Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aldous Huxley: The Ultimate Revolution, March 20, 1962

Berkeley Language Center | November 6, 2006

"There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their
servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless
concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away
from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by
propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this
seems to be the final revolution."
Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961
Questions / Answers
Transcript - The Ultimate Revolution
March 20, 1962 Berkeley Language Center - Speech Archive SA 0269
{garbled}Aldous Huxley, a renowned Essayist and Novelist who during the spring semester is
residing at the university in his capacity of a Ford research professor. Mr Huxley has recently
returned from a conference at the Institute for the study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara
where the discussion focused on the development of new techniques by which to control and direct
human behavior. Traditionally it has been possible to suppress individual freedom through the
application of physical coercion through the appeal of ideologies through the manipulation of
man's physical and social environment and more recently through the techniques, the cruder
techniques of psychological conditioning. The Ultimate Revolution, about which Mr. Huxley will
speak today, concerns itself with the development of new behavioral controls, which operate
directly on the psycho-physiological organisms of man. That is the capacity to replace external
constraint by internal compulsions. As those of us who are familiar with Mr. Huxley's works will
know, this is a subject of which he has been concerned for quite a period of time. Mr. Huxley
will make a presentation of approximately half an hour followed by some brief discussions and
questions by the two panelists sitting to my left, Mrs. Lillian {garbled} and Mr. John Post. Now Mr.
Thank You.
Uh, First of all, the, I'd like to say, that the conference at Santa Barbara was not directly concerned
with the control of the mind. That was a conference, there have been two of them now, at the
University of California Medical center in San Francisco, one this year which I didn't attend, and
one two years ago where there was a considerable discussion on this subject. At Santa Barbara we
were talking about technology in general and the effects it's likely to have on society and the
problems related to technological transplanting of technology into underdeveloped countries.
Well now in regard to this problem of the ultimate revolution, this has been very well summed up
by the moderator. In the past we can say that all revolutions have essentially aimed at changing the
environment in order to change the individual. I mean there's been the political revolution, the
economic revolution, in the time of the reformation, the religious revolution. All these aimed, not
directly at the human being, but at his surroundings. So that by modifying the surroundings you did
achieve, did one remove the effect of the human being.
Today we are faced, I think, with the approach of what may be called the ultimate revolution, thefinal revolution, where man can act directly on the mind-body of his fellows. Well needless to saysome kind of direct action on human mind-bodies has been going on since the beginning of time.But this has generally been of a violent nature. The Techniques of terrorism have been known fromtime immemorial and people have employed them with more or less ingenuity sometimes with theutmost cruelty, sometimes with a good deal of skill acquired by a process of trial and error findingout what the best ways of using torture, imprisonment, constraints of various kinds.
But, as, I think it was (sounds like Mettenicht) said many years ago, you can do everything with
{garbled} except sit on them. If you are going to control any population for any length of time, you
must have some measure of consent, it's exceedingly difficult to see how pure terrorism can
function indefinitely. It can function for a fairly long time, but I think sooner or later you have to
bring in an element of persuasion an element of getting people to consent to what is happening to
It seems to me that the nature of the ultimate revolution with which we are now faced is precisely
this: That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the
controlling oligarchy who have always existed and presumably will always exist to get people to
love their servitude. This is the, it seems to me, the ultimate in malevolent revolutions shall we say,
and this is a problem which has interested me many years and about which I wrote thirty years ago,
a fable, Brave New World, which is an account of society making use of all the devices available
and some of the devices which I imagined to be possible making use of them in order to, first of all,
to standardize the population, to iron out inconvenient human differences, to create, to say, mass
produced models of human beings arranged in some sort of scientific caste system. Since then, I
have continued to be extremely interested in this problem and I have noticed with increasing dismay
a number of the predictions which were purely fantastic when I made them thirty years ago have
come true or seem in process of coming true.
A number of techniques about which I talked seem to be here already. And there seems to be a
general movement in the direction of this kind of ultimate revolution, a method of control by which
a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to
enjoy. This, the enjoyment of servitude, Well this process is, as I say, has gone on for over the years,
and I have become more and more interested in what is happening.
And here I would like briefly to compare the parable of Brave New World with another parable
which was put forth more recently in George Orwell's book, Nineteen Eighty- Four. Orwell wrote
his book between, I think between 45 and 48 at the time when the Stalinist terror regime was still in
Full swing and just after the collapse of the Hitlerian terror regime. And his book which I admire
greatly, it's a book of very great talent and extraordinary ingenuity, shows, so to say, a projection
into the future of the immediate past, of what for him was the immediate past, and the immediate
present, it was a projection into the future of a society where control was exercised wholly by
terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals.
Whereas my own book which was written in 1932 when there was only a mild dictatorship in the
form of Mussolini in existence, was not overshadowed by the idea of terrorism, and I was therefore

