top of page

George Orwell vs. Aldous Huxley: 1984 Oder Schöne Neue Welt? | ARTE-Doku

Data storage, fake news, designer babies, and the widespread use of antidepressants—today's reality has almost caught up with yesterday's fiction. Over 70 years ago, two writers warned about such developments in "Brave New World" and "1984." The striking similarities were evident when "1984" reappeared on the bestseller lists in the United States after Donald Trump was elected President. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell proved to be visionary thinkers. These two Englishmen were contemporaries, with Huxley born in Godalming, Sussex, in 1894, and Orwell, whose real name was Eric Blair, born in Motihari, India, in 1903. Their paths crossed at the renowned Eton College, although they came from completely different worlds—Huxley hailed from a British intellectual dynasty, while Orwell grew up in impoverished circumstances. Orwell read "Brave New World" shortly after its publication and sent his novel "1984" to Huxley immediately after it was released. In response, Huxley wrote to Orwell, regarding his novel as "fundamentally important," but noting that the future could not be reduced to a policy of sheer violence—a "boot stamping on a human face." In other words, Huxley believed that his vision of the future was more likely: a "perfect" dictatorship built on scientific methods, where individuals are programmed to willingly serve and even love their enslavement. In Orwell's version, however, totalitarianism controls thoughts and employs deliberate lies and constant surveillance. Are the different nightmarish future scenarios envisioned by Huxley and Orwell a result of their contrasting life paths? And do we currently reside more in the world of "1984" or in the "Brave New World"?


bottom of page