, sometimes attempting to outdo each other. One is embedded in the other. Space research for example – what drove our endeavours? was it curiosity or fear? both? both fuelling each other? both morphing into each other?

  4. Mark lester (@Lestermarky)

    Deirdre Barrett’s Supernormal Stimuli (http://www.amazon.com/Supernormal-Stimuli-Overran-Evolutionary-Purpose/dp/039306848X) adds further rigor to the question and gives weight to both camps. Her premise is that instincts shaped 10,000 years ago on the savannahs of Africa are wrecking havoc now that we control our environment. Fight or flight and territorial urges now mapped on to nuclear arsenals; cravings for rare ingredients like sugar now swallowing from the fire-hose of the modern food industry.

  5. Sean Peake

    Huxley seems more relevant now. Communism/fascism (two sides of the same coin) now has a smiley face but its foundation of scientism is alive and well as the global warming debate shows. Lysenko would be pleased.

  6. Brendon Guthrie

    Back in 1986, Neil Postman published ‘Amusing Ourselves To Death’ based on the same conclusion; Huxley got it right. Nothing I’ve seen or heard since suggests Postman got it wrong.