The ultimate goal of mind control experiments is not to create mind-controlled assets or Manchurian Candidates, as some may think. The goal of these experiments is mass mind control and technological psychosocialisation on a societal scale, like with Soma in Huxley’s Brave New World.
With populist parties and movements gaining influence not only in North America but in Europe and Latin America as well, many have been predicting a new era of authoritarianism, such as portrayed by George Orwell in 1984 or by Margaret Atwood in The Handmaid’s Tale. But the more likely model for future tyranny is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where the masters are not hoary Stalinoids or fanatical fundamentalists, but gentle, rational executives known as “World Controllers.”
The Controllers preside over a World State composed of five biologically engineered social castes, from Alphas at the top to Epsilons at the bottom. Alphas take for granted their pre-eminence and their right to the labour of lower castes. People no longer have children, since humans are developed in vats. Families have been abolished, except in a few distant “savage reservations.” Citizens of the World State live in amenity-rich dormitories and enjoy pleasurable pharmaceuticals and unconstrained sex without commitment or consequences. This family-free life is similar to how Mark Zuckerberg described his ideal Facebook employees: “We may not own a car. We may not have a family. Simplicity in life is what allows you to focus on what’s important.”
Huxley’s scenario eerily resembles what today’s oligarchs favour: a society conditioned by technology and ruled by an elite with superior intelligence. The power of the Controllers in Brave New World resides mostly in their ability to mould cultural values: like those at the top of today’s clerisy they suppress unacceptable ideas not by brute force but by characterising them as deplorable, risible, absurd, or even pornographic. Because their pronouncements are accepted as authoritative, they can run a thought-dictatorship far more subtle, and efficient, than that of Mussolini, Hitler, or Stalin.
Today’s clerisy includes university professors, scientists, public intellectuals, and heads of charitable foundations. They tend to believe themselves more enlightened than the average person — on attitudes about the family, for example — and seek to impose their own standards through the media, the education system, and various arenas of cultural production.
In the past, religion and the priesthood occupied the position of ministering to the masses and imbuing in them the values of the State. Today, that position has been secularised and is now occupied by legions of so-called scientists, experts, and fact-checkers. Scientism is the new religion. Science denial, the new heresy. Twitter de-platforming and de-banking, the new witch-burning. The enemy of the establishment is the “wild man”; rural and suburban denizens who bear a stronger allegiance to their own community and its unique values than to the wider establishment and its homogenising and stultifying agendas.
Many working-class people in developed countries correctly sense that their living standards are declining. In the US, home ownership is becoming more difficult to attain. This is not an accident. Our financial system uses overvalued homes as a reservoir of value. The Elites of society would prefer it if we all lived in high-density housing and are pricing us out of the low-density housing market on purpose.
However, they also realise that – just as it stresses out chickens or cows when one stuffs them in cages situated atop one another, stewing in each other’s excrement – city living is also immensely stressful for human beings, hence the need for countless technological, medical, and psychosocial interventions to make free men more comfortable with being reshaped into a disenfranchised slave caste, stripped of property rights and stuffed in a rented pod apartment, valued only for their ability to produce labour and consume frivolous trinkets and keep the giant pyramid scheme going for just a few years more, so the looter class can run off with even more money and consolidate their already immeasurable power.
Mind control is one such intervention.
In coming decades, today’s clerisy could employ “new intellectual technology” as a means of “‘ordering’ the mass society,” as Daniel Bell predicted – a sociologist who’s the unacknowledged prophet of Tony Blair’s third way. Bell’s work stands out as astonishingly prescient in its anticipation of the concerns and concepts which dominate political debate in both Britain and the US, Prospect Magazine noted.
Technology might be employed to reprogram attitudes on everything from the environment to the notion of “unconscious bias” against racial and sexual minorities. Companies like Google as well as college campuses already use technology to monitor and “correct” the thinking of employees. The Chinese government’s efforts to monitor thoughts and regulate opinion, sometimes assisted by US tech firms, could prove a harbinger of things to come in Europe, Australia, and North America.
But as Aldous Huxley observed, scientists and other experts do not own a monopoly on either virtue or political wisdom. And there are clear dangers in ceding too much power to unelected and unaccountable elites who claim moral authority or expertise backed by higher education.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes – who watches the watchers?
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In the interview below, Aldous Huxley shares his visions and fears for this brave new world.
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