1984 or Brave New World? Who was right – Orwell or Huxley?
The cartoon sequence below, a visual adaptation of passages from Neil Postman’s seminal Amusing Ourselves to Death by artist Stuart McMillan, is featured in a stimulating openDemocracy article just published under the title ‘Are you cultivating knowledge – or just consuming information?’ I’m reproducing it here because I think it speaks to some fundamental concerns of our times.
While highlighting the main thrust of the cartoon’s warnings regarding the dangers of ‘amusing ourselves to death’, article author Gregory Ciotti nonetheless argues that it, along with much contemporary discussion of the internet’s impact on human behaviour and consciousness, is in danger of both oversimplifiying matters. Critically too, what’s often left out of the debate, he argues, “is the fact that emerging technologies are a double-edged sword. Whether the internet is a mindless distraction or the greatest educational tool ever invented is all in how you use it.” (my italics).
See what you think!