free in a way in which Orwell was not free, to think about these other methods of control, these
non-violent methods and my, I'm inclined to think that the scientific dictatorships of the future,
and I think there are going to be scientific dictatorships in many parts of the world, will be probably
a good deal nearer to the brave new world pattern than to the 1984 pattern, they will a good deal
nearer not because of any humanitarian qualms of the scientific dictators but simply because the
BNW pattern is probably a good deal more efficient than the other.
That if you can get people to consent to the state of affairs in which they're living. The state of
servitude, the state of being, having their differences ironed out, and being made amenable to mass
production methods on the social level, if you can do this, then you have, you are likely, to have a
much more stable and lasting society. Much more easily controllable society than you would if
you were relying wholly on clubs and firing squads and concentration camps. So that my own
feeling is that the 1984 picture was tinged of course by the immediate past and present in which
Orwell was living, but the past and present of those years does not reflect, I feel, the likely trend of
what is going to happen, needless to say we shall never get rid of terrorism, it will always find its
way to the surface.
But I think that insofar as dictators become more and more scientific, more and more concerned
with the technically perfect, perfectly running society, they will be more and more interested in the
kind of techniques which I imagined and described from existing realities in BNW. So that, it seems
to me then, that this ultimate revolution is not really very far away, that we, already a number of
techniques for bringing about this kind of control are here, and it remains to be seen when and
where and by whom they will first be applied in any large scale.
And first let me talk about the, a little bit about the, improvement in the techniques of
terrorism. I think there have been improvements. Pavlov after all made some extremely profound
observations both on animals and on human beings. And he found among other things that
conditioning techniques applied to animals or humans in a state either of psychological or physical
stress sank in so to say, very deeply into the mind-body of the creature, and were extremely difficult
to get rid of. That they seemed to be embedded more deeply than other forms of conditioning.
And this of course, this fact was discovered empirically in the past. People did make use of many of
these techniques, but the difference between the old empirical intuitive methods and our own
methods is the difference between the, a sort of, hit and miss craftsman's point of view and the
genuinely scientific point of view. I think there is a real difference between ourselves and say the
inquisitors of the 16th century. We know much more precisely what we are doing, than they knew
and we can extend because of our theoretical knowledge, we can extend what we are doing over a
wider area with a greater assurance of being producing something that really works.
In this context I would like to mention the extremely interesting chapters in Dr. William (sounds
like Seargent's) Battle for the Mind where he points out how intuitively some of the great religious
teachers/leaders of the past hit on the Pavlovian method, he speaks specifically of Wesley's method
of producing conversions which were essentially based on the technique of heightening
psychological stress to the limit by talking about hellfire and so making people extremely
vulnerable to suggestion and then suddenly releasing this stress by offering hopes of heaven
and this is a very interesting chapter of showing how completely on purely intuitive and empirical
grounds a skilled natural psychologist, as Wesley was, could discover these Pavlovian methods.
Well, as I say, we now know the reason why these techniques worked and there's no doubt at all that
we can if we wanted to, carry them much further than was possible in the past. And of course in the
history of, recent history of brainwashing, both as applied to prisoners of war and to the lower
personnel within the communist party in China, we see that the pavlovian methods have been
applied systematically and with evidently with extraordinary efficacy. I think there can be no doubt
that by the application of these methods a very large army of totally devoted people has been …

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simple Gifts - Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
"Simple Gifts" by Shaker, Elder Joseph, 1848

Friday, January 14, 2011

"compromise" procedure

The historic taboo associated with the examination of female genitalia has long inhibited the science of gynaecology. This 1822 drawing by Jacques-Pierre Maygnier shows a "compromise" procedure, in which the physician is kneeling before the woman but cannot see her genitalia. Modern gynaecology has shed these inhibitions.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is modern

