You can quote several words to match them as a full term:
"some text to search"
otherwise, the single words will be understood as distinct search terms.
ANY of the entered words would match

What ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984’ got wrong and what ‘The Castle’ got right

What ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984’ got wrong and what ‘The Castle’ got right

Charles Hugh Smith compares the writings of Kafka, Huxley and Orwell in the context of our current predicament.

For self-evident reasons, the fictional visions of Orwell and Huxley resonate as maps to current ails being afflicted on the world. But what Kafka got right, Smith says, is how societies can become busily dysfunctional.

In 1926, Franz Kafka published his book ‘The Castle’ which has been described as a highly symbolic, and oddly humourous, allegory in which divine grace meets the slowly grinding machinery of the bureaucratic state and a pioneering work of existentialism, an intellectual movement that explores questions related to the meaning, purpose and value of human existence.

In 1932, Aldous Huxley published his book ‘Brave New World’ which presents a nightmarish vision of a future society.  As Britannica notes:

In 1949, George Orwell published his book ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, often referred to as ‘1984’, which describes a chilling dystopia.  As Britannica summarises:

Let’s not lose touch…Your Government and Big Tech are actively trying to censor the information reported by The Exposé to serve their own needs. Subscribe now to make sure you receive the latest uncensored news in your inbox…

What Orwell and Huxley Got Wrong and Kafka Got Right

By Charles Hugh Smith

For self-evident reasons, the fictional visions of Orwell and Huxley resonate as maps to the present distemper. Orwell’s account of full-spectrum technological totalitarianism maps Big Tech’s mastery of Surveillance Capitalism and governments’ full-spectrum surveillance powering the fine-grained coercion of social credit scores and related tools.

Huxley’s vision of a doped-up, med-dependent populace that loves its servitude also maps the present. Indeed, not only do we love our servitude – which manifests in our endless addictions and dependencies on everything from debt to junk food to painkillers – our servitude has been so normalised that we don’t even recognise the servitude that underpins “normal life.”

What Orwell and Huxley got wrong is the limits of these nightmarishly effective systems of control. Full-spectrum technological totalitarianism can certainly enforce compliance with the desired behaviours and expressions of consent, but it can’t force individuals to have ambition or creativity, to marry for love and children, or possess values or beliefs beyond the superficial lip-syncing of compliance.

The coercive structures of the Surveillance State and Surveillance Capitalism are intrinsically inauthentic, ersatz and hollow, demanding an entirely artificial and easily faked appearance of consent that mimics devotion to the principles and narratives being shoved down the throats of the populace.

These structures enforce what isn’t allowed and superficial compliance, but they can’t force what actually makes a society functional: the convictions, hopes and values that inspire people to marry, raise a family and pursue self-expression via achievement. What actually happens in societies controlled by the Surveillance State and Surveillance Capitalism is decay and decline, as young people abandon ambition, marriage and raising children by “lying flat and letting it rot,” expressions of young people in China that speak to youth everywhere where compliance is more important than individual liberty.

If you doubt these dynamics, please observe the dismay of authorities as their national marriage and birth rates collapse. All sorts of explanations for this collapse are offered, except the ones that count: societies that require an appearance of consent are inauthentic, hollow shells.

The same can be said of doped-up, med-dependent, entertainment-addicted societies that love their servitude. People give up ambition, marriage and raising children due to soaring costs, out-of-reach financial security, and the debilitating consequences of all the Soma, meds, addictions, distractions and derangements that are accepted as “normal.”

What Kafka got right is “everyone’s super-busy but nothing getsdone.” In Kafka’s novel ‘The Castle’, the bureaucracy toiling unseen in the Castle is bustling 24/7, but nothing actually gets done in the impoverished village below. Attempts to reach the bureaucracy by phone are futile, as calls are only picked up randomly or as pranks.

(“You’ve reached the DMV, the IRS, Xfinity, Engulf and Devour Healthcare, etc. Your call is very important to us…”)

In Kafka’s fictional world, the authority to actually get anything done is always out of reach. In The Castle, the leader who supposedly has the power to approve projects sits isolated in his office, unreachable and unapproachable, though he can be seen reading a newspaper through a peephole. Whether he actually possesses the power to approve anything is an open question with no answer.

Kafka’s world is one of cowed peasants bickering among themselves, nurturing grudges and speculating fruitlessly about the cloaked conspiracies of the authorities in the Castle. The sexual predations of the authorities and the dismal fates of they used and abandoned are described in whispers, and what work that is available is menial and poorly paid.

What Kafka got right is how societies can become busily dysfunctional, cluttered with unseen lines of authority that may not actually have the authority their official titles suggest, an inscrutably unreachable, unseen bureaucracy and an impoverished populace muddling along on gossip and rumours.

Stripped of gaslighting, fake optimism and empty exhortations to you only live once (“YOLO”) borrow and spend, that’s a fair description of our current situation. Yes, yes, everything’s wunnerful, it’s ‘The Roaring 20s’ all over again (never mind how the 1920s ended), artificial intelligence (“AI”) is gonna make corporations trillions in profits by further immiserating the populace, oops I mean “improving productivity,” and our tireless authorities are hard at work solving all our problems – don’t you hear the whirring of the “money” printing presses running 24/7?

About the Author

Charles Hugh Smith is an American author, blogger, independent journalist and analyst who lives in Hawaii. He has authored 18 books on the economy, society, artificial intelligence, education, jobs, money, burnout, self-reliance and 9 novels.  Smith publishes articles on his blog ‘Of Two Minds’ and on a Substack page titled ‘Charles Hugh Smith’s Substack’.

Featured image: The Castle (1998 edition). Brave New World (2006 edition). Nineteen Eighty-Four (2020 edition)

The Expose Urgently Needs Your Help...

Can you please help power The Expose’s honest, reliable, powerful journalism for the years to come…

Your Government & Big Tech organisations
such as Google, Facebook, Twitter & PayPal
are trying to silence & shut down The Expose.

So we need your help to ensure
we can continue to bring you the
facts the mainstream refuse to…

We’re not funded by the Government
to publish lies & propaganda
on their
behalf like the mainstream media.

Instead, we rely solely on our support. So
please support us in our efforts to bring you
honest, reliable, investigative journalism
today. It’s secure, quick and easy…

Just choose your preferred method
to show your support below support

Read the full article at the original website


Subscribe to The Article Feed

Don’t miss out on the latest articles. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only articles.