January 11th, 2003


News News

Due to the current LJ problems syndicated news wasn't picked up at all yesterday. So, I woke up this afternoon to all of my news at once, which turned out to be 112 article headlines. Or which I opened 13. Not bad for all the news of the day that interests me.

Now to read them all.

This is your future

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, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". 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.

From the introduction to Amusing Ourselves to Death

Not interconnected

Interconnected had something to say on the subject of lessening social contact and the fact that nobody knows the people living next door any more.

I think it's fairly simple - I don't need to be very social, so I'm not. If you're self sufficient, then you don't need to form more than perfunctory bonds with those around you. This is, of course, more true in cities, where all of your needs are commoditised rather than in less urban environments, where you have to actually interact with the provider of your needs.

Also, in ye olden days I'd only have those people around me to be social with. Nowadays my social circle is largely composed of people I'm unlikely to meet, due to the internet. This is fantastic in some ways (I'd never normally be able to meet people with interests like that) and terrible in others( I'm not making social contact with those around me).