“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.’
‘In fact,’ said Mustapha Mond, ‘you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.’
‘All right then,’ said the Savage defiantly, ‘I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’
‘Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.’ There was a long silence.
‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.
Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. ‘You’re welcome,” he said.”
This conversation between John the “savage” and Mustapha Mond, Resident World Controller of Western Europe, takes place in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian science fiction novel Brave New World.
Mond had explained to John the World State’s system of castes, control and consumerism established to create order, stability and happiness. Under the World State the world’s population, economy, technology and culture are made to serve the mission statement: “Community, Identity, Stability”.
John, reared on the Savage reservation and raised on Shakespeare, rejects Mond’s world as described here:
Everyone in Mond’s society belongs: nobody experiences the pain, loneliness, and rejection that has been part of John’s character formation. Nobody in the World State ever suffers any material want, such as hunger or overcrowding. Everyone lives in a clean, new, sterile, sanitary, and bright world with lots of things to buy. Everybody is conditioned or drugged to be happy…
To John, those elements of life Mond has jettisoned are exactly what make us human. Life for John is not worth living without the possibility of deep relationships and intellectual exploration and discovery.
What brought this novel to mind is the Left’s concerted effort to produce a similar globalist World State via the Great Reset. The “public health crisis” and the (illegitimate) 2020 election are the Left’s “gain of function” mutation of our rights and laws to bring about a World State.
Leftist professors, politicians, media provoking agents, Progressives, and even the Pope would have us believe that differences of class, race, income or XYZ can be resolved and that equality and freedom can be won by “A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.”
The Pope after the 2016 election:
“It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom”. [emphasis added]
So, are we to believe that communists think like Christians (based on the communist seizure of Acts 4:32)?
Are we to choose to live under a flag of “Community, Identity, Stability”, where the people, the poor … achieve equality and freedom, and then (theoretically) be free of worry, material want, hate, isolation, disease, and would then be happy!?
I have tried to understand the heuristic behind those choosing freedom and those choosing to be free of freedom and desirous of living in a communist state. The Brave New World suggests to me that there are those who choose fail-prone freedom over happiness and those who choose fail-safe happiness over freedom. These two views are at odds. I see the difference going to the very nature of what it means to be human.
As we heard in John’s response above and from your own experience, you know that freedom involves choice. And, being able to choose goes to the very essence of being human, does it not?
A material object cannot choose. Artificial Intelligence cannot know the sense of adventure and surprise inherent in the act of choosing. Objects and AI cannot know a sense of failure or of happiness or of worry or of hope that a choice may bring about.
For those who choose fail-prone freedom, life is tragic, romantic and the sum of all human potentialities. Value is created through freedom and choice: love, goodness, charity, etc. These, taking the initiative freely, will say, “I see what needs to be changed, and it starts with me.”
(Now, you don’t want to make the same choices John “the savage” did. You’ll end up in a very dark place. But you get the gist of what I am saying.)
Those who choose fail-safe happiness over fail-prone freedom, it seems to me, trade their freedom and choices for a doled-out life of (theoretical) material security and certainty. These lay the burden of responsibility for their happiness on the World State. You can see this in the growing welfare state.
These seek to avoid pain and suffering and any effort that might bring about pain and suffering inherent in a choice. These seek the material comfort and surety promised by socialism’s “workers’ paradise.” These, lacking the initiative to choose, will say “I see what needs to be changed and it starts with you.”
For, those who choose fail-safe happiness over freedom, in order to obtain fail-safe happiness, go on to coerce, cancel and control the lives of those who do not conform to the manifesto of the World State of Happiness.
Tragically, fail-prone freedom outliers are considered less than human by the World Staters and are sent to internment camps. You either live in the ‘civilized’ World State of the ‘enlightened’ ‘real’ people or you live as barely human on the Savage Reservation.
There are no families and no religion in the World State. Babies are engineered and hatched in the World State. Babies occur naturally within families on the Reservation. There is a syncretic religiosity on the Reservation. Those of the World State voyeuristically watch the savages and worship the assembly line developer Henry Ford.
When the World State requires you to give up your freedom along with your rights and your property so that it can mete out happiness in the form of physical well-being and solidarity with others in similar chains, what will happen to you? Years ago, I wanted to understand the World State of Happiness, aka, communism, and the threat it imposed on humanity.
During the early eighties I read the three volumes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s’ The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. (I doubt that Pope Francis has ever read these accounts of the devastation to human beings incurred under communism. He prefers messaging that affirms his Marxist World State religion.)
As I learned from my reading, communism dehumanizes. And, as humans are wont to do, Solzhenitsyn rebelled against the imposition of inhumanity – a communist rule. The rule had begun as an ideology to put things right and ended as an institution of purges, mass murders and gulag camps.
“Communism is as crude an attempt to explain society and the individual as if a surgeon were to perform his delicate operations with a meat ax. All that is subtle in human psychology and in the structure of society (which is even more complex), all of this is reduced to crude economic processes. The whole created being—man—is reduced to matter. It is characteristic that Communism is so devoid of arguments that it has none to advance against its opponents in our Communist countries. It lacks arguments and hence there is the club, the prison, the concentration camp, and insane asylums with forced confinement.”
― Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West
What is certain if you choose fail-prone freedom over happiness is that you are “claiming the right to be unhappy.”
What is certain if you choose fail-safe happiness over freedom: your claiming the right to be happy will not be heard. For, you will have been “reduced to matter”. Your human nature will be eradicated in your quest for security and stability, aka, happiness.
George Orwell’s 1984, Animal Farm
C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength
Theodore Dalrymple’s The Wilder Shores of Marx: Journeys in a Vanishing World