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#1 Apr 20 2012 at 6:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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http://www.highexistence.com/amusing-ourselves-to-death-huxley-vs-orwell/

I often remark that the world is becoming more stupid all the time. Guess I'm a Huxleyist, Huxonian?

Oh, and Happy Friday, nerds. Yay!
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#2 Apr 20 2012 at 6:56 AM Rating: Decent
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Tare wrote:

I often remark that the world is becoming more stupid all the time. Guess I'm a Huxleyist, Huxonian?

So, if one were to maintain the same average level of general worldy understanding while the rest of the planetary peeps devolved, then one would become extraordinarily brilliant (by comparison) with little effort. I'm gonna try that.

TGIF.


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#3 Apr 20 2012 at 7:01 AM Rating: Good
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Read it. Wasn't amused.
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#4 Apr 20 2012 at 7:08 AM Rating: Excellent
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It loses some punch when followed up by:
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Hey, I'm the creator of HighExistence. I love inspiring others to follow their bliss, which in turn fulfills my own. I live for traveling, late-night conversations and moments of intense clarity or intoxication.

"Dude, the Man is trying to make us all passive through too much entertainment! I gotta smoke a blunt and blog about this!"

Edited, Apr 20th 2012 8:08am by Jophiel
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#5 Apr 20 2012 at 7:29 AM Rating: Good
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Spent some time browsing the site, but my eyes started to hurt from rolling them too hard at the stuff like this piece of crap.
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#6 Apr 20 2012 at 7:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, I saw it on another page but I couldn't link it here, because you had to log in to see it. So, Mr. Higher Existence had to do. You got something against late night conversations!? :/
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#7 Apr 20 2012 at 7:33 AM Rating: Excellent
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#8 Apr 20 2012 at 7:34 AM Rating: Good
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Really not that interested in late night conversations that doesn't involve the phrase "You got it in my hair."
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#9 Apr 20 2012 at 7:49 AM Rating: Decent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Spent some time browsing the site, but my eyes started to hurt from rolling them too hard at the stuff like this piece of crap.

I'll have to just arrange things so that when i talk to my plants my water can overhear.
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#10 Apr 20 2012 at 7:51 AM Rating: Excellent
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The "Double Slit" experiment wasn't at all what I'd hoped Smiley: frown
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#11 Apr 20 2012 at 7:58 AM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
The "Double Slit" experiment wasn't at all what I'd hoped Smiley: frown

[:dirtyoldman:]
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#12 Apr 20 2012 at 8:30 AM Rating: Good
Either way, it's been a helluuva ride. Wheeee!!!!
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#13 Apr 20 2012 at 1:23 PM Rating: Decent
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Elinda wrote:
Tare wrote:

I often remark that the world is becoming more stupid all the time. Guess I'm a Huxleyist, Huxonian?

So, if one were to maintain the same average level of general worldy understanding while the rest of the planetary peeps devolved, then one would become extraordinarily brilliant (by comparison) with little effort. I'm gonna try that.

Yeah, Mike Judge already did.
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#14 Apr 20 2012 at 1:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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Except the Flynn Effect states that intelligence testing scores have actually been steadily increasing over time, not decreasing.

Edited, Apr 20th 2012 2:36pm by Jophiel
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#15 Apr 20 2012 at 2:12 PM Rating: Good
Looks like they were both right to me, but Huxley more so.
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#16 Apr 20 2012 at 2:17 PM Rating: Good
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Joph's link wrote:
Verbal intelligence has remained relatively flat, while non-verbal scores continue to rise.


Ah, so that explains how we're all internet physicists and lawyers, but are wholly incapable of phrasing a logical thought.

PS: It's frightening that "removal of lead paint" is cited a primary factor in the effect.
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#17 Apr 20 2012 at 2:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Eske Esquire wrote:
PS: It's frightening that "removal of lead paint" is cited a primary factor in the effect.

