Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagAldous Huxley

lonely human
Lonely Human with water reflection, emotion, sadness  loneliness, depression, mental health, fantasy painting, surreal illustration

Huxley’s Brave New World and the Hard Work of Sadness

A society centered on pleasure has no place for mourning, and so has no room for love

Ninety years ago, Aldous Huxley published his prophetic and incisive Brave New World (1932), a dystopian novel that imagines a society of people intoxicated and controlled, not by state power, but by pleasure. Whereas George Orwell predicted an inevitable totalitarian world government in his novel 1984 (penned in 1949), Huxley proposed that human beings wouldn’t need to be coerced into submission but could be coaxed by the allure of pain-erasing drugs. Both nightmarish visions of the future have already somewhat played out today in American society. The government set up the Disinformation Governance Board in April of 2022, which sounds eerily like the “Ministry of Truth” in Orwell’s 1984. (The board has since disbanded.) Tech companies can track us more…

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Light rays through the black window. Toned photo

Can LSD Help Us Understand the Mind–Brain Relationship?

Is the mind generated by the brain or does the brain merely focus the mind on the current scene? An experiment sheds some light

In a fascinating article inThe Guardian titled “Acid test: scientists show how LSD opens doors of perception,” science editor Ian Sample discusses recent research on the mechanism by which LSD alters the brain and the mind. He begins by quoting Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) who noted that LSD “lowers the efficiency of the brain as an instrument for focusing the mind on the problems of life.” Remarkably, recent work in neuroscience supports Huxley’s view. The research, conducted at Cornell University, confirms what has been called the Rebus model of psychedelics. Rebus is a rough acronym for “relaxed beliefs under psychedelics”; the model proposes that the brain is essentially a prediction engine for daily life. In this model, the brain processes information…

Science Fiction Minimalist Cube Maze Modern Fantasy

1984 is 70 years old yet still feels current

Did Orwell prove a better techno-prophet than Huxley did in Brave New World?

In 1949, Huxley thought he was closer to the mark than his former student Orwell was. Later generations have tussled over the question, with revealing results.

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