This isn’t a usual post, but I have found it helpful in thinking about the world I live in, so I offer it to you as well. I hope we continue to see that our greatest threats are often within ourselves.
In the forward to Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman contrasts the ideas given in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and by doing so, brings a very chilling reality to mind:
Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.
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.
This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Have you, “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions”? Can it be possible that you are, “slaves to various passions and pleasures” (Titus 3:3)? Are the things you love your heaviest and strongest chains? Are you being ruined by what you love?
This is especially important for Christians who are commanded to love God with all their mind (Matthew 22:37). It is crucial that the church of Jesus does not sacrifice their minds at the altar of entertainment, pop culture, and pleasure. Let it not be said that the Satan’s thinkers are more studious and serious than Christ’s. Satan enslaves with a velvet rope. It feels good to the touch, but enslaves nonetheless.
Throw off everything that hinders and run with your eyes on Christ and your mind fully given to Him.