Only on the lower end of the spectrum. In their potential explanation of why the smartest are getting smarter, they actually come up with a possibility somewhat counter to the OP...
Wired wrote:
The question, of course, is what this stimulation might consist of? It obviously has to be extremely widespread, since the IQ gains exist at the population level. One frequently cited factor is the increasing complexity of entertainment, which might enhance abstract problem solving skills. (As Flynn himself noted, “The very fact that children are better and better at IQ test problems logically entails that they have learned at least that kind of problem-solving skill better, and it must have been learned somewhere.”) This suggests that, because people are now forced to make sense of Lost or the Harry Potter series or World of Warcraft, they’re also better able to handle hard logic puzzles. (The effect is probably indirect, with the difficult forms of culture enhancing working memory and the allocation of attention.) As Steven Johnson argued, everything bad is good for us, especially when the bad stuff has lots of minor characters and subplots. HBO is a cognitive workout.

That said, environmental stimulation remains an incomplete explanation. Even for those on the right side of the curve, intelligence gains probably have many distinct causes, from the complexity of The Wire to the social multiplier effect, which is the tendency of smart people to hang out with other smart people. (In this sense, gifted programs in schools might help drive IQ gains among the top five percent. The Internet probably helps, too.) The question, of course, is whether such factors have really changed over time. Has it gotten easier for smart people to interact with each other? Are those on the right side of the IQ distribution now more likely to have children together? Would the Flynn effect be even larger if we did more of [fill in the blank]? These questions have no easy answers, but at least we now know that they need to be answered.
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#18 Apr 20 2012 at 3:05 PM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
Eske Esquire wrote:
PS: It's frightening that "removal of lead paint" is cited a primary factor in the effect.

Only on the lower end of the spectrum. In their potential explanation of why the smartest are getting smarter, they actually come up with a possibility somewhat counter to the OP...
Wired wrote:
The question, of course, is what this stimulation might consist of? It obviously has to be extremely widespread, since the IQ gains exist at the population level. One frequently cited factor is the increasing complexity of entertainment, which might enhance abstract problem solving skills. (As Flynn himself noted, “The very fact that children are better and better at IQ test problems logically entails that they have learned at least that kind of problem-solving skill better, and it must have been learned somewhere.”) This suggests that, because people are now forced to make sense of Lost or the Harry Potter series or World of Warcraft, they’re also better able to handle hard logic puzzles. (The effect is probably indirect, with the difficult forms of culture enhancing working memory and the allocation of attention.) As Steven Johnson argued, everything bad is good for us, especially when the bad stuff has lots of minor characters and subplots. HBO is a cognitive workout.

That said, environmental stimulation remains an incomplete explanation. Even for those on the right side of the curve, intelligence gains probably have many distinct causes, from the complexity of The Wire to the social multiplier effect, which is the tendency of smart people to hang out with other smart people. (In this sense, gifted programs in schools might help drive IQ gains among the top five percent. The Internet probably helps, too.) The question, of course, is whether such factors have really changed over time. Has it gotten easier for smart people to interact with each other? Are those on the right side of the IQ distribution now more likely to have children together? Would the Flynn effect be even larger if we did more of [fill in the blank]? These questions have no easy answers, but at least we now know that they need to be answered.


Interesting stuff. I can see it with video games, which definitely work your skills of association and spatial relationships. (Side note: I used to rock the memory section of those CAT tests they gave us as kids. A lep is a ball, motherfucker).

I can see the same for your The Wire's and your Game of Thrones' of the world. But what about your Real Houswife of Some Place's? Are they really beneficial as well? Do they improve some areas of your intelligence and ram others straight into the ground? They have many minor characters and subplots, but they're pretty much designed around a minimal level of attention. In fact, they actively bet on you not paying enough attention to notice how staged and illogical they are.

I could swear they're making my fiancee dumber, bless her heart. Those shows have gotten James Bond villian-level evil.