JAN 12 - 
What is modern

Anil Bhattarai’s latest article was a nice read and I hope he continues to write with this improved presentation (“We are all modern,” Jan. 11, Page 6). As Bhattarai wrote, we may envision New Nepal and write flowery text to highlight a modern Nepal, but the bitter truth belies us. While modernity has meant bungalows and Pajeros to some powerful people, many Nepalis are still without two square meals a day. We cannot solve Nepal’s problems with grand statements of being the next Switzerland or Singapore in ten years, but we can follow the author’s direction to initiate small and feasible improvements. We are constantly thinking about big changes, like in education, healthcare and business. But the only way to initiate any change is by doing the little things right.  Being modern means different things to different people. Not only our politicians have the right to modernity. Average Nepalis can be modern by being accountable for their actions.

Santosh Kalwar

Ratnanagar, Chitwan

Source: The Kathmandu Post

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where is the milk?

There was a small village in a northern Himalaya. Every individual in the village where very intelligent and social. But they had one great problem to solve. They had scarcity of milk in the village. There were not enough cows and the problem was that not every individual could feed their children.

They decided to arrange a meeting to further discuss this matter. Thousands of villagers gathered in one common friendly place. Five of the elites were selected to make final decision; they all sat under a tree and started to discuss.

“Today, we are going to discuss about our problem, which is:
How can we solve the problem of collecting enough milk so that everyone can feed their children’s,” said one of the elite member.

“You can form a group of hundred and start the discussion, and one team member can report us your suggestion,” said another elite member.

They all started to discuss the problem. Finally, they came up with one final solution. A member from the elite group has to make final decision so he said,
“Okay, it seems that we have come up with common great idea.

The idea is that everybody will help in digging a pond and put amount of milk they have in their home.
There is no suitable solution than this one, so let us implement this idea by tonight,

Just remember that everybody has to put milk in a pond.

Therefore, tomorrow morning, we will share the milk from the pond. Now the meeting is closed and everybody should go back home and collect the milk they have and put the milk by mid-night.”

All the villagers went back to their home and started to re-think on the idea. 
One villager thought, “What if I put water instead of the milk, nobody will find any difference. Besides, I will save my own share of the milk.”

Next morning, all the villagers gathered in a pond they were all expecting to collect the milk. They were all spellbound and socked; they were gazing at each other,

One villager said, “I see only the water in a pond, where is the milk?”

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Passport adventure

DEC 29 -
As technology engulfs the world, every office and organisation must become tech-centric. Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in our own country has launched the much hyped Machine Readable Passport (MRP). The good news for me was that I could apply for one of these high-tech passports for my wife. The bad news was that we still had to stand in a long line to do so.

On the first day of our passport adventure, we went to the MoFA and waited in a queue to receive a “free passport application form.” We were excited to see that the queue was quite short; it only took us five hours to reach the front. Feeling pretty good, we decided to fill out the application the next day.

On the second day, we hurried to the Ministry to get in line to submit the application form. The tail of the queue was at Narayanhiti Durbar Museum where we popped in and waited for our turn. Patiently, we waited, and waited, and waited. The sun was shining bright and the blue sky had no sign of rain. We had reached the Ministry of Education and Sports when a police officer approached and said, “Please come tomorrow, you cannot submit the application today.”  Wow, a whole day lost and we hadn’t even submitted the application.

On the third day, we wised up and arrived much earlier, before sunrise, around 7 in the morning. Surely this was early enough that we would manage to submit the application—especially considering the government offices do not open before 10. Another journey in the queue had begun and we patiently waited our turn. Finally, we managed to secure a place at the window where the prized application would be submitted.

But a government officer on the other side of the window said, “You cannot write your application in ball-pen; write it in jell-pen or print it with the help of a computer and bring it again.” As we disappointedly trudged home, ordinary citizens of New Nepal, we took solace in the face that we had at least made many friends during our days of line-waiting.

On the fourth day, we arrived at the MoFA earliest yet, while the city was still sleeping, around 4 am. Our beloved queue had now become routine and we were no longer surprised to end the day without having accomplished our goal, nor to plan to return the following day.

Finally, on the fifth day, we were able to submit an application after answering a few questions asked by a government officer. Lesson learned: It is hard enough to be a V.I.P. in Nepal; it is even harder to be an ordinary person.

Posted on: 2010-12-30 09:11
Published: The Kathmandu Post