The Future of Man in the Brave New World
by Vigen Guroian
Over the course of the past century, two modern dystopias captured readers’ imaginations more than any other literary works of their kind. Many read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948) as prophecy or admonition that if humankind were not careful, the future might look like one or the other. Of the two, Orwell’s novel seemed the most possible. It depicted a technologically advanced version of the sorts of totalitarian regimes with which the twentieth century was all too familiar. Today, however, Brave New World may be the more relevant. Recent extraordinary advances in biomedicine, biotechnology, and communications that Huxley uncannily anticipated have given it unexpected relevance, over seventy years after it first appeared.
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Vigen Guroian was, until his retirement, Professor of Religious Studies in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His books include Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination (2002) and The Orthodox Reality: Culture, Theology, and Ethics in the Modern World (Baker Academic, 2018).
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