Tag: Philosophy

Peacock’s ‘Brave New World’: A Review

A television adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World is currently on NBC’s new streaming service Peacock, and it is a fresh take on a tired genre. Often compared to George Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World is also considered to be a work of political prophecy, and is, in my opinion, at least, far more worrisome, mainly because of a single widely known phrase: “opium of the people”.

Originally said by Karl Marx, the “opium of the people” he was referring to was organized religion, criticizing it for how it reduced the immediate suffering of the oppressed with a pleasant illusion, keeping them in their low status and preventing them from seeing that they’re being oppressed in the first place. While in Huxley’s Brave New World religion is an extinct practice, the “opium of the people” is replaced with something new, and a far more literal interpretation of the metaphor: soma, which is a pharmaceutical drug that the population take regularly to chemically alter their brains and make unpleasant thoughts disappear.

Aldous Huxley himself | Image via Cannes

The show largely follows the same plot as the book, where a woman by the name of Lenine Crowne and a man by the name of Bernard Marx take a vacation to what are considered the “Savage Lands”, which are the few areas on the globe where the authority of the World State does not reach, and where the people still live by our current practices, including but not limited to monogamy, family, currency, and religion, which are all considered to be primitive and outdated by the people of New London. There, Bernard and Lenine meet a woman named Linda and her son John, and through a series of events I won’t spoil for you, John ends up in New London, and must learn how to adapt to living in a strict social hierarchy where any privacy is forbidden and love is considered a sickness.

Compared to George Orwell’s 1984, I personally consider Huxley’s Brave New World to be a far grimmer depiction of our future. In a society where emotion is chemically castrated, art is dead and virtues such as generosity and sacrifice are non existent. It is an empty society, one of no culture and one that holds no values. In this way, Brave New World is not so much a political prophecy but a societal one, and one that the show adapts to television quite well, not overburdening the audience with copious amounts of exposition but instead devoting enough time to the characters for them to organically address Huxley’s themes of societal segregation, rampant consumerism, the incompatibility of happiness and truth and, of course, the dangers of an all-powerful state.

featured image via hollywood reporter

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS MAKES OVER 700 TEXTBOOKS FREE!

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambridge University Press has made textbooks free to access in HTML format until the end of May on Cambridge Core. 700 and counting published books are available on Cambridge Core to assist students and readers in their academic courses and pursuits. The following subjects are provided: economics, law, politics, science, and much more! Please do not wait to take advantage of this!

 

Cambridge University Press made this public via Twitter with a tweet that reads, “We are committed to supporting our global community of teachers, researchers and learners during the coronavirus pandemic. From free textbooks and research, to advice, guidance, blog and more, visit our website”.

80 more books and journal articles related to coronavirus are also be provided for free. If we are going to be quarantined for a while, it is best that we take advantage of those published writings on coronavirus and get educated!

 

Featured Image Via Facebook

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New Book Shows the Dangers of DNA Testing

There’s a new service out there that people are getting into. It’s sort of becoming a trend.  I’m talking about DNA testing.  I’m sure you’re familiar with companies like Ancestry or 23andMe, where they let you simply spit in a vial, send it out, and have your DNA sample analyzed and compared with other DNA samples in their database to match you with your ancestors. Although it’s a little troubling to think what these companies are doing with your DNA, I suppose it’s pretty cool to find out who your relatives are and what your genes say about you.

 

Or… is it?

 

image via amazon

 

A new book, investigating this idea, was published today by Libby Copeland. Her book, The Lost Family, follows the journey of a woman who sent her DNA to get tested, only to find out the truth about who she is and her ancestry. What started as a curious inquiry ended up becoming a quest for finding out answers – a genetic detective story.

 

The book delves into the lives that DNA testing has shaken, looking at a technology that is supposed to end the mystery and secrecy over an unknown family history.  For example, the book talks about cases where donor-received parents have dozens of siblings, people who find out that one of their parents isn’t actually their biological parent, a phenomenon known as a “non-paternity event,” and people who must grapple with their newly discovered identities from DNA testing.

 

image via university of michigan school of public health

 

Copeland’s book questions how much of the truth we should know, and if it’s something that should always be uncovered. How much our genes play a role in who we are is also questioned in her book, and if the number of DNA-testing people grows, these questions will become more and more important.

These issues that Copeland’s book highlights aren’t the only problems that widely available genetic testing kits provide, though. There’s no real guarantee that genetic testing companies (legitimate or not) won’t promise to always keep your DNA data away from government or law enforcement agencies, not to mention any third parties who may want this information in the future. There’s a lot of fine print and unknown areas. It’s a little scary, to say the least.

 

 

If you’d like to read about the many shocking discoveries that arise from DNA testing, consider checking the linked article about the dangers, and read Libby Copeland’s book, which is surely going to tickle your curiosity bone!

 

featured image via kristoffer tripplaar * sipa usa/tns

 

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