I suppose this is the debate that they have over kids' television, eh? Whether it's better to have shows which have a lot of stuff going on, to try to catch their ADHD-riddled eyes, or whether it's better to make them watch some Mr. Wizard reruns.
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#19 Apr 21 2012 at 9:30 AM Rating: Decent
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I think there is an obvious contrast between shows like The Wire and shows like The Real Housewives. The only thing I think you could maybe learn from reality shows like that is social intelligence, maybe just fringe social intelligence even. They can be a guilty pleasure, but consuming too much of them is definitely detrimental. If smart people hanging out together increases intelligence, then stupid people being around other stupid people definitely increases stupidity.
#20 Apr 21 2012 at 11:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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But dumb TV isn't anything new. Is there an intellectual difference between Real Housewives and Three's Company?
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#21 Apr 21 2012 at 11:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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Don Knotts.
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#22 Apr 22 2012 at 1:37 PM Rating: Good
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I think the missing link to the issue is that Huxley's future didn't necessarily require that the people became less intelligent. Quite the opposite (for the most part). It was that with sufficient diversions provided and priorities reinforced, the very intelligent would accept authoritarian rule, and even argue for it strongly and passionately.
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#23 Apr 22 2012 at 3:45 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
I think the missing link to the issue is that Huxley's future didn't necessarily require that the people became less intelligent. Quite the opposite (for the most part). It was that with sufficient diversions provided and priorities reinforced, the very intelligent would accept authoritarian rule, and even argue for it strongly and passionately.


Uh, it totally did in Brave New World. 75% of the population had deliberately induced Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to keep them as Gammas, Deltas, or Epsilon Semi-Morons. Only 25% of the population was allowed to stay "average" (betas) or above average (alphas and alpha plus.)
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#24 Apr 22 2012 at 4:35 PM Rating: Good
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Wow, Catwho made a good point.
-
I don't really buy into Brave New World as a dystopia - I'm not sure the extent to which you're meant to - but I think it does a good job of showing how empty happiness is.
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#25 Apr 22 2012 at 4:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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catwho wrote:
Uh, it totally did in Brave New World. 75% of the population had deliberately induced Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to keep them as Gammas, Deltas, or Epsilon Semi-Morons. Only 25% of the population was allowed to stay "average" (betas) or above average (alphas and alpha plus.)

He Cliff Noted it.
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#26 Apr 22 2012 at 5:08 PM Rating: Good
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Kavekk wrote:
Wow, Catwho made a good point.
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I don't really buy into Brave New World as a dystopia - I'm not sure the extent to which you're meant to - but I think it does a good job of showing how empty happiness is.


It took away free will to some extent (only Alpha Plus world controllers really had it, and the unstable Alpha Pluses that were exiled to islands.) It also dehumanized parenthood and families by making them distasteful to individuals ("mother" was a dirty word even without the epithet behind it). The replacement of religion with sex... well, that's arguable since the two have always been heavily intertwined.

It's pretty dystopian, just not in the "conform or Big Brother will kill you" way that Orwellian dystopias tend to be.
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#27 Apr 22 2012 at 5:11 PM Rating: Good
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What I meant was that I don't find it credible as an actual society. I appreciate that could have been clearer.
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#28 Apr 22 2012 at 5:47 PM Rating: Decent
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Oh, that's true. For one thing, Huxley was unaware of things like DNA and genes, and it turns out that subliminal/subconscious training is not quite as good as they thought it was back then. They thought that the natal environment was all nuture, when in reality nature plays too large a part of it to effectively control and train large swaths of the population.

As vapid and shallow as most Americans today are, they still prize freedom above all other things, and would not let themselves be led to that point.

(Then again, both 1984 and Brave New World were set in England.)
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#29 Apr 22 2012 at 6:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
As vapid and shallow as most Americans today are, they still prize freedom above all other things, and would not let themselves be led to that point.


Unless Rush says so.
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#30 Apr 23 2012 at 5:52 AM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
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As vapid and shallow as most Americans today are, they still prize freedom above all other things, and would not let themselves be led to that point.


Unless Rush says so.
Or terrorists strike on American soil.
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#31 Apr 23 2012 at 6:31 AM Rating: Decent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
Samira wrote:
Quote:
As vapid and shallow as most Americans today are, they still prize freedom above all other things, and would not let themselves be led to that point.


Unless Rush says so.
Or terrorists strike on American soil.

Yeah, people are pretty willing to give up freedom for security when they're feeling threatened. But, even babies leave the womb sooner or later.

Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~Kris Kristofferson








Edited, Apr 23rd 2012 6:00pm by Elinda
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#32 Apr 23 2012 at 6:39 AM Rating: Decent
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Honestly, if I was just to make an educated guess based strictly on my own gut feelings, I would say the human race continues to get more intelligent. I also think the rate of intelligence increase over time has sped up.

Or, on average people are getting smarter faster.





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#33 Apr 23 2012 at 7:01 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
But, even babies leave the womb sooner or later.
A lot of people should have stayed in the womb until their nervous systems were fully developed.

Edited, Apr 23rd 2012 9:34am by lolgaxe
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#34 Apr 23 2012 at 7:41 AM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
Elinda wrote:
But, even babies leave the womb sooner or later.
A lot of people should have stayed in the womb until their nervous systems were fully developed.

Edited, Apr 23rd 2012 9:34am by lolgaxe
Late term abortions are frowned upon.
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#35 Apr 23 2012 at 9:20 AM Rating: Excellent
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Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.
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#36 Apr 23 2012 at 10:01 AM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
Quote:
Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.

Smiley: blush thanks
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#37 Apr 23 2012 at 11:18 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Samira wrote:
Quote:
Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.

Smiley: blush thanks


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that in a Janis Joplin song first?
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#38 Apr 23 2012 at 11:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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Nope, Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster wrote it, Roger Miller performed it first.
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#39 Apr 23 2012 at 11:36 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Nope, Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster wrote it, Roger Miller performed it first.


Damn, Kris Kristofferson is that old? Or is JJ just that much younger than I thought and she just seems older because she died so long ago?

Edit: Yep, on further review Kristofferson will turn 76 this year, 7 years older than Joplin would be. And Joplin will have been dead 42 years in October.

Edited, Apr 23rd 2012 12:40pm by Bigdaddyjug
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#40 Apr 23 2012 at 11:43 AM Rating: Good
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Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Samira wrote:
Quote:
Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.

Smiley: blush thanks


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that in a Janis Joplin song first?

Kris Kristofferson wrote a lot of songs that others made famous.
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#41 Apr 23 2012 at 11:54 AM Rating: Good
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Elinda wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Samira wrote:
Quote:
Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.

Smiley: blush thanks


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that in a Janis Joplin song first?

Kris Kristofferson wrote a lot of songs that others made famous.


I've already been corrected once and admitted my musical noobiness!!!!!
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#42 Apr 23 2012 at 11:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Elinda wrote:
Samira wrote:
Quote:
Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose...~KK


FTFY.

Smiley: blush thanks


Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that in a Janis Joplin song first?

Kris Kristofferson wrote a lot of songs that others made famous.


I've already been corrected once and admitted my musical noobiness!!!!!

Eh, I made the initial boo-boo. Smiley: grin

I'm listening this right now...
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#43 Apr 23 2012 at 2:28 PM Rating: Good
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catwho wrote:
gbaji wrote:
I think the missing link to the issue is that Huxley's future didn't necessarily require that the people became less intelligent. Quite the opposite (for the most part). It was that with sufficient diversions provided and priorities reinforced, the very intelligent would accept authoritarian rule, and even argue for it strongly and passionately.


Uh, it totally did in Brave New World. 75% of the population had deliberately induced Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to keep them as Gammas, Deltas, or Epsilon Semi-Morons. Only 25% of the population was allowed to stay "average" (betas) or above average (alphas and alpha plus.)


It didn't "necessarily" require it though. The people who were not artificially made less intelligent were just as conditioned to accept the world around them. I wasn't speaking just of the actual book and the details in it, but the concept of controlling the population via granted pleasures and diversions (and a healthy dose of conditioning) rather than via fear, force, and punishment. We were discussing Orwell vs Huxley, right?

Kavekk wrote:
What I meant was that I don't find it credible as an actual society. I appreciate that could have been clearer.


Exactly as written? Maybe not. But there's pretty strong evidence that the sorts of social techniques used in the book are far more effective at controlling populations in wealthier western nations than the more Orwellian ones. We do use media to influence people's opinions on things. We use advertising to influence their decisions. We use PSA campaigns to influence how they think about certain issues over time. There are a number of examples of social concepts that have shifted pretty radially just in the last few generations which can be traced to these sorts of influences. Opinions towards smoking is just one really obvious example. There are others.
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